I’m so glad there was something wrong with me

I said that to Husband yesterday. 

When I breathe in lately, I breathe joyfully.  I feel gratitude.  I look at my children and my heart effortlessly swells.

I have my moments…  My ‘head exploding with the craziness of two kids running around and crying and arguing and yelling’ moments.  I do.

But these days I am feeling better than I have since College.  I think I may have said that before.  And the reason I feel better is that I got help with the depression.

It sounds strange to say that I’m glad that there was something wrong with me, but it’s true.  For so long, I  believed that that’s just the way I was, that life just felt like that for every new Mom, or that my default setting was sad, disappointed, guilty, depressed, and that it was just a cross to bear to try to fight through that to be a better more grateful person.   I felt like I was just destined to feel lousy and there was no way out of that.  I thought that it was just the way I was–depressed, negative, stressed, and lonely–and I didn’t like it about myself.  I hated it, and all of the beating myself up about it in the world didn’t help.

But that’s not who I am.  I *am* a person of gratefulness.  I *am* a person of joy.  I *am* a person who takes delight in the little pleasures of life without it taking a tremendous amount of mental effort.  It feels good to feel like me again.  It feels good to feel real joy without just gritting my teeth in a pasted on smile.

And best of all, though there were plenty of times last year when I didn’t ever believe I could say this again and mean it, I LOVE being a Mom.  The craziness, the loudness, the giggles, the scrapes on the knees, and the tears….  I love it. 

I still have my issues to work through, but I can do it from a place of a sound mind.  I feel like the PPD has lifted and life is coming back in full color instead of the dull grays of the fog that surrounded me.

This week I’ve helped out with Vacation Bible School.   I’ve done little experiments with kids to remind them that God promises to be with us when we need help being kind or forgiving or bold or having faith.  The kids have lit up at the magic of science.  Maybe they’ve learned a little bit more about the world we live in, maybe they’ve learned a little bit about God.  I just know that I’ve delighted in being with them and teaching them a few minutes each day.

Husband was awarded a Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal this week and I’m so proud I could burst.

And tomorrow is our last day of Sea Duty.  That is difficult for me to get my head around.  We’re done.  We’re really done.  Along with the relief and the happiness there is not a little bit of guilt.  But the relief and happiness outweigh it.

This afternoon my kids are outside with all of the neighborhood kids over, and Husband supervising while he putzes around in the garage.  I’m baking cookies and sharing them with the kids.  It’s a gorgeous Washington summer day.  Life is stabilizing, I am stabilizing and I can just be, in this moment, in this day….  Just plain happy.  It’s just such a good feeling.

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Initials on the Wall

All seven of us standing in the basement, smelling the familiar smells of dust and forgotten toys. We walked around touching each thing we came across and unlocking all of the memories.

“How many games of basketball do you think we played with this old toy hoop?” “Remember all the ping pong games we played down here?” “Oh! We used this little ball with the bell inside to make the noise for the seance we put on that scared you so much, Val.” “The xylophone!” “The turtle!” “The rabbit! That thing always scared me.” “ME TOO!”

We located our tools: a screwdriver and a hammer. We chose our wall: The wall with the basketball hoop, closest to where the stash of toys always lay. And one by one, we chiseled our initials into the wall. Into our basement.

Our parents built that house for our Grandma. But the basement was our domain. It was where we fought, where we played, where we made the Rockwellian memories of family holidays spent together rough-housing as cousins. It was where we were together.

Miles, and circumstances, and personality differences may separate us… But our initials will always testify to the fact that we love one another. As we finished we looked around at one another and for one instant knew that in this loss, and in this life, we were in it together.