A Hard Promise to Keep

28 01 2013

I woke up this morning after very little sleep and realized I had that feeling again. The feeling of wanting to just stick my head in the sand and pretend today wasn’t here. I immediately wished with all of my heart that it was last week and I was once again surrounded by the beauty of Yellowstone National Park in the winter. Surrounded by peace, and quiet – no civilization, no cell service, just beauty and the feeling that all is well in the world. Then I realized that isn’t reality, nor is it really where I want to be at all. Today will be a hard day, but it is also a blessing.

I will never forget the feeling of looking into all three of my babies faces for the first time. It is not really something one can put into words. I looked down into each of those beautiful faces in awe. I silently made a promise. I don’t really know if I was promising them or just promising myself, but I promised to protect them. I promised to be their buffer in the world. I guess it came down to the fact that I knew pain and I didn’t want them to have to feel it – ever. I think this is one reason that when my son came out it was hard for me. I knew this would be a reason for some people to target him, judge him, ridicule him.

It wasn’t too long before the promise became hard to keep. Illness and hospitalizations, a kid in the nursery bonks them over the head with a block, they begin to experience pain. I should have given up the promise then and come up with another way of seeing it, but I was blind to the bondage I was putting myself in. I now have two grown children and another who is halfway grown and I am just now wising up! Sometimes I am a slow learner.

My job was never to keep them from experiencing pain. All that did was make me feel like a bad mom, riddled with guilt. My job was to give them tools and resources  and ways to deal with the blows that come. Today is going to be a hard day for one of my kids. Today we will walk through something that none of us expected or have experienced. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it in the end. You see, it isn’t my life, it is my child’s life. They get to call the shots. It was also never my job to make their decisions for them or to control what they did. I should have learned that lesson a lot sooner as well. That would have helped me and them as well. I should have never been trying to control things, I should have just been giving tools and resources and letting them do the rest. That is called living and learning and it prepares us a whole heck of a lot more for life than having everything done for us. This also helps the transition in accepting a LGBT child. I laugh when I look back and think of the way I had created some scenario for how my kid’s lives would turn out – like that was EVER up to me anyway! I have my own life to live – this one is theirs.

To be honest, I do wish I could have protected my child from the pain that has led up to today. Because the truth is, when they hurt, we hurt. I must come to grips with the fact that I could not protect them. I had no way of knowing, none of us did. It is back to this simple equation: it is not my life to live, but theirs. I can just hope that I have given enough tools and resources and must let it go. I can not live their lives – they must do that.

My job now is to come and stand beside them in the joy and in the pain. I no longer have the role of provider and guardian. It can be very freeing for all of us really if we transition. The relationship changes, but that isn’t a bad thing. It can be a very good thing. It will never be OK with me to see my children hurting, but I know that it is called living. And they are all three doing a damn good job of it and I am one proud Mama!

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