“Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing.” ~ Ricki Lake
Three times in the last month I have bumped into someone who has read keenmom.com and stopped to tell me they are a fan. Thank you. This was very encouraging, and I am grateful, because comments ranged from, “I anxiously await your story every month,” to “I follow you and Kiddo by secretly stalking you online,” and “I can’t wait to hear some more good news about ‘them’.”
All things considering, Kiddo is amazingly well: growing up so fast, making milestone improvements in less than a year and a half, and is daringly courageous and imaginative and full of bright energy.
I, on the other hand, feel like I’m a pin ball bouncing back and forth between ‘second wind city’ and ‘barely sane.’ Because the truth is, motherhood is hard. And even as I type this the spiritual side of me wants to go back and cross out the word ‘hard’ and replace it with ‘challenging’ instead because the word ‘hard’ feels like it’s too negative or too much of a downer. So at the very least I feel compelled to redo the sentence altogether and say that motherhood has its fair share of ups and downs but it’s overall rewarding. Or that motherhood isn’t for the weak but is a blessing from God-Source in disguise.
Yet the reality is that motherhood contains a lot of feelings, doesn’t it?
In fact, very recently I rewatched the movie “Inside Out,” and was reminded how every feeling is working together hand-in-hand.
So here are some of my ‘Sad’ moments:
Kiddo has a long road ahead. In addition to being in and out of doctors and hospitals for the next several years, “them” continues to ask us questions about the past, recently crying in my arms asking me “mama why did X and others do what they did?” and “why did my birthparents leave me?” and “do others kids have to go through this?”
So, yes, I feel sad because these questions are painful and because I want our life to be simple and it is not.
And here are some of my ‘Disgust’ moments:
A week or so ago I made the mistake of comparing my kiddo to a handful of others the same age. My ego had a field day with this.
Mental chatter sounded a lot like this . . . “Wow. Your kid is really behind. How embarrassing. So much for all the hard work you’ve put in. Worse yet your kid doesn’t even fit in. Just look how delayed they are compared to everyone else. And don’t even get me started on all the medical issues. What a shame. How pathetic that you really thought you could help them and you can’t. They will never catch up. You’re just setting yourself up for failure. You’re both losers.”
And then my Fear’ moments kicked in:
I began to fear everything my ego said is right. Because yes, I do have a fear Kiddo won’t be able to be independent like others kids and won’t be able to safely cross a street, ride a bike, drive a car or land a job that allows “them” to live on their own.
And the biggest fear of all is that no matter how hard I try to help, it won’t ever be enough.
And then I have my ‘Anger’ moments:
I feel angry that I can’t fix “them” and I can’t erase this kiddo’s past, and I can’t mend this child’s broken heart.
And most of all I feel angry that I cannot stretch my patience when I have no more patience to give, and so I lock myself in the bedroom and cry for a few minutes, or I scream into the toilet with the fan on high.
Because the truth is I feel angry that “them” is behind due to a very abusive past, and am angry for even thinking about being angry because I know anger is just a cover up for all of the other feelings that I feel that want to be expressed but cannot because it is taking center stage.
And so I focus on my ’Joy’ moments by returning myself to gratitude:
I am joyful that my husband and I have a child in our life who is indeed an answer to our prayers and gives us a deeper reason for existence.
I am joyful that Kiddo is beating the odds and is speaking in a way that can be understood, openly shares feelings, is bonding with toys and us, and every now and again gives us sassy talk which is a healthy indicator that our child feels safe enough to test boundaries and is gaining a safe sense of independence.
And most of all I feel joyful that I can express myself in this way. I feel joyful knowing I have friends and family out there who really care. I feel joy that even though not many people understand what I’m truly going through, they still take the time to let me know they are cheering us on, sending us their prayers, and encourage us to remember the most important feeling of all – Love.
Love is what exists when we get out of our own way
Love is what this journey is all about
Love is warm kisses and a gentle embrace
Love is hearing “mama I love you” every day
Love is watching my child struggle and then succeed
Love is losing my patience and then admitting my mistake
Love is trusting that life happens as it should
Love is accepting all there is
Love is surrendering to the moment
Love is now, now is love
(Note: For confidentiality reasons, “Kiddo” and “them” refers to the child in our foster care at the time of this post.)