This Christmas season has been a difficult one. When you are the parent to kids who have experienced loss upon loss, big, family gatherings can be painful reminders of that loss. And it’s difficult to help them navigate these happy, Christmasy times when they don’t feel so happy & Christmasy. Especially when you are still navigating through your own loss.
I read this blog about a week ago that talks about how people who come from places of significant loss a lot of times tend to sabotage big days. And it could not be more true. Several days this season, I found myself frustrated and lonely. Even though I was surrounded by many people. I found myself grieving with my kids for all their many losses. I found myself grieving for my own losses. Which I then felt guilty about because they are significantly less than my kids’ losses.
And I found myself frustrated at my kids’ behavior. I had to walk away and remind myself to be gracious and patient many times. And then I found myself holding my beautiful children as they sobbed. Great, body-shaking sobs. As they were reminded that significant people in their families were missing from our happy, Christmasy celebrations. And I couldn’t do anything but hold them and cry with them. And remind them that I will always love them no matter how many big days they ruin. They can ruin all the days and I will still love them because they are mine.
And then we went to the mall. Where I said the serenity prayer over and over in my head multiple times. But then my teenage daughter asked me to help her find some clothes. She kept running over to ask my opinion on all the clothes she wanted to purchase. And she used her Christmas giftcards to buy me a gift. And I almost started sobbing like a baby in the middle of Forever 21. (In part because I was in serious need of some Xanax. That store makes me beyond chlosterphobic and panicky.) But primarily because my daughter was telling me she loved me in her own special way. And I would give all the big, happy, Christmasy days from now to forever for that one mother/daughter moment.
I often feel like a failure as a mom. When babygirl & giant babyman went home for good, their social worker told me that they were looking homely and that I apparently didn’t know how to care for black children.
I went 14 kinds of crazy. I threw my phone. I took my scarf and jacket off and threw them, too. It is an understatement to say I lost my everlovin mind. Because it hit my deepest mom fear: that I’m just not good enough. That I don’t know what the H I’m doing. (I don’t.) And my kids will end up in therapy because of it. (They totally will. I have come to terms with this. Instead of saving for their college tuition, I am saving for their therapy bill.)
These aren’t new fears. I’ve had them since I became a mom 5 yrs ago. But my fears of failing my kids increased times 100 when we became parents of a teenager overnight. Because WHAT IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD are you supposed to do with a teenager?! I am way out of my element.
My boys think I am a freaking rockstar and I don’t even try. (Don’t you dare tell them differently. I am raising a couple of mama’s boys and just whatever about it.) So I was caught completely off guard that my teenage daughter didn’t.
WHAT?! You don’t want to snuggle and tell me how awesome I am all the livelong day?! I don’t know what to do about that.
How do you make a teenager think you are the boss at parenting?! If you have found that secret, please for my sanity’s sake, share it with me. I will pay you all my monies.
But today, my teenage daughter thought I was pretty awesome. Even if it was for just a moment and she was operating in a Forever 21 haze. I felt like just maybe, I’m not a complete failure after all. And just maybe, my kids are going to survive my parenting.
And, well, if not, job security for all you therapists out there.