A few weeks ago while discussing some of the harder details in life with someone I know, the discussion on me raising the kids came up. As it always does -it brought up points that everyone likes to bring up. Such as how I shouldn’t be doing this on my own, which always translates loosely to that I shouldn’t be doing this. Period. The debate arose, the statements made, and the conversation changed. Because the truth is -I never wanted to be doing this. Period. I never wanted to do this alone. Period. But I am. I wasn’t given a choice. I never said I wanted to -but I was never given the option to not.
While some I suppose could argue, that I didn’t have to go getting the kids -I can argue right back that there were no other options at the time. Unless you consider state care an option. My decision to attempt one last time to get the kids back could be a fair arguing platform for those well meaning folks who like to tell me I shouldn’t be doing this -but I could also argue back that they would be the first in line to tell me how I let the kids down if I hadn’t tried.
There is no winning in this situation. You can’t please them all. I learned that years ago, and anymore I try and let it roll off without taking too much to heart. But sometimes it gets under my skin. It buries itself deep like a nasty sliver, irritating everything around it until eventually it works free. Usually in the heat of the moment, or a fit of frustration. Because I never said I was perfect at this.
I understand why people think that I shouldn’t be doing this alone. I agree that kids get equal parts from both parents, and there is something that I cannot provide. I don’t deny this. I am not and never will be able to replace their parents, and will never be able to be their mother. I won’t ever be able to give them that maternal care -it just won’t happen. I can’t change this.
Last night after fighting a cold and fever all weekend, with little sleep -Josh flipped back and forth. Kicking me in the back, slapping me in the head. All unintentional moves from a guy who is fighting off the germs that seem to plaque us often these days. He didn’t know what he wanted, I didn’t know what to give him -and so there we lay, surrounded by darkness. Me silently hoping that he would just give up the fight and go to sleep. Him working himself up more and more as time went on.
It was a night that ended with tears. Mostly from him. Frustrated from feeling so crummy, and not knowing what he needed to make himself feel better he burst into tears. After attempting numerous things to calm him down, and meet his needs I tossed my hands in the air and walked off.
Because we were crossing the line where if I weren’t alone -we wouldn’t be here.
The line that said the things I couldn’t give him, the things I didn’t know what he needed, the things I had no idea about -were the very things that could have been taken care of with someone who knew this area better than I did.
I gave him medicine, multiple pillows, rubbed his back and tried to calm him down. But I couldn’t touch him just right, or talk soothingly to him. I couldn’t cuddle him up and tell him that everything would be ok. Me touching him was not what he needed, and it was only making things worse.
I sat on the couch listening to him slowly calm himself down, while simultaneously calming myself down. Which is where I admit that yes, I walked away from a sick child. I left him in the room alone. I had nothing else to give him. And the words that sunk deep down to parts where they shouldn’t have -came back up. “You shouldn’t do this.”
And for a brief few moments, I listened. I walked away. I thought of all the areas of my life where I have failed, screwed up and downright ruined everything. I let my failures and mistakes wash over me. And when there was nothing left to guilt myself with, I got up and walked back into the room. I lay down beside him and rest my hand on his sweaty head. And told him all the things I probably shouldn’t have, and he most likely didn’t understand.
The things that have been building inside since that night a few weeks ago: That I was sorry. That I knew it wasn’t enough, and never would be. That I hoped one day, he would be able to understand. I told him things that weren’t meant for him. Things that were meant for the other ones. I told him I was trying my best. I would always try my best. And that sometimes I would need him to help -even if helping just meant simply understanding.
And then he kicked he. Not on purpose, or out of spite…but because when you are fighting a fever, and uncomfortable and just don’t feel good sometimes your limbs go places beyond your control.
And because I’m me, and he is him -I laughed. And smiled. Because sometimes…I just need to be reminded. I am doing this. Not because I am the best at it, or because I know everything or can fill all those empty holes…but because I need to. And want to. And wouldn’t want it any other way. Even if it means hopelessly trying to do things beyond my calling.