There was a day not long ago when I sat down mid-staircase and wept because a thought came into my head, and I knew it to be true:
I am disappointed in my son. I am disappointed by him.
This thought slapped me upside the heart. How could I possibly feel this way about my baby, who is truly such a blessed and wondrous creature, whom I love with all my life, who takes my hand while we're walking and says, "I like to help people," who is healthy and smart and sweet and whose only problem is a fairly manageable behavior disorder?
And I thought, it's because I'm just this woman who once was this girl who thought things would turn out differently. That she'd meet the love of her life and do the right things and avoid the mistakes her mother had made, and she'd have her family and she would keep them safe and happy and not at all screwed up like she had been. But they didn't, and I couldn't, and I can't. I know how fortunate I am. I can see how really simple the solutions are. I don't have to agonize over the fact that I married a man who didn't exist outside of my determination. I don't have to blame myself for the Boy's sadness; I can step back and look behind me at every signpost that has been lining the road for the past 3 years and accept that he has ADHD and that medication will help him. I can stop trying to see how much guilt I can slather on myself by feeling like I absolutely must solve every problem because every problem is the result of my mistakes. I can stop agonizing over the fact that I am an ungrateful wretch who doesn't appreciate all she has and has the gall to be disappointed over something so treatable. It really requires such a little thing--to say, I accept these things. I accept them, and so I can see past them. I can see that I truly have everything I need and more. And that I'm worthy of it, despite being a human being who messes up and has unworthy thoughts and worries and fears. But oh, it's hard, it's so, so hard.
I'm struck by how many people out here seem to be feeling some version of this. One woman who finally was able to have children (twins) after blogging about her long efforts now feels horribly selfish and alone because, how can she admit that she is exhausted and frightened and everything else a new mother would feel--because she fought so hard to have these babies. That just breaks my heart. Why are we so hard on one another? And I'm not just talking about the trolls who write horrible nasty things to these amazing men and women I'm growing to know and like and sometimes even adore. Half the time I'm so judgmental I should carry around a jury. My judgment just looks different. I won't insult you or call down curses from an angry god--I'll just figure you aren't the kind of person who would "get" me. You probably think I'm a failure as a wife, a mother, an educated woman, whatever. Not that I'll ever give you the chance to prove me wrong.
Dr. B. is writing about paralyzing malaise. It's so easy to become frozen; only by looking at the one small thing we can do in our own small lives, one day at a time, can we overcome that paralysis, I think. We were talking politics, but it's true of everything. We visited the psychiatrist yesterday. I felt like I was walking the Boy to the executioner, but I pray that instead we'll be setting him free. I don't have all the answers and this may not be the right thing to do. But it's one thing to do. It's time to do it. Why can't I accept that it might be this easy, that it might not be my fault?
I decided to start taking the kids out to the park whenever the weather permits, which means whenever it isn't cold enough for frostbite. I dreaded it--the time I knew it would take to bundle them up like those kids in "A Christmas Story" and pack snacks and diapers and drinks and the Epipen and get back in the car and drive to the park and worry about whether the Boy is going to play nicely if other kids are there. Half the time we don't get there until 1/2 hour before the sun goes down, or I've forgotten the gloves, or something, and it's cold and there's half-melted snow in patches all over the ground and the grass is covered in goose crap and my god, did I mention that it's cold, and then they don't want to leave. But the funny thing is, I stand there losing the feeling in my fingers and stomping around trying to keep the Girl from flinging herself off the jungle gym and pushing the Boy underdog and my eyes are watering and the sun is going down and I can smell wood fires and the geese are flying overhead--sometimes the sky seems filled with them--and I think, my God, I have it so good. I am so, so, so blessed, and we're all going to be okay. And I can just let all this crap go, I can just be happy in the middle of this cold, forsaken month.
Go home now!