We Aren’t in Kansas Anymore Are We, Toto?

Dorthy and the Wizard of Oz


A diagnosis doesn’t just change your life. It changes the world around you. Black and white is so safe. It envelopes me like the sound of my husband’s key turning in the front door. It embraces my spirit. It’s the feeling of being home.

God, how I long for that feeling.

Looking back, after you’ve been handed something life changing, all you want and I mean ALL you want is just a taste of how it was. You can’t stop thinking about all the times you yelled about the pudding in the floor or the phone in the toilet. You can’t let go of that time you said no to going for a walk or the years you wasted being angry/frustrated/depressed/unsupportive/about-as-pleasant-as-a-colonoscopy to someone that you love.

If you play the track too long it will get scratched and eventually stick in the most annoying place. It will tell you over and over you did it all wrong. You wasted your time.

The devil rears his ugly, red head.

“You ran to the wizard when Auntie Am told you to stay in and feed the chickens . . . but no. You just had to grab your little dog and run for it. If you hadn’t have done xyz this never would have happened.”

What did I do to deserve this? The colors are distorted and the light streams in in buckets.

My door swings open to Oz.

Everything is BIGGER. Everything is brighter. My house has fallen on some lady I don’t even know. Before I have a chance to blink I’m accused of doing it on purpose. If only I would have steered my house slightly to the left. Don’t you just hate when your house flies out of orbit and lands on random strangers with loved ones who hold grudges?

The Lollypop Kids bring me a sucker. There’s a parade in my honor. Hey this isn’t so bad. That is until the big red smoke appears and this ugly, wreathing green thing says “I will get you my pretty and your little dog too.” “Hey,” I say. ‘’Leave my dog out of this.”

Now in order to get to where I need to go, they say I must follow this long and winding road ahead. There are horses of different colors and scarecrows that crash into trees . . .

I’m confused. It’s too much. I don’t recognize this place. I don’t like it. I want to go home.

I want comfort in a burgundy work shirt coming through the door. Hat on the hope chest, Mountain Dews sprawled in a line. I want pudding on the floor and gum in the toddler’s hair. I want Brock and Emily’s fighting over who touched who’s minifigure. I want Alex leaving a Lego in the hall and me slipping on it butt-first. I want Ben’s up all night and pooping up to his hair.

This is the norm I want. These are the problems I want. I want my trivial back.

I want my old life back.

As I walk through the woods to get to this new place I’m supposed to be headed . . . to top it all off the trees throw apples at me. I feel like Eve in the Garden of Eden. I know I can’t let the apples get to me but they do. They sting and bruise. They remind me I’m far from home. Then cue the flying monkeys as if I needed one more thing to worry about . . .

And yet I must keep going.

This is the winding road of yellow. I’m lost. But somewhere in the middle of this long, exhausting journey . . . bursts of blue arise. Splashes of crystal clear waters and boldly colored gardens . . . there are new adventures and new friends. There are lions looking for courage and tin men searching for hearts. When the lion finds his courage I’m tempted to take that with me too . . .

But instead I say a prayer. He quiets my spirit. I am encouraged. I click my heels three times . . .

I open my eyes and I’m under the same covers with the paint brushed hydrangeas and only now with vivid splashes of green. I’m in my same mismatched socks, surrounded by my perfectly matched family.

“And you were there . . . And you were there . . . And you were there . . .”

And I realize I’m not alone. I realize I’m still home and there is no place like it. The scenery is the same. The love is BIGGER. The only thing that has changed is the colors.

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