What is the worst thing for you?
In the About Me, I mentioned that I have kids. I’ve purposely tried to not say much about my kids, even though they are such a huge part of me and my life.
The worst thing for me is when my kids get hurt, when my kids are hurting, or when I’m afraid they will be hurt.
Then how did I still let myself fall through the cracks, which meant I wouldn’t be the best mother to them? How did I think that somehow it would all be okay in the end? How did I let myself spend so much of my life tired and depressed, when that meant I wasn’t there for them in the ways they most needed a mother to be?
By the time I started to understand what passive aggressive was on the level of a personality disorder (not an occasional trait that most people can intermittently display in their lives), years had gone by. Many years. Many years gone by meant many years of enmeshment, chaos, instability, erosion, and an ungodly, unnatural kind of dependence. It meant I couldn’t (or didn’t see how I could) just wake up, pick up, and leave my marriage.
Awakening has been a slow process, laced with hope, riddled with confusion, and sometimes gutted by Life happening. It was recovery from a clinical depression, helping care for a terminally ill parent, a daughter getting married, another parent diagnosed with dementia, a grandchild being born, a son going to war, another parent dying, another son in a terrible accident, a sibling reacting and acting out, failing school and making poor choices, another child needing intensive tutoring because of dyslexia and the attention span you often find with gifted children, and the son in the accident struggling so much to reclaim and build a life with a traumatic brain injury. Life happens.
As I started to figure some things out, I looked at The Huge Mess (and that should be another post entirely) that the years of being down the rabbit hole had wreaked in my life and the lives of my kids. My kids with arguing, dysfunctional parents. The financial chaos and instability that touched almost every part of our lives. As I tried to write about before, he was never all bad. That would be so easy. He’s always also had much good. Some very good. Throughout the whole mess, there was love. I tried to describe this once in a story:
“As the oldest son, he’d seen the best and the worst of his parents… Maintaining relationship, he distanced himself emotionally from the familiar dysfunction of their family, from the crooked loving of the walking wounded.”
That’s what we’ve had here. Crooked loving in wild abundance. Walking wounded trying to navigate dysfunction, love that careens around the room or sometimes hides to protect itself. Kids looking to a mother with broken wings to learn to fly, and asking for love from a father whose heart was walled off from passion and vital connection.
Throughout the whole long messy journey, I’ve desperately wanted to do the right thing.