Small Victories

I didn’t end up crushed yesterday.

I didn’t end up with another sleepless night.

I came home feeling like I might shatter, but I held myself together. I kept conversation with my husband short instead of letting myself be pulled into his flow charts and placed in a position of having to be the one to stabilize him at cost to my own stabilizing. I sat on our balcony and wrote while I practiced taking deep breaths through an entire song.

I went to the pool with my husband and children, in the evening before supper, and I stayed calm. After we returned home I found ways to distract myself, joined the family in the living room to watch a little ST:DS9, and when I could feel I was getting tired, I went to bed, where I slept on my own new bed because we’re seeing if I get better rest sleeping without someone next to me.

I didn’t get great sleep, but it wasn’t terrible, either. When I woke up I got ready and left for a morning walk, and when I arrived at the bridge that has become my end point before returning home, I sat down and watched the tiny fish and crawdads for a few minutes, and on my way home I worked on keeping my hands loose instead of clenched.

When I came home I made oatmeal for my youngest, because she’s a weirdo that picks oatmeal over things like bagels or bananas, made coffee, and then showered with my husband, still maintaining my calm.

Underneath it all, there’s a part of me writhing and screaming and wanting to escape, to run away, to be saved somehow – a part of me that’s sad and anxious and stressed about all the hard work that’s going to be involved in becoming a functional independent adult in just a year, while still dealing with ever-present stressors in my daily life. That part of me didn’t take over, though.

To be honest, I’m surprised. But also, pleased. I had thought yesterday might signal another dive into the depths, another sleepless night, followed by a day of feeling sick and sore. Instead I’m still here with my chin up and shoulders squared, able to keep going. It’s a small victory, but I’ll take any victory at all.

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