Wonder by Natalie Merchant is blaring on my speakers while I unpack and sort yet another box. Slowly, order is emerging from the wreckage and chaos. The kids are laughing and playing with a jump-rope, as Bean attempts to teach Jeffrey to skip rope, which he just learned today. Abby is giggling. A friend dropped off a pizza on his way home from work- just because- and my Home Teacher came by to measure a closet which he is turning into a pantry for me. I stop, a bolt of fabric in my arms- perplexed for a moment as I listen to my children and feel the warmth as the furnace clicks on in Little House. A stray lock of hair tickles my neck, blown on the warm air from the vent, and I realize I am holding my breath. What is that feeling? What is it? What’s wrong?
I stand still for a second, like a doe in a glen. Alert, wary- and then realization rolls over me in shivering, hot waves. Nothing is wrong. Nothing is wrong; we are not living in fear anymore. Tears flood my eyes and I want to fall to my knees; I realize I am exhaling for the first time in three years. I am relaxed, and my children are laughing and playing. That feeling, that tiny thing I could not even recognize? It is the tiny, hopeful, deep stirrings of… happiness.