Juxtapose - to place side by side
That is where I am today, in a state of juxtaposition.
The highly anticipated drive home yesterday should have been one of loud singing mingled with boisterous laughing. It should have been a windows down, sunburned arms, sipping on Route 44 Dr. Pepper kind of drive. Should have been.
Instead the fatigue of 16 hospital days set in and the haggard woman peering back at me in the glass reflection hardly reminded me of myself. Harper's head bobbled around on her neck before we hit Haughton. Nick kept looking over at me with a forced smile, "We're going home! Be happy!"
I am happy! I am happy down deep in my soul but my outsides are exhausted and when I stepped into my long awaited home I was knocked over with anxiety. It is stupid, I know, but it is how I feel. Our laundry room was spilling over with balloons, care packages, cards, stuffed animals and snacks along with our bags, blankets and other belongings from the hospital. I walked out to the back yard to hug Baylor and my eyes frantically darted from weeds to pollen to thirsty plants to chewed plastic bubble bottles littering the yard. Sweet neighbors and friends kept our grass mowed and Harper immediately ran out into the lawn to hug her sister with a tight embrace that mirrored their union just a few hours before. My juxtaposition of anxiety and joy.
Within an hour Harper began to run a fever. Nick and I kept locking eyes from opposite ends of the couch but not saying any words. I called the hospital. Motrin. Off to the pharmacy to pick up her 4th prescription. They asked me questions I didn't have the answers to. Needed verification. I called the hospital. Before leaving with her new inhaler I opened the box to make sure I could administer the meds properly. This isn't the kind of inhaler you push, it is the kind you just suck in. I've never seen this kind of inhaler before and the uncertainty of "Is it working right?" made me toss the fine print instructions across the counter and slam my hands down. "Nick, come see if you can figure this stupid thing out!" Within minutes my attention shifted to administering the proper dosages of the drugs she is still weaning from. Narcotics. Tiny amounts needed with accuracy. It was so much easier when the nurse just brought it all to us at the right time, the right amount. Now I am the nurse. I'm not a nurse! My juxtaposition of mom and nurse.
This is where I am. Stuck in the middle of being completely, overwhelmingly happy to be home with my family and completely overwhelmed to be the matriarch that keeps things rolling smoothly. I am not complaining I am just being honest with myself. Normally I pick up the confetti of toys as I pass through the living room. Today I step across and around trying to fight back the instinct to pick up. Today it is more important for me to be right beside Harper. Since she is still recovering I have to be mindful that she is not back to 100%, and apparently neither am I. She is fearful if I leave the room. She is hesitant to go to the bathroom by herself (not in that girls go to the bathroom in a pack kind of way) and she is afraid of the dark. After lunch crocodile tears rolled down her cheeks as she recalled being forced to lay down with a tube in her throat. "I wanted to get up and you wouldn't let me," she cried. They said she wouldn't remember, but she does. In some distorted/high kind of way...she remembers. I wish we could both forget. She may, with time. The details may blur together and just become, "That time I got sick." But I won't. Sure, the details may blur, but the fear and growth that took place within me is etched into my being. Now it is part of the mom I am.
Another juxtaposition, being someone who relishes in the delights of daily life with my girls, because I am that person, and being the list-making, do-er that loves to "get things done." It is a tightrope that I constantly walk. During the school year it is actually easier to walk that line. When I'm at work I work, get things done. Work is my creative outlet. When I come home I am home, mom, wife. Also my creative outlet. I love both. I am good at both. But when summer hits I struggle to fit in that "get things done" in the midst of cartoons, dolls, chalk and play-dough. My balance gets a little off and my breaths get shorter and my shoulders get tenser (tenser? more tense). But that is life isn't it? A balancing act.