Don’t Worry, Bear

My big girl loves a book called Don’t Worry, Bear. It’s about a bear who is friends with a caterpillar. When the caterpillar goes into his cocoon, the bear gets very worried. All the while, the caterpillar is talking to him from inside reassuring him not to worry. Eventually the caterpillar emerges as a butterfly and the bear realizes he never had to worry in the first place.
I have planned for tomorrow for almost a year. It has been an emotional journey thus far and tomorrow we add the physical component. I have been so focused on how the girls will fare in my absence, I haven’t thought about how others might worry about me. I’m a mother, so I can only imagine what this has been like for my parents and what it will be like waiting for me to come out of surgery, watching me recovery. I want to say to them, “Don’t worry, Bear”. Luckily, my husband isn’t typically a worrier (a good balance in our marriage and parenting), but I know he will be sitting out in the waiting room while they operate and he will worry. I want to tell him, “Don’t worry, Bear”. I’m sure my girls will be concerned when they see me after I’ve lost my breasts and wonder if I’m really ok. To them I will say, “Don’t worry, Bear”. Of course, I’m also worried for myself, but I’m thinking about all of the things I never have to worry about again. Waiting for mammogram results, “Don’t worry, Bear”. Feeling a lump, “Don’t worry, Bear”. Getting breast cancer, “Don’t worry, Bear”.
Today I am a caterpillar. Tomorrow I will be a butterfly.


I haven’t even left yet and already I’m homesick. I went to several different summer camps when I was younger. Most of them were dance camps that were only a few weeks long. Yet still, even though I loved what I was doing, I had the worst separation anxiety. That feeling of homesickness is so real and so gut wrenching for me that it’s my body’s go-to reaction when I’m leaving anyone I love.
I finally told my older daughter yesterday that I’m going away. We were playing outside and the timing just seemed right. She was happy and laughing with me, telling me that she wanted to go back to the farm where we do apple picking. So I said, “that would be so much fun. Ya know, I’m going to go to the doctor for a few days, but maybe Daddy can take you there.” And she said something like, “just me, Daddy, Dovey (her nickname for her little sister), Nanny, PopPop, and Gammy?” I told her yes and then we went back to playing. It kind of felt like a weight had been lifted because I’d laid the initial groundwork. But moments later, she gave me a huge hug and kiss and didn’t want to let go. It wasn’t in a sad way. I think for her it was in a very happy way, but it took everything I had not to start balling. Homesickness rears its ugly head again. The same emotion crept up as I put the baby to bed. Cuddled in to me chest to chest, I felt it rise up again threatening to break the dam I’ve worked hard to build up.
My strength and the countdown dwindle together as if they’re one. Part of me wishes I could stop the clock, the other is ready to just get it over with. I think I’ve done everything I can to prepare myself and my kids. It almost feels like I’m about to go to camp.