Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Broken

There is a lot that goes into being a Mom, but when you bring it down to it's lowest common denominator, what we really do is just fix stuff.

When our children are small, it's a pretty simple matter to right what is wrong. If a belly is empty, we fill it. If a diaper is dirty, we change it. We make faces and sing songs when they are bored. We pace the floor with them when they are sick. We pick them up when they fall.

Looking back to those days, I realize that their care was pretty elementary. It didn't seem like it at the time, but truthfully, I complicated matters with my own uncertainty and I let others prey upon it. In my desire to get it right, I let things that really didn't matter assume monumental importance.

How silly that I spent weeks researching diaper brands; days deliberating between a colored mobile or black and white; hours poring over articles comparing different brands of soothers.

If I had to do it over again, I would try to be more confident and trust my insticts. And I would realize that all I really need to do is be a fixer. Not a procurer of gadgets and gew gaws.

As they get older, the fixing gets a little trickier. Because as our children gain sentience, the problems become less about fixing stuff, and more about fixing them. But you can't put a band-aid on a broken heart, and you can't disarm a bully with a song. I wish I could say it gets easier as they get older, but I'm afraid that it gets immeasureably harder.

There are times that I've been completely at a loss, and it's not a feeling I relish. Because I, like many Moms, tend to quatify my worth by my success or failure as a Mother. Whether this is wise or healthy is entirely irrelevent. It happens whether we wish it or not. It happens because whether we admit it or not, our children are extensions of ourselves. Their success or failure, their happiness or sadness, their goodness or badness...we own it all. Even the stuff we can't do anything about.

My Diminutive One in particular, has challenged everything I ever thought about myself as a mother. And in many ways I feel that we have both grown and evolved on this journey. I have learned to accept certain things rather than striving to change that which is beyond my control. I have learned that he is not me, and his struggles are not always due to my shortcomings as a mother.

But even after almost 9 years of parenting him, I have difficulty not being dragged down by waves of guilt when I can't fix something.

Diminutive One has been seeing a therapist for about 4 months now. She has been a godsend to both of us. For me, she is an outlet for my frustration and feelings of impotence. For Diminutive One, she is a sympathetic ear, one not distracted by the cares and concerns of raising a family, running a household, navigating life. For an hour, she is his and his alone.

And yet, the behaviors which led us to her door are escalating, as are my frustration, and his demoralization.

From the beginning, I have told myself that I don't need an answer. I don't need a label. I don't need a diagnosis. I just need some help. And yet I wondered...if a diagnosis would be a good thing. Validation for me, salvation for him. So I yearned for it and dreaded it in equal measure.

At our weekly visit on Tuesday, I poured out all the frustration and sadness and concern and guilt that had built up over the course of two weeks. We had missed our appointment the week before, and both of us sorely missed it.

This week, I did something I had never done before...I cried in her office. I cried because I just want him to be happy, and he isn't. I cried because I just want him to be normal, and he isn't. I cried because I just want to enjoy him and I don't. I cried because I just want to be a good mother, and I'm not.

It was then that she told me, in her kind and motherly way, that we need to look at our options. She told me he is broken. And I can't fix it. She told me there is a disorder, two, actually, and she told me he needs drug therapy.

I don't know whether to jump for joy or sink down into the depths of despair.

My baby is broken. And I can't fix it. And the guilt is crushing me.

But why do I feel guilty? Well, why do any of us feel guilty? It's because, as a dear friend told me recently, we grew them inside of us. We gave them blood and oxygen and nourishment and we can't help but be convinced that something we did is responsible. Perhaps we drank a glass of wine that night two weeks before we found out we were pregnant. Maybe we took an aspirin forgetting, thinking only about the pain. Maybe we had kinky sex, maybe we saw a black cat, maybe we looked cross-eyed at somebody on a Tuesday.

Ridiculous, we know. But also inescapable. It is in our emotional make-up, perhaps in our genes.

I know that this is not the end of the world. I know giving my child medication is nothing to be ashamed of. I know I should be grateful that his problem, which once had no name and no solution, is now well researched and treatable. I know that he will now have a chance to reach his full potential and be happy.

I know all that in my head. But in my heart it still feels like I failed him.

So what do I do now......

I think I put aside my guilt and sadness and I do what needs to be done. I go on, and I don't let him see how much it saddens me that he needs a pill to be normal.

And why am I sharing this with you? Well, maybe one day, you will find that the fixing is not so easy any more. Maybe you will find that the key to your child's happiness, health and maybe even sanity, are beyond your power to grant. Maybe you already have.

And maybe, you will need somebody to say...it's not your fault. It's not the end of the world. It's going to be okay.

And it is.

