The beneficial effects of my two-month vacation waned rapidly. The first days back were OK but then life resumed, and here we go again with the hotness in the pit of my stomach and the weight of everything pressing down on my sternum. That slow, dull ache.
I shouldn’t whine. I hate to whine. I am really so very incredibly lucky in the big scheme of things. The boys keep me busy and merry and put everything else in perspective. My friends invite me out all the time and my parents and siblings check up on me constantly. I have never felt so loved by so many people. And yet I can’t shake this feeling that I could fall apart at any time, that actual pieces of me might break off and scatter, right now even, if I were to move too quickly without collecting myself first.
Running helps, and my kids. And remembering that nothing is forever. This will get better. It will! It must! I am not going to lose an arm tonight. My head will not fall off tomorrow.
What I worry about the most (other than succumbing to a rare form of anxiety-driven leprosy) is how this will affect my children. That I won’t be able to hold myself together and they will be traumatized for the rest of their lives. So I take deep breaths and smile. We have crepes with Nutella for breakfast if that’s what they ask for, and if they want to sleep in my bed, that’s OK too. An extra story at bedtime? A ride in my arms up the stairs? You want me to play cars, again? Yes, yes and yes.
I half pretend to do this all for them, but really, they are what’s holding me together.