I have been home for a week. It has been wonderful to be with my husband and kids again. Yet I wasn't expecting that coming home was going to be a challenge for me.
The best thing I can parallel this experience to is when Stephen was in the Navy. While he was on his deployments I never really let myself feel sad. I just took things moment-by-moment, day-by-day, and when he would come home I would be flooded with emotions; many tears of joy to have him home, some tears were of relief and others were tears were all the ones I didn't let myself cry while he was away. Also, being apart from one another for 6-months, you each get into your own routines and coming back together, there was a transitional period we would go through adjusting to being home together again.
This past week has felt the same way.
As joyful as it is to be home, I have found myself tearing up, a lot. Many of the tears are of gratitude to be with my family, knowing I am home with them for good, and to all who have loved on us during this time. Some are tears of relief that the surgery and treatments are behind me but there are others tears that flow - like ones of confusion - did the past 6 months just happen?! - and others of sadness about this awful disease - learning a dear family friend was diagnosed last week, a family in our community lost their young Dad to cancer this week, and the unknown that this disease leaves you with - will it be back, sooner, later or never?
I am trying to process all these emotions while also navigating putting my mom hat back on full time - during the first week of summer.
I was so excited to come home I never really thought about the reality of coming home the first week of summer. This week is always a transitional time and I am not sure why I thought it would be different this year - guess I was being more of an idealist than a realist. Our home life hasn't stopped. It has continued on through all of this like a river in constant motion. Rather than preparing my heart for the ride on this river I pretty much jumped into the running waters without a life vest to help keep me afloat. Instead I have been fighting the current and wrestling with how to parent while also needing time to rest and heal.
You see, who I want to be and what I want to do as a Mom is different than who I need to be and what I need to do. I am not even talking about big things, I mean simply waking up early enough to make my kids breakfast would be nice. I tried it once...
On Monday, I thought, "a new week, a new start, I am back baby!" And I attempted my old routine; getting up before the kids, having my quiet prayer time, making breakfast for the family. I drove my kids to their half day church camp in the morning and came home attempting to do one of my workouts (I know, I know, too soon...but I was hopeful!). After 15 -very modified- minutes I found my way to my bed and fell asleep for a couple of hours.
Yes, I learned from that and since then, I wake up when my body tells me to wake up and my family has been making their own breakfast.
Things are different and I didn't realize that I was resisting the current of how things need to flow, for myself and for our family. Although I have been praying along the way I didn't realize that I was unintentionally attempting to lead God on the path I wanted to be on rather than letting God lead me on the path I need to be on.
After many days of trying to ride out the rapids on my own, I realized I needed to...
Pause. Breathe. Pray.
And surrender my heart's desires and expectations into God's hands (again), wrap His love around me as my life vest, and let Him lead me through these waters the more grace and ease.
I need to embrace that every tear of joy and sadness is a truth expressing itself and it's okay and part of the healing process.
I need to accept that I am different than I was 8 weeks ago before treatment, 3 months ago before surgery and 6 months ago before I was diagnosed.
I have changed and my family's life has kept moving along too. Rather than expecting my life to be as it was or as I hope it to be, I will simply slow down and take things moment-by-moment, day-by-day. I will do my best to meet myself, and my family, where we are and paddle along beside one another through these new waters.
Even though this week has been a wild ride for me, there is still no place like home, sweet home.
With love and hope,
"Surrender your heart to God, and turn to Him in prayer." - Job 11:13