It’s “C”‘s Turn!

open bookIn keeping with my “super proud mommy” theme these next few days, today’s post is dedicated to “C”.  “C” is my second born and my only daughter.  It’s not her birthday but there is plenty to celebrate!  I gave “C” the heads up that this post was coming today.  She said she wasn’t worried about what I might write.  “My life is an open book”, she said.  While I don’t plan to take advantage of the privilege she granted me with that statement, I will walk that fine line between her privacy and getting downright personal.  The more you understand about the struggle, the more you’ll see what an exceptional woman she has become.

I was still a single mom when “C” came into the world by C-section.  I couldn’t wait for her to be born.  I was so impatient; I even jumped rope to bring on labor.  It was a really stupid thing to do, as I didn’t have a clue about the dangers of doing that at the time, but it worked.  She was my tiniest baby, the only one that came in under the 9 lb. mark on the scale.

I hate to say, “C” didn’t have a very happy babyhood.  She was born with severe food allergies and even what I was eating while I was pregnant had been affecting her.  Yes, as rare as it is, she was even allergic to breast milk.  It took several months, lots of tummy aches, infections, poopy diapers and crying by both of us, to pin point all the things that were making her sick.  It was very evident from the beginning, that even though “C” was far from being able to talk, “C” had a voice and she wasn’t afraid to use it.

It’s a complicated story leading up to my pregnancy with “C”.  I’ve shared some of my soap opera drama in previous posts and I’m sure OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmore will unfold in the months to come.  Let’s just say, I was really good at weaving a very tangled web.  I guess the more appropriate descriptive word for me would be “stupid”.  What I will share now is that “C” never knew her biological father.  It was my decision for it to be that way.  I had to protect her.  Her biological father was, well… let’s just keep things nice here and say he wasn’t right in his head.  Aside from the fact that he was an addict, alcoholic, a pervert and abusive, he would have been the one who would have done more harm to her than anyone else in her life.  He wanted to have a baby girl, because he wanted to show her what love really was.  The thing is, he didn’t know what love really was.  All he knew was the perversion of love and my little girl didn’t deserve that.  No little girl does.

I did remarry after “C” was born.  She adored that man.  She, like every little girl, wanted that “daddy shaped hole” in her heart to be filled.  Unfortunately, that man was also an abuser.  She was too young to understand or remember when I ended the baby hand with fathermarriage.  All she understood was that the “daddy shaped hole” was empty now and for some reason, I had taken it from her.  Once again, we see how the effects of abuse have a far reaching effect on my children.

In spite of “C” not having the proper loving father image in the early years of her life, her inner strength and tenacity continued to grow and thrive.  “C” acted like a grown up from the early toddler days.  She was the one in control, even in her play with her baby dolls.  She wasn’t satisfied with wearing her own clothes and shoes.  She wanted to wear the clothes and shoes of a big girl, so what was mine became hers, so she thought.  I can still picture her in my mind wearing my bras upside down.

When “C” was eight years old, I remarried for the third time and I’m happy to say that one lasted!  Two more children followed and “C” liked to play mommy.  She will be the first to tell you that she got to babysit her brothers more often than she would have liked, but she did like playing grown up.  Like she did as a baby, she never hesitated to use her voice when it came to telling me what I was doing wrong or what I should be doing with her brothers.  You always knew what she was thinking and where she stood on matters regarding raising kids.

She’s a mommy now with a beautiful teenage daughter of her own.  “C” is a wonderful mommy!  She stays very connected to her daughter.  They spend time talking often and about everything.  It’s the way I wish is would have been between her and I.  I have great respect for her for this ability.  What caused me to shut down emotionally seems to have caused her to flourish.

“C” has continued to deal with challenges in her adult years, but she’s remained that strong woman and you will hear her roar when she flower blossomwants to be heard.   She has been lied to and cheated on and life just hasn’t always been fair, but she hasn’t backed down, nor has she let any circumstance get in her way.  She’s continued to stand strong, continued to be sensitive, expressive and nurturing, continued to blossom.  Best part of it all is that she has continued to love me.

You just have to know, I’m proud of you “C”!  I’m proud to be your mom!  And I love you with all of my heart!

 

#NaBloPoMo

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What About the Parents???

I hope you aren’t expecting a light hearted, carefree, easy going or humorous post today, because that’s not what I’m feeling.  I am not even sure of the direction that this will take, but I’ve had some thoughts stirring that needed to come out on paper, so here we go.

I am a parent.  It’s one of the roles that many often dream about even when they are very young.  I was one of those dreamers.  I remember at a very young age pretending to be a mommy to my baby dolls.  I couldn’t wait to go to Kmart to spend my allowance on things for my fake babies.  I was so good at parenting as a five year old.  It was so easy!  I just knew that I would grow up to be the best mommy in the whole wide world.  Three kids, two boys and a girl to be specific, a husband, house and a van, that was my big dream!  What I ended up with was four kids, three boys and a girl to be specific, three husbands (not all at the same time), a few houses over the years and several cars, which included the van.  But what happened to the most important part of the dream, being the best mommy in the whole wide world?  Well, it just wasn’t as easy as I imagined it would be.

