I can be “that mom.” The mom who doesn’t take yesterday’s lunchbox out of the backpack and yet sends it back the next day not remembering to even empty it and put in a new fresh lunch. I lose the papers. I forget the parent conferences. I’m not ever going to be the Room Mom.
My youngest son broke both of his wrists this week. I wasn’t outside watching him because I’m sick and he’s 8 and I don’t feel like I need to hover all the time especially in our own backyard. Now, he is in casts up to his elbows for at least the next 4 weeks. It’s very difficult for him to do anything on his own. It’s been interesting to watch because as the baby of the family he already had a lot of things still done for him. But as the baby of the family I didn’t feel as inclined to baby him as much as perhaps his older siblings. Part of me is so thankful he wants me near him, he screamed for me when he fell off of our swingset. He begged me not to leave him the two days following. And he cried. He cried because he was hurt. He cried because he felt guilty for his choices that led to his accident. And he cried for what he would have to give up for now namely soccer and his birthday party. Could I have pre-empted this accident? Kept him from this pain? I don’t know.
It has been so hard to watch him go through so much emotional and physical pain. I would do anything to understand and feel what he was going through, to take this from him . But it brought me so much peace. Because as an adoptive parent you have this phrase of “Attachment Disorder” hanging over you. You read all these books that tell you your child will never feel whole. His heart will always grieve for what he lost even though he has gained so much. You start to over analyze and ask “when was the last time I saw him show compassion, when was the last time he cried, does he seem to enjoy too much torturing the crickets and lizards and frogs he’s always finding.” My son comes from a tough place and I find myself questioning do I hold him at arms length mentally for the day he wants to return to his “real family.” Do I create another hard place with my abruptness and directness? Will I push him away at some point because I haven’t grieved what we both lost out on September 23, 2006?
Part of me feels guilty also because of the inconvenience I feel towards having to return to taking care of his every need from feeding him, to dressing him, to wiping his bum again, leaving work to go feed him at school, etc. His very kind principal brought those feelings to the surface for me yesterday when he reminded me that he was just grateful my son’s injuries were temporary and this was just a season. My son will heal. And he will go back to running, jumping, taking risks, climbing up things he shouldn’t but the point is he will be a healthy whole boy not facing a life of disability.
I’m already feeling pulled a million directions for raising my kids and sticking to my guns of providing them a wide array of experiences in their youth to pull from when they are adults. I want them to be kids. I don’t want them to grow up too soon. But at the same time I have to teach them limitations, boundaries, and that their mom is not Elastigirl. This super mom is spending most of life worn out.
I’m reminded of all the world tries to sell you out in parenting, in adoption, in kids being kids. I see homeschool parents selling out public school parents who sell out public school parents. We are pitted against each other on the soccer fields, in the classroom, in the GAP ads, to the playground. We judge each other on the types of granola bars we buy our kids for goodness sake. I see parents trying way to hard. I see parents not trying near enough.
In the end I see my little boy who seems to be doing ok. He took delight yesterday when he figured out how to hold a crayon in his casted little hand. He figured out how to release his seatbelt. For the most part he could eat nachos on his own. My little man always seems to find the good in the small things of life.
For his day off school yesterday I took him to one of his favorite restaurants, Pizza Street, where he pigged out on pizza and ice cream. I took him to Petco where he loves to observe all the little creatures and recite facts about them from his hours of watching Animal Planet. I took him to Target to get some crafts and toys he could do with limited hand mobility. He bought 3 gifts to give to buddies that comforted him on the day of his accident. He snuggled into his nana’s arms. He cheered on his older brother during his play. He talked and joked and colored right smack in the middle of our family as we went out for ice cream. He snuggled with me as I read him another chapter from Ralph and The Motorcycle last night. He giggled during prayers. He wants his blankie named “Snugs.” He asked for a flashlight when the lights were turned off.
He seems normal to me. He seems happy. I think I can’t buy into the #mommyfail on this one.