What am I waiting for?

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Happiness. Joy. Holistic health. Real moments of connectedness and self acceptance. These are my greatest dreams for my children, and, if I am being honest, for myself as well. If I take a good look at myself and my life, where my energy and time and worry goes, I can see I am trying really, really hard to get to these places. I am hoping and spending and eating and dressing and praying and working and waiting for these dreams.

But recently, it hit me. What am I waiting for?

What if I am here, right this very second? Praise the Lord, my children and I woke up with all of our limbs in working order. We are breathing beautifully, able to do yoga and run and jump and laugh and we don’t have any major treatments or procedures on the schedule to maintain these abilities. Both of my daughters found my face first thing, smiled, and scooted closer to kiss me and snuggle a bit longer. My heart burst beneath my ribs, as it does every single morning upon the sight of the two most breathtaking creatures I have ever seen, and I get to look at them, smell their hair, and feel the weight of their tiny bodies in my arms and their big souls rubbing up against my own all day long.

I am here. My dream is now.

And the more I lean in and show my joy, the more they feel and return. They are happiest when I am happy. And I am happiest when I let go and allow myself to just be here instead of in the past and in the future, too. Because the joy is here for me to grab onto, freely. It’s in my toddler’s constant request for me to tickle her, my big girl’s awe at the innerworkings of nature, (“Mama, do chickens laugh?”) their mutual love of wild dance parties. It’s the way they teach me, every minute, when they think I know everything and am much stronger than I am (“Mama, can you please make it stop raining today?” “Mama, can you turn me back into a baby again?”). It is the simultaneous newness of every milestone mixed with the cozy familiarity that I have always known them. It is the overwhelm of unconditional, unashamed love—theirs for me and mine for them. I am in the thick of the best part of my story, and it’s getting really, really good.

I have realized the risk of continuing to live in fear of the future is too great. But what if for example, one of my daughters gets cancer? I have spent my life anticipating and preparing for the worst, and all it has done is rob me of the present. If she gets cancer, we will focus on it then. If I sit in my worry about that now, then cancer has ahold of me even though we do not have it. I will look back and scream at myself, “You wasted it! You all were healthy! There was so much joy, and you missed it!”

Lately I’ve been waking early, crawling down from the bed quietly so as not to disturb the angels sleeping at my side. I sit in front of the bedroom window, eyes closed as the sun rises, and take big deep breaths down into my belly. Sometimes I count them so I cannot linger on any other thoughts that try to steal me, and sometimes I repeat, “I am thankful for this breath. I am thankful I am breathing.” And I really, truly am. I have turned the corner from feeling like the entire world is out to kill us to feeling gratitude that we are so functional and fortunate, despite everything going on out there.

I am healing, still, and always will be. But I am here for it, right now.