The success of love is in the loving – it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.
I always smirk inside when someone tells me to take care of myself. I know I need to; I know they’re right. And yet, I find the line between taking care of me and taking care of my children to be incredibly fuzzy. Their well being is my well being; their pain is brought double upon my heart. I would rather be the one to be spurned by a friend, fall down and scrape a knee, or lie in a hospital bed. Isn’t that how every mother feels?
I know I’m Bipolar and I shouldn’t go without sleep, and I know that I am human and faulty and definitely not a 24-hour care robot for my heart warrior. I have so, so wished I was something other than a plain, human, Bipolar mother a thousand times. If I could only be . . . stronger, harder, smarter, tougher. If I could only be better . . . And the hardest thing about having a sick child for me is to realize how limited I am, how this job cannot be accomplished by one person, or even two. Keeping Sam alive, by the will of God alone, has been the fruit of countless doctors’ and nurses’ and teachers’ and scientists’ efforts.
Being Sam’s mama has required me to relinquish control on such a deep soul level it makes me squirm just admitting it to this keyboard. I have offered up more since he was diagnosed–which is different than having a child die, different still from having my own body rebel against me in illness–than I knew was possible. I have met God in deeper waters than I ever would have chosen to dive into otherwise. I have learned dependence and weakness and fear in these deep waters, drowned again and again, only to be saved by Jesus’ hands and words of healing.
Needless to say, I have failed to be Mama Robot to Sam. I haven’t been champion like I want to be. I have fallen asleep at the helm from exhaustion, and I have demanded God accomplish my will when I should have been begging for help. I have wished for freedom; I have wished for a new life. I have imagined running away from it all. I have repeatedly not been thankful, but instead, resentful. I have broken when I should have stood firm. I have smashed picture frames against walls after too much wine, on the point of a breakdown. And I have cried and cried and cried when no one was looking. I have wondered why in the world God gave me, of all people, this child? And I have wondered if I was enough. I have wondered if I deserved to be Sam’s mama at all.
So, I started seeing a new therapist a year ago. And, I talked and talked to her, about all of the things that I hate to put upon my friends and family. There are so many things I don’t want them to have to know, so many things I don’t ever want them to feel. But I could talk to Amy, and she listened. And it’s fabulous to be able to confess picture smashing and too much Chardonnay and daydreams of running away, and have someone look at me and say,
THIS IS NORMAL, ALL OF IT. YOU ARE A GOOD MAMA. REALLY. YOU ARE.
And I laugh at her as tears stream down my cheeks, and I wonder as I leave her office, how many of us out there are doing this Heart Mama life and never have anyone say that?
So, I am saying it to you now.
YOU ARE A GOOD MAMA. YOU ARE A HERO. AND YOU HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH, EVEN IF THERE ARE PICTURE-SMASHING DAYS. NORMAL.
And I know down deep how flawed I am. But I also know God gave me–no one else–this child to love and protect and fight for. And, He gave me everything I need to fulfill this complicated, arduous, beautiful mission as Sam’s Mama (Philippians 4:13).
So, if you are a mom of a special needs kid and aren’t talking to a therapist, I highly recommend it. I know schedules are tricky and money is impossible. I feel guilty, too, every moment I’m away from my kids. But I’m a better mom because I go vomit all of these feelings into a safe and sacred place. I’m a better mom because I know all of my feelings are normal, and because I know that, I don’t spend so much time feeling guilty or letting them scare me. I’m a better mom now that I can rest assured that I’m a good mom. Amy says so.
God bless you all in this most humbling of undertakings,
Heart Mama to Heart warrior,
Flawed but Forgiven,