Then we flew back home with P for a week to see my mom and stepfather. It was incredible, and exhausting, and I'm glad we did it. I got some invaluable time with P, my sister, and a few dear friends, cheered up my mom (and I hope, helped her a bit), and got to enjoy some of the best weather Washington DC can serve up, along with a lovely side of cherry blossoms. Lulu and Boo saw their friends and teachers and spent tons of time with exH and L. It was good for them to go. I wish I had a picture of Boo walking into his old K class to overwhelming shouts and applause from his classmates and teachers. For a kid who usually HATES being the center of attention, he couldn't have been more thrilled.
Most important, my stepfather, M, is doing well. He has now gone through a round of radiation and another round of chemo and is really improving, at least physically. We're not sure yet what the cancer itself is doing, but he went from not being able to walk when we were there to being able to get himself into and out of a wheelchair, and now can use a walker pretty well. He is in such amazing spirits. My mom was more of a worry for me. She seemed overwhelmed and exhausted. I tried to help out, organizing grocery and other deliveries and buying and setting up a new computer when hers died, but even though I know our visit helped, it's nothing compared to being there all the time.
ExH and L continue to help out. I am really stunned at his continued generosity and kindness to my mom and M, even while L's own mother struggles with breast cancer. It's really amazing. I wonder if I would do the same for his mother, and I think I probably wouldn't.
It was very hard to leave. The night before we flew out, P got the news that his father had died a few days before, alone, and he may never know what happened. P was in shock and we stayed up all night as he tortured himself over not being there enough, not knowing how his dad had died. To lose two parents in three months, even as an adult, is unimaginable. I wanted so much to do something for him, anything. I offered to stay but he said no, there was nothing to do.
So now we're back, and settled into something of a routine. I am trying to make the best of it, I really am. I decided that I might as well start on all those self-improvement projects I've been putting off. I drag myself to yoga three or four days a week and try not to eat too many carbs. I started actually writing the novel I've had in the back of my mind for a few years and wrote an essay for a magazine contest. I got a haircut and am contemplating bangs for the first time since I grew mine out at age 13. We spend Tuesdays at my friend M's house and Wednesdays are ice cream days. It's the little things. On weekends, we do at least one fun thing, and a few weeks ago we flew to Sydney for three days. Gazing at the Opera House and the famous Harbour Bridge almost made the last four months worthwhile.
I still want to go home. I miss my little house and my big bed and my cats. I miss kid-free nights out with P and having someone to sleep next to. I miss driving on the right side of the road and American accents and Starbucks on every corner. I miss Lulu and Boo's happy little classrooms and great teachers. But if I can focus on writing and getting in shape and maybe if P comes back for a couple months and nothing horrible happens with my mom and stepdad, and maybe if I can get back to Sydney at least one more time, then maybe I can stick it out until December. Maybe. I'll keep you posted.