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Finding myself in a world where I am because I do. Part 1

The last few years have been rough on me. Nates health has deteriorated, and we know our time is short together. Its making me think harder about life, what I do and who I am. Turns out I never have been me. The context of ME has always been about what I do. Homeschooler, Wife, Mother, Nurse, Booster Club President, Baseball Mom, the mom of 8 who manages to do way too much in the little time I have left. But since I was a mom at 17, “I’ never grew into a person. I became what I was doing that very moment. I excelled at it, and failure was never seen as an option so I pushed myself to always do more.

When I was little I wanted to be an Archeologist. I loved science and all that it held. Ive lost some of that. My love for Science has merged into snuggle time with Noah all cuddled up under furry blankets watching Discovery Channel. We have deep discussions most kids would not understand and we share our favorite facts about things. I love this time with him, its ours, and its unique to us.

I had Matthew when I was 17, and I was too young to be a mom. Seriously, all those teens waiting to have kids and rushing out the door.. Slow down. Take a few breaths for yourself. Babies will always be there, and they will always love you, even if they are not born for another 6 years. You have time, choose to use it on you.

Matthew was the one who I hurt the most being so young. I have lived many years in guilt wishing there was a way to make up for it. Ive said “I’m Sorry” more than any therapist has said is healthy and was actually told by one that I needed to stop. I lived in the guilt of my being young for years. He used the guilt I held to hurt me. He says cruel things he knows will hurt, and they do. He blames me for his having Aspergers and not being able to make wise choices. He has never taken responsibility for himself, or his life.. because he blames that bad choice on me. It must have been my fault. I married a husband who was abusive, its MY fault that he had a dad who was not involved because he could not be faithful to ANYONE, EVER. I fought so hard for Matt, to get him through high school, to keep him moving forward. To find something he liked or keep him involved and healthy. I fought with him to get a shower, to take his meds, to get out the door for school. None of this was fun, but I did it because it was the right thing to do. I lost a lot of myself fighting with Matthew, and taking the hits from the abuse he spews at me.

Sometimes as a mother things happen that we can not control. Being too young and alone, having a son who passed away, his brother being ill and needing my attention. Sometimes we can control them, like our move to NC almost 2.5 years ago. I don’t remember when we made the choice to do it, if it was even thought about ahead of time or we just said GO. I remember them packing the truck one day, me rushing around to get Matt ready to go because he had no place else to go.. and driving out from Chicago. I remember the 36 hour road trip, my moms digs that we were not out of Indiana yet.. and the baby crying. The baby Matthew hated because he said she was a “replacement” for his baby brother who died. One more dig at me. I became a defender of my heart, my soul and my spirit. I had to live in defense mode for so long I forgot how to relax. I forgot how to sleep, to enjoy life. I was so quick to defend everything I did, most times I was not even needing to defend myself. Matt made me live in such a state of panic, that I truly believed I was doing everything wrong and needed to justify every choice and move.

How do you recover from this? 2.5 years later and I still find myself trying to get it right all the time. Erase the kids mistakes on homework, bring 3 dishes to the potluck.. Im always the one to go above and beyond because I do not know now NOT to anymore. Because of the 21 years living with him, I do not trust myself that I am doing things ok, that Im a good mom, or that Im a good person.

Matt went back to live in Illinois right after we moved here, and the house stress level went down. I know I love my son, and I still try to maintain some sort of relationship with him.. but if I showed you his text messages.. you would, well.. His last words were ” Never mind, just forget about me, its easy. just remember all the times I was put into the hospital while you went on vacation easy as pie”.. and then “well your a horrible mother 😀 left me and Donald here all alone”. Yes, Matt spent several weeks in the hospital several times a year. Yes, I went on my planned 4 day vacation with my husband and my parents, the first time I had ever been away from my kids. Yes, every day Matts drama would drip into the trip.. oh, did I mention he was ALREADY AN ADULT???

So in writing this I am taking back my view on myself as a mother and will make the decision on my own if I am a good mom or not. I will not feel guilty if I mess up, if we run late to a class or I fail to cook something healthy every single night. My kids can have soup and grilled cheese, they will survive. I will not erase mistakes and do the answers for the kids. Its ok if Emaly wears the same leotard more than once in a year, I can sell the rest. Bean does not need new tutus for each class, she will still learn how to do the routine. I am a good mother, with great kids. I just need to figure out who I am other than a mother.

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