Tuesday, April 2, 2013

trying for a new normal

Yesterday was a perfect day. The sun was shining, the kids were cute, the husband came home early. We played, we worked in the garden, and when the sun went down we ordered Thai takeout. But all those were just a bonus. The real perfection in the day was that it was normal. The kids were mostly cooperative, I was able to head off most tantrums (and able to patiently handle the ones we couldn't avoid), and for a day I caught a glimpse of beautiful normalcy.

And it made me feel sad.

I remember when days like yesterday were the norm for me rather than a pleasant and fleeting moment. I have been floundering for so long that I had forgotten what it felt like to enjoy mothering, and that made me sad. There was a time when my life was pure joy, mothering was pure joy. Most days were mundane but wonderful. I was so blissfully happy to be at home with my baby, enjoying the perfection in a normal day.

For a long time now though I haven't enjoyed mothering. Parenting a child like Squeak is hard work, and most days the hard work overshadows the moments of joy. I've felt this way for a few years but have only recently begun to accept and acknowledge it out loud. I don't have a diagnosis for Squeak (that's for another entry) but I finally acknowledge that he is atypical, and I am overwhelmed most of the time.

I chide myself for struggling so much when things could be so, so much worse. In terms of "atypical-ness," we got off pretty easy. No physical disabilities, no mental disabilities. Just a few emotional ones. Why can't I be grateful for what I have? Why can't I get it together and deal with it gracefully like so many moms who have it harder do?

I mourn for the life I feel I should have had with a typical child. I mourn for the children I wanted to have but never will because I'm beyond my limit. I mourn for the days that should be blissfully normal, and I mourn for the mothering experience I should be having.

But I also rejoice because in spite of it all, even though I am not enjoying mothering lately, I am enjoying my children. I love them so wholly and immensely. Even while I doubt myself, and I struggle to get through each day, I thank God that I have these two amazing souls with whom to spend my days. Even in the midst of the worst, most tumultuous storm, my love for them never wanes. And it gets me through the days.

And I hope it will be enough.

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