I stare at my list, reading each item over and over silently in my head: acceptance, surrender, trust.
I'm not feeling it.
The past two days have been miserable; I'm edgy, angry, resentful. I can't get out of my own way. My back hurts again - a lot. When Finn was sick this past weekend I carried him upstairs into bed; maybe that did it. I don't know; all I know is that every movement hurts.
It feels like the last straw. I don't want to have cancer. I don't want to have an injured back. I just want my life back.
The kids are running all over the place, playing some kind game that is a combination of hide-and-seek and tag. Their squeals of delight grate on my already frayed nerves.
I just want my life back, I think again, miserably. I want my only worry to be last minute Christmas shopping.
Finn slips on the hardwood floor and goes down hard. I don't go to him. I just can't. I hear Greta soothing him - you're okay, buddy. Just rest for a minute and then let's play again.
I am frustrated with myself, because I know I'm making myself miserable. I realize that I can choose how I feel, how I react to my situation, but I'm tired of the high road. I'm tired of brave and strong.
Taking a deep breath, I read my list again. Acceptance, Surrender, Trust. I say it over and over again, hoping the repetition will drum them into my stubborn head.
The kids resume their game, and I reluctantly pull myself up out of my chair. There are lunches to pack, breakfast dishes to wash and put away.
As I scrub bowls coated with dried up oatmeal, I think of the days to come. I haven't even started treatment, and already I feel weary right down to my bones.
Greta bursts from behind a closet door, runs up to me and wraps her arms around my waist. "Home base!" she yells. "Momma's home base!"
Momma's home base, I think, wincing. But for how long? Until the radiation and chemo take their toll and I can hardly get out of bed? And what if the treatments don't work? Who is going to be their home base then?
Tears spring to my eyes; thankfully Greta runs off and doesn't notice. I creep upstairs, clutching my list, and flop face down on my bed, my back yelping in protest.
I cry, hard, for a few minutes. I haven't cried much since the diagnosis, and the emotional purge feels good. The kids are still running around downstairs, laughing, and I find myself smiling, just a little.
I roll off the bed and onto my knees. Please, God, I pray, help me find peace of mind. Help me get out of my own way. Help me have gratitude. Help me surrender.
Faith. The words pops into my head, unbidden. Have a little faith.
Leaping up, I grab a pencil of my bedside table and scrawl another word onto my list: Faith.
I wipe the tears off my cheeks, and make my way back downstairs. Finn pinwheels around a corner, with Greta hot on his heels.
He grabs my hand, smiling triumphantly. "SAFE!" he yells. "I have Momma, and I'm SAFE!"