The late Spring weather makes me feel like I'm turning into someone else. I roll down the windows of my van and let my hand lazily thread through the wind. The kids' activities are winding down and I keep running through all the Summer possibilities in my head. Daydreams of pools, beaches, splash parks, vacations, picnics, concerts, and slow, warm evenings swirl around my head and make me smile in anticipation.
This time last year I had two looming thoughts and they were my constant companions: my husband had just lost his job and Sue's health was declining rapidly.
I felt guilty that I could enjoy a walk in the beautiful weather and she was stuck in her bed. I felt frustrated about the job situation, but also like I should be constantly grateful that my problem was just about money--I wasn't the one dying. I tried to be supportive to my husband in his job search, but I was distracted by her heartbreaking phone calls. I was present in my children's lives physically, but inside I was always calculating. I was counting up in months how long we could live in this house without a steady income. I was both predicting, and trying not to predict, how much time I thought she might have left.
I felt sick most of the time. Not the kind of sick that can be treated by a doctor, but the achy stomach-hollowing sickness of constant worry and stress. I talked a good game when people would ask how I was doing. I would speak hopeful words that conveyed a positive attitude I didn't actually have. I would have intense crying breakdowns.
This season feels new and different. My stomach feels strong. I find myself with relaxed neck muscles as I sip my Diet Coke on the back patio. Ben plays nearby, running, hopping, and yelling out random phrases that make sense only to him. The warm wind makes the leaves jump and wiggle.
The season is creating an unusual feeling inside me. It feels like hope.