I was a horrible mom last night. I went to bed with a sick stomach and heavy heart after yelling at the girls and getting upset with Miller. I literally couldn’t get out of my own way. I watched myself getting upset, at the time feeling so justified in my frustration and angst. The clothes all over the floor of every room, the mess in every corner, the lack of respect for me nor listening to a word I say – a nd yet, no one deserves to be yelled at. No child deserves to have their sweet innocence poisoned by a mother who is so tired and so scared. You see, I am holding. At times I am not sure all that I am holding, yet I catch myself with my shoulders practically touching my ear lobes. I am so tired, and truth be told, I am scared. So scared. I have been scared for weeks and weeks now. And I haven’t wanted to say it out loud or to anyone with too much emphasis. Andrew’s surgery was a success, and I am still scared. Andrew’s prognosis is good, and I am still scared.
I feel weak. I work hard each day to have perspective and believe me, I KNOW how lucky we are. I KNOW how fortunate we are that Andrew’s lung cancer was found incidentally, and as such, his survival rate is far greater than it would have been if it hadn’t been found so early. And I am truly grateful. Deeply grateful, in fact. And yet, for some reason, I still feel this deep underlying fear. I pray, I give of myself to others, I pray some more, and I am still scared. It doesn’t consume my waking hours, and yet it has exhausted me.
It was my birthday earlier this week, and my gift to myself? NO plans. NO commitments. NO obligations. As graciously and as gracefully as possible, I declined the amazing and generous offers from dear friends to celebrate me, nurture me, give to me. And I spent much of my birthday sleeping. I am truly tired. I have napped every day this week and gone to bed early each night. I can’t seem to get enough sleep. While Andrew needs very little physically from me now (he is more than capable of making his own food, has started to drive his car, can help with the dishes, folding laundry, etc), there is still so much “holding” for me to do. When I am not home with him, he is never far from my thoughts and heart. I worry about him. I question my ability to be his best possible partner during this time. I lack confidence in how to best help him bridge this time between diagnosis and the current stage of remission and the future, as a cancer survivor. Apparently, there is a real deal psychic “holding” that goes on, that is quite taxing. At least for me. I am humbled by this process. I am also embarrassed that it seems to take so much out of me. I would like to think and believe that the sheer magnitude of gratitude that I feel each day for Andrew’s incredible story and long-term prognosis would be enough to carry me and fill me up. Yet, I am tired. And I am still scared.
I adore this man. He is courageous and marvelous. He is smart and beautiful. And he feels a tremendous sense of responsibility to be given this new lease on life, this “second chance”. He does not take it lightly. Nor do I. Yet, it is exhausting. I do not say that with an ounce of complaint. I am grateful for this deep exhaustion. I am grateful for the opportunity to feel so deeply, and to also feel so alive with my fears. Yet, I am tired. And scared
I was a horrible mother last night. I woke up with a clear head this morning and started my apologies with Lang, who is our first to rise. We sat on the floor of the kitchen while our tea water boiled. We hugged and hugged, and I whispered in her ear. I apologized for being harsh. I apologized for not being stronger, for not knowing when to walk away to sit with my fears, rather than project them onto her. I thanked her for being such an incredible light and embodiment of joy and love and for gracing me with the honor of being her mother. I did the same with Chase when she got up. And I had some time with Miller later in the morning to express my apologies. Lang and Chase could barely recall what I was so apologetic about and yet they hugged me with incredible vigor and strength and Miller responded with deep emotions. We are all holding a lot right now. We are vulnerable. I am FAR from perfect, and yet I hope that I am learning and growing.
I pray to surrender more to the vulnerability and magnificence of this time. I pray for strength. I pray for understanding. I pray for wisdom in how to best support my precious Andrew. I pray for courage as we go forward in this lifetime as changed individuals, as a changed couple, and as a changed family. I pray for patience in my parenting. I pray that Andrew remains in remission for many, many years to come.
We go to Houston on Monday morning. Its time for Andrew’s surgical month follow-up and while I have great faith and trust in the grand plan, I am also scared.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Good night. Today was a much better day. I believe that tomorrow will be even better.