I’ve been struggling. Focusing in on the absolute worst possible outcome in any given scenario. Certain that Austin would fall victim to every “rare but serious” side effect listed for each of his drugs (things that range from permanent hearing loss to irreversible organ failure to the big D). Wondering how many children I’d be buying Christmas gifts for next year.

But it’s lifting. I am, yet again, rising. Today has been a much better day. Austin is back, full force. He’s playing and eating and laughing and snorting like a pig (his new thing for some unknown reason). His resilience, his ability to get back up after being knocked down and down and down, reminds me to hope.

It started lifting last night. We’d finished dinner and I was standing there paralyzed by the mess in my kitchen and Mark told me to take some time off. “Stop worrying about whether you and I are putting in equal time right now. It doesn’t have to be equal; it has to be about meeting each other’s needs. Right now, you need a break. I don’t. The tables will turn and when they do, I can break down and you will step up.”

So I left. Went to Heinen’s and Target. Studied food labels for potassium and bought a few last minutes stocking stuffers, along with thermometers, hospital slippers and children’s Tylenol. I wandered around the store in a daze, thinking of my incredible husband and my incredible children. Struck by the goodness and kindness in my life and by the misery and cruelty in my life. The two opposite forces converging all at once, toppling over each other, jostling for position. Wondering which would win out, which would prove to be stronger in the end.

I drove home listening to the “holiday music station,” which is a form of torture in and of itself between the longing of “home for Christmas” songs to the new meaning behind “All I Want For Christmas is YOU” (not to mention the thoroughly annoying “The Twelve Pains of Christmas” which makes me want to shake someone: “Oh really? You couldn’t find a parking spot at the mall??”). But as I passed the twinkling lights on the houses, driving slowly with no traffic around, I was calmed. I pulled into the driveway of my full house and walked in my backdoor to the sound of laughter.

My three boys, one big, one medium and one little, were running around playing hide and seek. And laughing.

Goodness wins.