Sunlight glares down on my face without the barrier of window glass for the first time in nine days as I hoist myself out of the passenger seat of my own car and inch my way toward my front door. The grass, a vivid green, is in need of the lawnmower. But that’s of no consequence – it forever seems like my yard needs a little attention. The important part is, I’m home. After-all, that old saying, “there’s no place like home,” is so very true.
My husband unlocks the door and holds it open for me. I walk in and slip out of my shoes. It’s dark in the house, until I pull the chain over the couch. And warm and a bit musty smelling too. Not quite like home. But still home. As I walk from the front door toward my bedroom, my fingers skim over the back of the couch. I pause in front of the fish-tank. Several fish are missing. I’m not surprised by this, they were mine to feed, and I’ve just been released from a nine-day hospital stay.
Something, I’m not sure what, doesn’t quite feel right. This isn’t quite home. Not yet. Not right now. It’s far too quiet here, too…
“Dodge, Mama’s home.” I say this out loud as I continue toward my room. I don’t see him, but that’s nothing new. He’s probably sleeping under our bed.
Just before the bedroom, I turn into the kitchen and flip on the light there as well. I open the refrigerator, just because. The cupboards. Peek into the washing machine in the mudroom just off the kitchen, and look out the back door into the back yard. The pool appears to have lost some water. Didn’t I get everything tight when I set it up the other week? Damn, I can’t even use it all summer. Bummer. Back through the kitchen and into the living room, I sit in my husband’s rocking chair and look around. Everything looks familiar, but still doesn’t quite feel right.
My husband joins me in the living room and sets the cat on my lap.
Too much emotion, tears stream down my cheeks, and I bury my face in his downy-soft fur. Not impressed, he only tolerates this for a short moment. But that was all I needed. Now it feels like home.
My back itches from sleeping on my back and sweating profusely. My legs itch because I haven’t shaved them in probably more than two weeks. Shower. In my own bathroom.
I savored the feel of the less than stingy spray of water sluicing over me. Able to move about in my shower without rapping my elbows on the walls, I took my sweet time taking care of business.
Once dried off and dressed, I head back out to the living room and have a seat on the couch. I nibble some on the sub we picked up on the way home, but can barely taste it because of the medications the hospital has me on. My phone rings. Mom is bringing the kids down for a short visit. I tell her that’s fine, even though the efforts of the shower had me wanting to take a nap.
A short while later, the front door opens and my son comes in. I can’t speak. I try to tell him, “Come here, Buddy,” but no words slide from my tongue. Instead, I hold my hand out and sit on the foot stool so I can wrap my arms around him. Mom comes in with my daughter, and I thank God I have two arms; one for each of them. It’s been over a week since the last time I saw them. Far too long for a stay-at-home mom to go without seeing her babies.
Tears. So many of them. And kisses and hugs too. Now this is home. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I hear Mom and my husband talking to each other, giving me a few minutes with the kids.
Now that I’ve had nearly a week to process everything, I still have five more weeks of lifting restrictions (which means I can’t pick up either of my kids) and a no driving restriction, and seven more days of this God-awful antibiotic. I also still have goop on my arms from all the medical tape from IVs and blood draws. Worse yet, I have several weeks worth of waiting to make sure there is no cancer in the fibroid they took out. But honestly, I don’t really think too much about that. I’m too busy with the kids. I had my niece over for several days to help me out while I recover, and she was amazing. It may not seem like much, but it was huge.
Mom and Mom… I cannot thank them enough. I know neither of our mothers will accept anything more than a hug and a thank you and an I love you, or maybe taking them out to dinner one night. But between the two of them, they had the kids the entire time I was in the hospital, and for that, I’m grateful. It was one less thing for my husband to stress about when he already had plenty, not being at the hospital the entire time with me, relying on phone calls for updates and information while he was at work. He did take a couple days of vacation initially, but money is tight, and working helped him not dwell on everything that was happening. Even now, nearly a week after my return home, I don’t think I’ve fully sorted through all the emotions, and I’m sure there will be more to come. It’s been an adventure. One I hope to never have to repeat, or be on the other side of. But one that will only make me stronger in the end.