He is only as broken as I let him be. He is only broken if I don't find someone, anyone to fix him. It doesn't have to be me. It doesn't have to be you. Fixed is fixed and fixed he will be.

You're not alone. Remember that.

15 Comments:

  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    I have no words. But I'm going to tuck this away for a day in my life that I know is coming. I'm wishing for you and DO stamina to slog through this whatever it is and sunnier skies ahead.

     
  • At 1:44 PM, Blogger Natalie said…

    I don't have any presonal experience with what you are going through. My younger sister recently realized she needed meds and, for some reason I felt similarly. I always wanted to protect and care for her and I couldn't help in this case. I know a little sister is nothing like a child but I just wanted to thank you for sharing this with us.

     
  • At 2:03 PM, Blogger In the Trenches of Mommyhood said…

    I don't know you, but I want you to know that I look up to you...for your words of wisdom and advice to me, a mommy of three little boys who will be "there" (where you are now) someday.

     
  • At 2:05 PM, Blogger Oh, The Joys said…

    BA,
    Know that your worry and willingness to do whatever you can -- and to find people or solutions to do the things you can't--make you the best mom in the world.

    Go easy on yourself if you can. You're giving 200% and even though it doesn't feel like it, I am certain that it is more than good enough - it is the best.

    xo,
    OTJ

     
  • At 3:16 PM, Anonymous flybunny said…

    Did you write this for me?

    Seriously, I have been where you are now, crying because there were many many days that I did not like my daughter and wondering if something I did or didn't do when she was a baby that caused her to be the way she is.

    It took me 3 years and countless boxes of kleenex's and therapy for myself to come to terms with she is who she is and she needed medication to become the person she is destined to be.

    Today, she has been on meds for almsot a year and well, things are good, not great but good and a heck of a lot better than they were. Her school work is better and her self esteem has improved beyond my expectations.

    And I am happier and I enjoy being with her - it is not the chore it used to be and I am so thankful that she was able to be fixed.

    Please know that there is someone out in blogland who is with you -all the way!

     
  • At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Kvetch said…

    You do know I have been there, don't you? When there is something "wrong" that we can't fix, all I can say is power to the parent who reaches to the depths of their heart, soul and resources and remembers it's not about them, it's about the child. You didn't do anything to him - but you are doing something for him. Bravo, B.A., bravo.

     
  • At 7:23 PM, Blogger Graham said…

    I wish I had words as eloquent as yours to give back to you. All I can say is thank you for your post, and if it's any consolation, I think you provide a lot of comfort to many others going through similar challenges. It's a cliche, but none of us ever arrive at a place called "perfect" -- it's a journey, and thank you thank you for your courage in talking about your bumps on the road. It's more than I've been able to do.

     
  • At 7:42 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I understand...and yet I don't, or can't, having not been there, and yet my heart aches for you. This post proves what kind of mother you are, and your son is lucky to have you in his corner.

     
  • At 8:08 PM, Blogger Her Bad Mother said…

    Oh, friend. I can't say that I know how you feel, because I don't, but I can say that I think, often, of what this *might* feel like, because I fear it. Anticipate it. So I'm earmarking your words - broken is only broken so far as we allow for the breakage. Fixed is fixed. Whole is whole, either way.

     
  • At 10:38 PM, Blogger Six Green Zebras said…

    Brought tears to my eyes. You know my story, and I know yours - I'm glad we're able to have each other as we take this crazy journey called motherhood! As always - wonderful words, so well said, wish I hadn't felt them myself.

     
  • At 10:58 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Wow. I'm only dealing with minor 'toddlerish' issues but these words make such an impact. I blame myself for SO MUCH of their behavior. Mommy guilt. I hope your new plan brings you much relief and happiness in your home.

     
  • At 11:01 PM, Blogger Kirdy said…

    Hm.........that friend of yours is wise. I wish I knew her.

    Thanks for writing this today. We had a tough day ourselves in some ways, so it was nice to not feel so alone.

     
  • At 4:41 PM, Blogger Rock the Cradle said…

    You are an amazing woman. DO is lucky to have you for a mother. I'm so glad you are both fighting your way through this. It sounds incredibly heart-wrenchingly difficult.
    Hell. I KNOW it is.

    Massive hugs your way.

     
  • At 8:55 PM, Blogger bubandpie said…

    It's such an awful feeling, that sinking of the heart when you know that things aren't right with your child.

    I think with something like this, the hardest part is now - just before it starts to get better.

     
  • At 10:49 AM, Anonymous www.nolanotes.com said…

    This is my first day reading your blog. Wow. Powerful stuff. I have used that word, too, "broken," to describe myself. Aren't we all broken? But you did the best for him. You have a lot of courage. DO is very lucky you are his mother. Thanks for sharing.

     

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