It feels like everything is a struggle these days: walking, eating, breathing, sleeping. It all takes so much energy and after a trip to the grocery store I need an hour of sleep just to recover. After walking up our flight of stairs I need five minutes to catch my breath. The other day the Spiriva commercial with the elephant sitting on a man’s chest came on and Wes asked if that’s what I felt like. “Yes,” I said, “I have a Stellaphant sitting on my chest.” And then I laughed for five minutes at my own joke, because that’s usually how it happens around here. But seriously, must she be right on top of my lungs?

I’ve been jobless for over a month now and on my first day home I thought I would be all sorts of productive. I envisioned a perfectly spotless apartment with freshly dusted counter- and table-tops, laundry folded and ironed on regular days, and Stella’s room set up with clothes organized and put away. I quickly realized, after two back-to-back trips upstairs that required 20-minutes of just sitting to catch my breath, that that wasn’t going to happen. Now I make a daily list and cross off what I can when I can. And that has to be good enough for now.

I know that when Stella arrives I won’t be able to do everything, so maybe these last few months of discomfort is my body’s way of saying slow down and get used to this new life where not everything you want to do gets done. Just as I get used to this routine I know that another one, even more difficult than this, will land in my lap.

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