"So," she said, looking at me intently, "what do you want to do about other appointments?"
What, indeed. I'd been thinking about this over the course of the previous couple of weeks. Little signs, glimpses into my previous life had been seeping in, soaking in, filling me up enough for me to finally take notice. Like finding myself, on a Tuesday afternoon, instead of stressing about the housework and how BigDaddyFish was going to react to it not being done, rolling around on the floor with Sunny and Nemo, tickling and wrestling and laughing, and realizing, momentarily, that I was happy, and there wasn't a single thing that was more important than that and not a single thing I'd rather be doing at that time.
It had been so long I really didn't know what the feeling was at first.
Like being out with Trout, talking with her, seeing her smile, seeing her dance in her ballet classes and focusing entirely on her, and what she's feeling, and not on myself, not avoiding the other parents because of fear of them judging me for having too many kids, for not showering enough, for dressing frumpy, for being overwhelmed, for being awkward, for not knowing what to say, for being afraid.
Like being able to calmly, easily talk to Little Man about what has been bothering him, about why he's been fighting at school, realizing that it had more to do with me and my wallowing in negativity than anything he's been able to articulate, and being able to talk with him and come up with ways to help him be calmer and deal with his emotions in a healthy way.
Like wanting to spend time with my husband, remembering why we got married in the first place, why we are friends, and having a damn good time doing it. And disagreeing with and fighting with him without wanting to punch him out or run away from home.
Like being a lot more free with my hugs and kisses, and watching them be returned.
I have a couple of big windows in the front of my house, in the front of my living room where we spend most of our time, and they have blackout shades on them. So many days between when Sunny turned one and when I started to come out of this black hole that I'd been digging deeper and deeper those shades would stay drawn, because I was unable to cope, unable to see the sun, unable to face what my life had become, the loss of control, the feelings of helplessness and worthlessness. The lack of hope. The anger and resentment.
"How about I just call you when I need you?" I asked.
"As long as you keep in touch, because I worry about my patients, and wonder how their lives have turned out."
Consider it done. Thank you for giving me my life back.
And thank you, readers, friends, for helping me get there, for being here despite my illness and my own fear of putting it out there - you had a hand in this, more than you'll ever know.