Summer

Running through sprinklers, smell of sunscreen, giggles, and breathless running.  Bikes going up and down the lane.

Imagination…  Stories that started in my head that grew bigger than me and swept me away.

Heap of kids on the lawn at twilight.  Coolness of day creeps in and I realize for the first time all day that I feel chilly and happy and content down to my bones.

That’s what I remember of summer.  I relish these memories.  Somehow these are feelings that I still feel aching in the center of my chest if I sit still enough.  The part of me that is still 6 years old and lost in wonderment at my own special world is alive and well.

I wish these same things for my girls, and I wonder sometimes if I do enough to give them the same gifts.  How do I “create” those memories?  Do I put them in activities to socialize them?  Do I structure their days to make sure they are getting a well-rounded dose of good things each and every day?  They must need swimming lessons.  How do I get out there and run with them when I have the baby on my hip and a house stuffed to the gills with dishes and laundry and dusting that never gets done?  Surely they’ll never get those precious moments unless I DO something.  I always feel the need to DO something.  What if I rob them?

Classic mother-angst.

Then I listen outside my window:

Little girl giggles, and feet slapping in puddles on the lawn.

Whispers and sighs and that wondering tone of voice:  “A clue, Mama!  A clue!  Faeries!!!”

Kids from all over the neighborhood crowding into our little lawn.

(Sure we run through our popsicle budget a little faster than expected.But it’s worth it.)

Exhausted exhales, giggling, glee and running and I look up and see…

Twilight.  Piles of children.

Summer.

Sometimes I don’t have to “do” anything.  Sometimes the trick is to let my children just be.

Finding My Way Back

These days I feel confounded.

I’ve been feeling kind of adrift coming out of the whirlwind of the tumor and surgery.  It’s an aftermath of sorts.  It’s not over, but it’s also not so much at the forefront that I have to or should live completely in it.

I find myself Googling things like, “Emotions after illness,” just for the sake of feeling like what I’m feeling could be normal.  I don’t feel normal.  I don’t feel what I expected.

I was wise to pull out of the things I did when I did.  I was.  But now I don’t know how to re-engage and the landscape of  my life looks different.  Friends have moved and things have changed and pieces in me have shifted and I don’t know quite how to walk anymore.  Every step feels tentative.

I’ve tried to stem my discontent with resolutions about getting my life in order and myself back together:  I will get on top of my home.  I will eat right and exercise and lose weight.  I will spend intentional time with my children teaching them academics and things of the spirit every single day.  So far my results have been:  A messier house, an extra ten pounds, and my kids running amok more often than they should.  I’m still somehow exhausted.

I feel soul bruised and disengaged and not sure how to jump back into anything.  Things that are incredibly worthy causes that I used to love being part of just don’t move me like they used to.   I don’t fit where I used to.  I don’t know where I’ll fit moving forward.  I don’t know what feels right or what I could do or where I could be that really ‘sings true’ anymore.

I’ve been so frustrated that I can’t find the story in the journey of the last year.  What exactly did I learn?  Why don’t I have that ‘serious illness perspective’ of seeing gifts in everything and not taking anything for granted?  Yet, I have words in me floating around and wanting to be cemented onto paper or screen for the first time in a long time.  Some of them aren’t about what I expect them to be about.  Some of them are disjointed and random.  But words have been bubbling out and my fingers have wanted to play with them again in ways that I have missed.

In the end it may just be another grand resolution and I may fall flat on my face here too.  But maybe, just maybe, I’ll sink into words like a soft, worn pair of jeans.  Maybe, just maybe even if I don’t write about “the tumor” stuff I’ll find a measure of feeling here or remember or even discover a lost or unknown piece of myself.

Maybe I’ll find my way again.

Still

I’m joining in the fun started over at Incourage today. Playing with the word “Still” for five minutes. Here goes:

Am I still here?

Am I still sitting here fretting and stewing about the tumor(s)? Am I still saying the same things over and over again? Writing the same things over and over again? Praying the same things over and over again? It’s still there (the new one… the little one…  what is it???). But I’m still here.

Am I still at this ‘stuck’ place as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, as a housekeeper.

Am I still stuck in ruts of sin? Laziness and gluttony? Lack of self control? Still not doing what needs to be done? Still losing my patience with my girls? Still feeling such a fatigue of soul and spirit.

Am I still yelling too often and spinning the same tapes of self-hatred in my head?

Am I still doing the things that I ought not do even though I want to do otherwise?

Am I still doing the same things day in and day out and expecting different results?

Am I still here? Still me. Still messy and broken. Still not got it together. Still fighting the same battles and feeling the same weariness of a year ago and 2 years and 5 years ago.

I still don’t have it together.

But the good news is. He is STILL God. He is STILL good. He STILL loves me.

With all of my imperfection. With my messy house, and filthy bathtubs, and dusty bedroom, and kitchen amuk.

With my ‘spare tire(s),’ and start, try, fall again at so many issues–eating, cleaning, attitude… He STILL loves me.

He STILL cherishes me.

He STILL offers to empower me with His Holy Spirit.

He STILL equips me for the battle.

He is STILL perfecting me.

He STILL hasn’t given up. He STILL sees my faltering progress even when I can’t. He STILL sees that I stay in the game even STILL. Even the days when I feel like I haven’t gotten anywhere. I’m STILL trying and He is STILL giving me the strength to.

He is STILL good when the tumor is still there and the answers don’t come.

He is STILL. And he helps me to BE STILL and know.

Still.

Six

Four walls of room containing
Simple explosion of common goodbyeing.
Vigil.
Me in the chair holding the wiggling baby
And her hand
Dad hardly bearing it.
Commonplace conversation takes place over the precious last few hours
Of chest-breath heaving up and down
She waited til he got there to take the hand that held hers
And walk me forward into the future
Built on the past she’d made… me the woman she co-created.
I natal, she natal both of us birthed in a new way that night
A kiss good night.
I love you. See you tomorrow, Mom.
And in the morning a world without her in it.
How have I walked without her six years now?