Three and a half years ago we walked back into our home after a month long stay in the ICU, hundreds of seizures, brain surgery, and the loss of innocence and hope that comes with a new baby.
I walked through the house, my house, but I felt like an imposter.
The girl that once lived there was gone. The girl that loaded the dishwasher (sometimes) and moved furniture around and looked at paint colors... The girl who left the house just a few weeks prior did not return.
She didn't live there anymore.
I walked through the halls slowly and the crime scene of my bedroom replayed the memories that I had shut down for weeks. I looked at my clothes, my shoes, my makeup... they didn't look like mine. None of this seemed to fit with the person that had returned. It belonged to someone else.
She was silly and petty and naive and simple. And she was gone.
Since then I have said goodbye to a few versions of adult me... even as I go back to revisit videos and posts from Houston in December, I am shocked to say that She is not who I am today.
She is strong. She is on it. She is ready.
And really, I think I have gone soft.
All this happiness and growth and normalcy has ruined the ninja-warrior that I had considered myself to be.
At first I was disappointed.
And still, I miss her strength. I miss her steadiness. I miss her drive.
And then I realize that she can never be anything more than a ninja. You never hear about the other side of a ninja's life. Ninjas don't have hobbies, or friends, or family. Ninjas don't go on vacations. You don't hear about what church that ninja goes to.
No, because if you are a ninja, that is all you can really be.
I'm assuming there is a high burnout rate for us all. It really isn't a sustainable lifestyle, especially if you, like me, value connections with humans.
But I had accepted that this may be my lot in life and I would do it with pride and honor (you know, like a ninja).
You never know what will make you finally loosen that death grip on the sword. You never know when the release will come, but when it does and you are still standing there, lost and alone in the battlefield, you can finally just let go and walk away. You don't even hear your weapon hit the ground because you are already gone. Even with one foot still on the field, you have your eyes forward.
And just like that... You are ready.
Ready to join the world. Ready to be more. Ready to have more.
And so, as we travel to Houston tomorrow for Luke's 3 month follow up, I wonder, "Who will be boarding that flight?"
Will it be the girl that cries and eats chocolate while watching This is Us? Will it be the person who naps and snuggles and snacks and laughs?
Or will it be the person who holds her child down and comforts him during the hour long hook up to the EEG? Will it be the person who doesn't need food or sleep or water, just coffee and a shower?
Can those two people exist at the same time? Can a soft ninja exist and be successful? I mean, I guess, I shall expose the truth of my limited artistic exposure these days and reference, yet again, another animated classic, Kung Fu Panda. If that chubster could get his act together and defeat that brute of a leopard or whatever, then I should be able to Kung Fu my way through Houston again and be ready, albeit a little wobbly.
If that pudgy little panda could have a heart and friends and an appetite, all the while developing some killer ninja moves, then by golly, I can, too. .
So, there...it can happen. These two things, love and fight, can exist simultaneously. Crisis averted.
Tomorrow I will try to travel to Houston armed with faith and hope instead of a sword. Tomorrow I will try to enjoy my time with my baby and my mom. Tomorrow, I will try out what it feels like to be Luke's mom and, this person I have become, otherwise known as Steph, at the same time.
Mother of two amazing little boys, one who just happens to be a TS warrior.