Happy Birthday, Mom! Surprise!
What if we don’t need to pretend to have an understanding of what someone is going through to be there for them?
I’m guilty of reacting by comparing. I try to find some similarity between me and a situation I’ve been in to pass along some sort of wisdom or reassurance to someone else. Part of it is saying, “Look, you aren’t alone. I’ve felt this way, too.” Part of it is not knowing any other way to comfort someone. I try to remain aware their pain is not my pain so their healing is not going to be my healing.
My birthday was last month. I turned 25. I spent the entire day with my son doing things he loves to do and watching him step out of his comfort zone while he tried new things as well. I let him pick out a new toy, eat his favorite meals, and stay up late. I didn’t stop moving all day long. I haven’t had a day that carefree in a while. Usually I let myself get roped into laundry or dishes or some other household chore that keeps me from enjoying my time. Every year I have this panic before midnight when my birthday is almost over because I love my birthday an embarrassing amount. I never want it to be over. This year I cried because, like most things I do now, I thought about the tumor.
What if this is my last birthday?
Cole was still working around midnight. Slade was asleep next to me. I called Cole and talked to him about what was going on. By the time he was home I just told him I didn’t want to talk about it anymore.
Part of me wanted to avoid and just enjoy my husband finally being home to enjoy the final minutes of my birthday together. Part of me knew he wouldn’t know what to say because what do you even say to that? Unless you’re seeing mortality through a lens you’ve never had to before you don’t really understand that feeling. And you shouldn’t ever have to. It’s sad. It sucks. It’s energy sucking.
What if we could do things differently? Instead of sitting across from one another and talking until we are too tired to talk anymore just trying to make someone understand why we are sad, what if we just loved extra. Like having more family meals. Seeing your friends more often. Having more days as carefree as your birthday.
I get really sad because people don’t reach out to ask me if I’m ok. But, I also get frustrated when I’m on my fifth, “Yeah, I’m doing ok,” of the week. I don’t really know what I want or what I need and it’s confusing and changes by the day. The hour. I kind of just need. Dinners. Play dates. Trips. Movie nights. Girls days. Shopping sprees. DIY days. Zoo trips. Pizza binges.
I’m in a really lonely part of my life right now. I feel like no one understands how I’m feeling and how just because Saturday at breakfast I said I was ok didn’t mean Saturday at dinner I wasn’t falling apart. This grief cycle ebbs and flows and is so inconsistent it’s driving me nuts.
It sounds crazy but Slade gets it. He gives snuggles when I need extra. He tosses me a, “Mom, you ok?” when I’m laying on the couch. Cole hung birthday decorations in our house and I left them up for a week because every half hour Slade would jump up and scream, “Happy birthday mom! Surprise!” It melts my heart into a puddle. He’s always down for an adventure and a pizza party for two. He loves fresh air but will also hole up with me and watch Transformers and Paw Patrol. He’s even started to tell me if I stink so those depression showers are taken care of by him, too. He sees the world in such an inspirational way. So pure and so affectionate and so loving. We spend so much time trying to teach our kids things and making sure they turn out ok but they naturally are just kind souls. I want to love how Slade loves. I want to be loved how Slade loves. I love him so much and the idea of ever leaving him behind in this world is tearing my heart apart. I’m not scared because of the brain surgery. I’m not scared because of the tumor. I’m not scared because of the recovery. But I am terrified that this situation may make my baby grow up without a mom. That is what I’m struggling with.
I just want to hear Slade yell, “Happy birthday mom! Surprise!” every year for the rest of forever.