I’ll Let Go … Just Not Yet
My heart is bursting with emotions – of sadness, nostalgia, pride, excitement, happiness, and loneliness. Last night I couldn’t settle my mind. My sleep was disjointed and fraught with dreams that I cannot remember, but simply feel the haziness of their presence around me. Why am I so unsettled? Why am I feeling so lonely? Why am I worried?
Because yesterday … my husband and I enrolled our baby into Junior Kindergarten.
The process was smooth and the staff at the school were friendly, warm, and accommodating. We filled the forms, we chatted with the administration, we met the principal, and we toured the classrooms. It was a very positive experience however, I left feeling empty, tormented, and alone. I’m not ready for this. I’m not ready to send my baby off to school … in SEPTEMBER!! Yes. Not for another 6 months does my child go off to school. But, the realization of this monumental step is hitting me hard. Even my husband commented on how difficult this transition will be for me. And it will.
I left my full-time job to care for our baby, and after crunching numbers and being honest with our budget as well as ourselves, the conclusion my husband and I came to was that it made more sense for me to stay home with our son and not return to work full-time. I was overjoyed with this. As tired as I often was (our son rarely slept through the night), and isolated as I sometimes felt, I really loved being home with him. I wanted to be home with him. I wanted to be the person to shape, mold, and nurture our child. I wanted to raise him. It was our choice and my sacrifice, and I have never regretted this decision.
Then I was diagnosed with cancer. In September of 2014 when my son was only 12 months, 2 weeks old I was diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid. Then, only 9 months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Two completely unrelated cancers found within 9 months of each other. And so, the focus immediately became conquering cancer instead of raising my son. I know that I shouldn’t, but often I feel as though cancer robbed me of my time with my son. It stole from me those carefree moments; and everyday I spent fraught with worry. Was the cancer gone? Will it come back? Am I really okay? Will the pain subside? Will my strength return? Will my fatigue relent? My year from 2015-2016 was a journey toward healing; and I resented that I had to put myself first over my son. Mommy needs rest. Mommy needs quiet time. Mommy needs gentle play – no roughhousing please. My son had to adapt to my needs when it should have been me adapting to his.
And fast-forward a couple of months to today, the day after junior kindergarten registration. I harbour so much guilt and so much regret. I’m sorry that my son had a mommy with cancer. I’m sorry that my son’s needs were placed second over mommy’s. I’m sorry that my temper was short, my energy low, and my fatigue overwhelming. It tears me up to think – if even for a second – his feelings or needs were compromised in anyway because of my fight with cancer.
But I know I should view this in another perspective. I know I should not feel so guilty, saddened, or regretful. My son had a village filled of family and friends watching over him. He had a safe, fun, and warm place to be while I attended appointments at the hospital (thank you Magic Castle!), and most importantly, he still has his mommy. By putting myself first I was able to traverse the path of healing. I was able to focus on the fight. I was able to do what I needed to do – all that I could and can do – to ensure I am here for him, for as long as I can be. I love him so much.
I know that he will be okay. I know he will make friends, have fun, and blossom at school. I guess I’m just wishing to hold on, just a bit longer. I am not ready for an empty nest. His beautiful presence gives meaning to my day. He is my every day joy. But his needs must come first. So I will let go. I will. Just not yet.
I’ll Let Go … Just Not Yet. Published by Crystal Joy Hall