Today I'm going to break the cardinal rule of "good mommies" everywhere. I'm going to share one of those moments in mommy hood that no one sees.. so we all pretend they don't happen. You know the times where your voice turns into some dragon like sound or you just scream GO TO YOUR ROOMS MOMMY IS GOING TO LOSE IT! Just me? It's okay, denial is not just a river. ;) It's the moments behind closed doors that we are just flawed human beings and we just can't use our Mary Poppins voice to ask "please make wise choices" one more time through a crap-eating grin like we have to do at Chick-fil-a or Publix, or anywhere else the judger-Mc-judgersons are watching.
I set up the story a bit, well because if not, I just sound like a witch. I caught whatever sickness my kid had last week. It's two days of vomiting and other nonmentionables where you can eat nothing. I'm 20 weeks pregnant so that was my worst nightmare. Not to mention my stomach was contracting in between sessions of nausea in a dry-heave type of way. Got the visual? You're welcome. Basically Hell on Earth. I'm sure of it. A pregnant lady who can't eat a thing and yaks up her entire insides all the while having contractions while not being in labor. Yup. The devil himself created those conditions.
So fast forward to where I lose my "Mommy of the year" nomination. This was the first morning this week that I woke up without feeling like death, and somehow it looked like my house had turned into a war zone. As I got the kiddos ready and out the door, I already had my days missions and check list and food I was going to eat on my mind. The last thing I yelled as I grabbed my keys and phone was, "Sienna, throw on your jacket and grab your backpack. Then get it in the car. Hurry! You have enrichment before school!" We make it to school at 7:47.. two minutes late to enrichment but that's like basically on time if you know me well, so I considered it a victory.
"Okay, take off your seat belt, grab your bag, get ready to tuck and roll.." Okay, I'm kidding about the tuck and roll but these safety patrols at carline are no joke. They are all sorts of rushing and it makes me nervous so we have to get ready for the dismount. (Welcome to my children's world. They have a mother who is afraid of 5th grade safety patrols. How did I even qualify for this position?) The look of fear comes over my daughter's face. She repeatedly looks around in the same spots over and over again to avoid eye contact with me and to seem busy... like her backpack was going to magically appear in our car the second time around.
That's when I did it. I rang her a new one. "How could you forget your backpack?! I said GRAB YOUR BACKPACK! I have so much to do Sienna!? Do you know some girls your age have to fold laundry and clean and help their mommy so much and I just asked your to get your own back pack!" I cry as I type what I remember saying, because immune to it in my fit of rage.. I can clearly see her face now as I remember. Sad, lonely, afraid, feeling like she's not enough, and unloved. "Now I have to go all the way home and grab it and come all the way back! You always want Mommy to do more for you! It's never enough!" Then she said nothing. and I said nothing. The dang short and stumpy dark-haired kid opened the door with a grin... "Good Morning!" he said as his words cut through the harsh tension that flooded out of my car. He quickly looked down and just shut the door. I let my sweet girl get out of the "safety" of our car into the big wide world to start her day without a kiss and a goodbye. My heart breaks. Instant shame. Instant grief.
I wasn't even out of the school parking lot when I thought about why what just happened, happened. I do that all the time, I dissect things. On a deeper level, always. It's a blessing, and a curse. My response to my girl immediately reflected back to me, and really had nothing to do with her. So often my "issues" with my kids are direct reflections of how I feel.
The last two days had been horrible. I was bathing kids in between hugging the toilet. I was making breakfast in between being curled in a ball on the bathroom floor. I know you're thinking... stop whining! But even as a mom you think... someone save me! PS: don't grow up. It's a trap. The days of hours in bed with gatorade and chicken noodle soup and cartoons when you're sick... ARE OVER! But deeper than that.. ever since I was younger I've had this pressure to have the mentality of handle it all yourself! Whether those around me intentionally or subconciously meant to.. the vibe I got from the world was, "you don't need help. you need to deal with it." It's funny because I come from a line of STRONG women. They've been dealt hands in life that you JUST CAN'T IMAGINE. And they pride themselves on not needing a dang thing from anyone else. They tough it out. They conquer and kick butt and take names. Man that's a lot of pressure to live up to.
Maybe I'm more sensitive, or maybe I've had the revelation that each one of them and us as women can only handle this life on our own for so long before it catches up to us. This whole week I've cried as I repeatedly thought all of the lies... "where's my help?" "I'm so unloved" "I just want to be important to somebody!" I envied other people that I could remember who have others "swoop in and save the day" when they have a paper cut. Here I am again, in a childlike state... "you don't need help. you need to deal with it."
I looked in the rearview mirror at myself. My little girl self and saw eyes that said, "Sad, lonely, afraid, feeling like she's not enough, and unloved." I had been screaming to my little girl the exact harsh words I felt the world telling me. The last two days, my whole life, in all the hard times. I'm regurgitating and repeating the cycle that if she needs help, it's a burden. That I am conditionally here for her and there's a limit to what I will do for her. Do I want my little girl to be independent and strong and courageous and responsible? Yes. But more importantly I want her to be secure in knowing I've got her back. That the world is tough and strong enough without her being tough too. She can be vulnerable, and soft, and sensitive, and forgetful, and I will be there to help her.
So besides starting a therapy fund along with her college fund.. I came home to get her backpack. I wrote a note that said
I am so sorry that I got so frustrated that you forgot your backpack. Mistakes happen. It's okay. Mommy makes mistakes all the time. You are perfect and loved just the way you are. I love you.
Your biggest fan
Then I pinned it on the outside of her backpack and dropped it off in the office. I was intentional not to hide the note so she can see that we don't have to be ashamed of our mistakes. We just have to own up to them. I'm praying she forgives me. I know it won't be the last time. I'll have plenty of apologizing in my future to my sweet little girl and the little girl that looks back at me in the mirror...
Just in case no one has ever said it to you....
Dear BELOVED jacked-up child of God,
You are perfect just the way you are.
Mistakes happen. It's okay. You're forgiven.
The pressures of this world are hard and scary and overbearing.
You are not alone.
You deserve help.
If there's not a helping hand to reach out to because people are self consumed and sometimes
just oblivious to your need (maybe they even asked but you're still used to the generic
"Awww thanks but I'm okay" answer....
REACH OUT TO ME. Cast your worries on me.
Tell me all about them. I'll listen. I'll lighten your load.
My yoke (dunno what the means? Me either. Let's translate: it's the wooden piece on the back of two oxen's back to keep them together while in the field. AKA: the weight on your shoulders!)
MY BURDENS are easy. Let's trade.
If no one's ever told you... Tell yourself in the mirror,
"You are loved. You are important to the creator of the stars"
Let me help you. I love you....
So much love.
(I hate to speak for God. BUT I'm pretty sure he'd say that)