There were at least 15 people who congratulated me at church on Sunday. They each gently hugged me and then whispered something like, “I’m so happy for you!” or “Congratulations!” into my ear. I looked into every set of expectant eyes and didn’t know what to do.

“Thanks! It’s amazing to have him home!”

Tell the truth?
“Oh, please don’t congratulate me. I already feel totally lost and I’m not sure I’m even happy.”

Instead, I just stared blankly and tried to change the subject.

Here is the reality. I’m overwhelmed with a deep sense of fear that this whole reunification thing is going to blow up in my face and finally crush any hope I dare to have. To be clear, I am not afraid that Asher is going to reoffend – against his siblings or any other child. I remain confident that my son is not a pedophile and that his rehabilitation genuinely changed his values regarding sexual predation. He would not be in my home were this not the case.

But that does nothing for the way I feel adrift in this moment. Because I am not running a half-way house with Asher as the newest tenant – my job one of encourager and supporter for the short time before he transitions fully into the community. No. Asher came home. And I am his mom. Which means that it is my responsibility, as far as I may reasonably do, to engage in healing and developing a relationship with him.