I’ve arrived at my long awaited destination, a place called happiness. For so long, I’ve been actively choosing happiness one thought, one word, and one action at a time. All in the midst of immense sadness. I’d force a smile backed by a thousand prayers; each laugh was a struggle to maintain as I grappled with the hurt heavy on my heart. When I re-read where I was at in the past few months, I feel all of the trauma and tragedy pressing down on those fleeting happy moments. I always thanked God for my blessings, and I still do. It’s just that I no longer choke on the sentences that I once worked so hard to form. They’re free flowing now. My prayers aren’t centered around begging for a boy’s life, and I recognize the comfort that was given when I needed it most. I couldn’t wait for something outside of myself to change. I see now that lots has changed, but mostly, the change has been inward. What’s changed? Well. For one, not only has Charlie’s oxygen level stayed up after his third heart surgery in March, he has had zero unscheduled doctors’ appointments, and these days, I find myself more concerned with potty training than lung or heart failure. Inward? I’ve accepted our existence. Like a faithful friend, the serenity prayer card my mom once gave me years ago, serves as a reminder to be at peace. It resonates with me now more than ever. I can’t change some things. Others, I can. But mostly, only time will tell, and always, only God knows. I have the wisdom to see how much is out of my control. So I don’t run to the future or away from the past. I no longer want to hide from my present. Embracing all of its reality and beauty is helping me sleep better at night, laugh louder in the light, and jump higher into the puddles.
And this one…this one is one of my favorites…I like baking again. The natural joy that once came with licking the bowl as lovely scents filled my home has returned! A few weeks ago, I found myself singing along to Halloween music while placing eyeball candies into orange cookies. I wasn’t trying to seek joy in the moment. I wasn’t attempting to escape a single, divorced, lonely mom existence. There were no actions before feelings. Instead, it was an effortless and much needed natural occurrence. Since then, Charlie and I have made spider cupcakes, banana bread, coffee cake and a pumpkin roll. The sweetest bit isn’t in the sugary bites but in knowing the, “What if this is our last Halloween together?” isn’t an irrational or silly fear to face, but rather, an unmatched appreciation and true acknowledgment of life’s fragility. I think, “Soak up all the warmth in this kitchen and love him like you’ll lose him.” I relish each moment because I’m fortunate for a life that has taught me how to do so.
When I see my son’s soft white chest scar, there is no lump in my throat. The elation is pure as I see survival and faith in the form of a little heart hero. I’m the weird woman that laughs and smiles at my daredevil as he jumps and falls (and sometimes cries) when we own the playground. I’m not worried. Or sad. Or scared. I can’t protect him from hurt, and I can’t prevent pain (in most cases anyway…). But I can comfort him when he needs it, and I can let him love the precious life we don’t take for granted.
What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. I don’t understand everything that’s happened …but I no longer question it, because I’ve seen enough to know everything happens for good in the end. I would say the fog has lifted, but it’s so much more complicated than that. I’ve walked through the valley of the shadow of death and found happiness in the darkness. The weight of the walk stayed with me for a while, but I’m no longer there and pray never to return. But I did it. I was never alone though…with the help of so many beautiful and brave souls, I made it! I can’t thank these lovely individuals enough for taking my hand and having my back. I want so badly to pay it all forward, and that’s the happiest thing of all.
Wherever you’re going today, I hope you arrive in peace and in joy. When you get there, know that someone in this life is thankful for your part in helping her live hers.