I watch my hand tremble in the air as I move it towards the door bell. My finger is just an inch away from the small white button, so close, but so far. I let my hand drop to my side again. Then I take a deep, steadying breath to collect myself before moving my hand back up. It’s not as shaky as before, but I my finger still freezes as I move to push it down.

I can’t do it. How will they react? Will they recognize me? Will they blame me? Hate me? Countless question race through my mind as I stand there on their front porch, trying to collect enough strength to push a damn button.

I try to will the muscles in my finger to function, but no matter how hard I try to press down, it still won’t budge. Letting out a frustrated sigh I turn and head towards my car. What’s the point? They’ll more than likely shut the door in my face as soon as they see me. Not that I would blame them, not after what I did.

“Dammit” I growl, kicking a nearby rock with the tip of my shoe.

When did I turn into this nervous wreck of a woman? I was never like this before. I was strong, healthy, confident, happy. And look at me now; a middle aged woman standing in her own front yard, petrified to ring the damn door bell.

Fueled by anger, I whirl around and stalk back up to the door, pressing the button before I can talk myself out of it. The bell echoes through the house and I want to run. As far and as fast as I can, just like I did last time.

I’ve just turned around when the door opens. My body freezes, my foot hovering in the air. I cast a nervous look over my shoulder, my eyes locking with my husbands for a small moment. The hurt and betrayal I see makes it hard to breathe. I never wanted to hurt him, I never wanted to hurt any of them, but I needed time to find myself. Being a mother and a wife was just too much. I felt suffocated and lost, so I left.

“Are you here to stay, or do you plan to leave again?”

I turn to face him and my mistakes, ready to make things right. Where I gather the strength I have no clue, but I need to do it. I want my family back. I reach out to grab a hold of the banister for support.

“Stay” I whisper weakly.

He doesn’t answer for a long moment, instead he just stares at me. Almost as if he’s looking for something, some clue that will tell him if I truly mean it or not. Then, after what feels like hours, he pushes the door wider and steps aside in silent invitation.

I force myself to walk into the house, only to stop in the hallway. I look at him for direction, wondering if I’m allowed to fully enter.

“Living room” He says as he closes the door.

My feet feels heavy as concrete as I walk down the hall towards the living room. They laugh the only way kids can laugh, carefree and heartfelt, bringing joy to everyone within hearing distance. Panic rises in my chest and I stop abruptly by the entrance, my husband bumping into my back.

What if I make the laughter disappear?

His warm hand falls to my shoulder, giving it a small squeeze. “They miss you”

I close my eyes and will my nerves to calm down, but no matter how hard I try, they’re still there.  My stomach is still churning, and my hand is still shaking, but somehow I feel ready. Ready to be a mother and all that it entails.

I force a smile forth, because while I’m ready I still feel nervous.


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