My big thought today is, “What about the parents?”   Many very disturbing events have made the news recently.  I don’t think that you can find a corner anywhere in the world, that news of the shootings in Tucson, Colorado and Wisconsin hasn’t touched.  Of course, we think about the victims first, then the actual shooters themselves and then the parents.  I can’t help but try to imagine myself in the parent’s shoes on these occasions.  How devastating it would be for a parent!  To find out that one of your own children, that once innocent baby that you held in your arms, had committed such a horrendous, senseless act.   It’s simply unimaginable!  My heart is broken, not only for the parents of the victims, but the parents of the shooters, as well.

I’m thinking of the mom who posted on Facebook this morning.  Today is her daughter’s birthday and it was a year ago today that she hugged her daughter for the last time before she went to prison on drug charges.  How my heart hurts for her and her daughter.

I’m thinking of the single mom who lost her child to a drug overdose and my heart hurts.  I’m thinking of the parents who lost their bipolar child to suicide.  Many had passed judgment on these parents for their children’s behavior during the short years of their lives.

I’m thinking of the struggles between children and parents that I’ve witnessed in an office complex where I once worked.  The children were often very loud and aggressive and those working in the complex were put off by the behavior and registered complaints with the complex management.  Insensitive signs were even hung in the common restrooms by someone who thought the kid situation needed to be addressed.  Did the person who hung the signs not know that these children were visiting the complex for therapy because they were autistic?  Yes, my heart hurts for these parents too, and their children.  So many scenarios we could talk about, all heartbreaking.

Many are quick to jump on the parents and point fingers.  Certainly the parents have done something wrong in their parenting that caused their child’s behavior, or addiction or suicide.  Is that fair?  Why are we so quick to place ourselves in the role of judge and jury and pass sentence on parents?  It happens all of the time.  Who hasn’t been in a grocery store or a restaurant and seen someone’s child act in a ridiculous, unbecoming way and we’ve thought or maybe even said, “They need to do something with their child”, or “If I were those parents, I would (fill in the blank)”.

Granted, parents do make mistakes and I am not saying that all parents are innocent and haven’t had a role in how a child turned out.  I’m not talking about parents who are abusive or are alcoholics, addicts, criminals or horrible examples here.   I’m talking about parents who do all they can to raise their children in the best way they know how.  None of us have our parenting skills 100% perfected.  We all have flaws of some kind.  Go ahead and admit it mom and dad.  You’ll feel better.  That perfect super parent cape is a heavy weight that will keep you from flying anywhere, so take it off!  Easier said than done, right!  Expectations are high for parents and as a result, we often carry a huge amount of guilt.

It’s easy for those who have not had children or who have had perfect children to make flippant comments about or even to other parents.  Yes, I am speaking from experience here.  Before I had my perfect kids, I knew exactly how to be a perfect parent and I’m sure I passed judgment on someone along the way.  But now I know the flip side.   I can still remember comments regarding my parenting that were made to me over the years that were so insensitive and hurtful.  You see, I didn’t have the perfect kids that you did.  How would you judge me if I told you that I had raised an addict, an alcoholic, a criminal, a child with mental illness or all of the above?  Certainly, you would wonder about my child’s upbringing.  You might even want to dissect my parenting ability or debate about parenting styles.  You might even consider unfriending me on Facebook.  Was my child’s behavior my fault???

Of course, I know that I’m exposing my own feelings of guilt here.  Every parent who hasn’t had perfect kids feels guilt, sometimes massive amounts of guilt.  I’ve worked on resolving my own guilt issues and I’m not here to debate what was or wasn’t my fault.  I’m addressing two groups of people here.

To group number one, the group that still has not had children or that never will, and the parents of perfection; to you I say, give us imperfect parents a break!  Ease up a little.  Have some sensitivity and compassion.  If you haven’t walked in another parent’s shoes, please don’t be so quick to throw stones.  There is no “Super Parent” cape, so if you think you’ve been wearing one, you’ve just been running around naked or sporting some really ugly spandex.

To the group of parents who have known the heartbreak of your children not growing up and following the beautiful dreams that you’ve envisioned for them; to you I say you’re not alone.  It’s not all your fault.  It’s time to let go of the guilt and if you can’t do that, then get help.  You deserve that for yourself.  And for any mistakes you did make, there is forgiveness here.  You deserve to be free to fly!

This world can be a cold, dark and lonely place.  Parents need lots of support during the hard times.  When you see a parent friend having a really difficult time, don’t pull away because the situation looks to overwhelming.  When the going gets tough, instead of pointing fingers, extend a hand.   Get involved in being a part of the solution and consider it an investment in your own future, because it is.  Even if you don’t have the answers, you can still be available to stand with and for your friend.  You’ve heard it said and I do
believe that it truly does take a village to raise a child.