Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Only Thing Harder Than Being Me is Being Them

I've heard it said that a mother is only ever doing as well as her most troubled child.

Speaking from my own experience I find this an altogether accurate statement. As in, one gazillion percent true. 

Moms, do we not we ache in our kids' defeats, triumph in their victories? When it comes to our children, more than anyone else gracing the face of the planet Earth, we realize full well what it is to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. 

Our heart strings naturally tether themselves to these other beings of ours, wrapping tightly around their very selves. In spirit, we go wherever they go. We feel whatever they feel. Along with them, we taste the fresh awe and novelty of brand new experiences. We soak up the vibrancy of life as we watch them move about with wonder. What was once black and white, escalates, rises, becomes vivid color. Any sting and bitterness and disappointment life may serve them, it serves us too.    

Joining a club with the ranks of All Mothers Everywhere, we bear the wounds of not only our own children, but those born to other women as well. Bad news of the suffering of a child, any child, penetrates our hearts. Our empathy grows boundlessly. When that mother hurts, we hurt for her. 

It's such a beautiful thing, really. The lovliness of God's design for the capacity of a woman to nurture other creatures is about the most tender thing we bear witness to.

But when you have a child that is deeply wounded, this kind of care can take a major toll. Lugging the lofty burdens of another can be exhausting labor. Particularly when you have a child who acts out with attempts to make you experience their pain.

What I'm slowly coming to understand is that especially with my adopted kids, I can't really shoulder the responsibility of their heartache. Not fully. I can not entirely carry the weight of their ill fortune on my own. It's not my fault, what happened to them. I'm an easy target for the blame, because I'm present, but I'm not where credit lies.

This level of codependency where I'm only as okay as they are doesn't work for me. It doesn't work in our family unit. Not long term, anyway. I have to keep myself pretty okay almost all of the time. Coming undone isn't really an option. Not for more than a while anyway. 

Life goes on. Lots of people are counting on me, looking to me, relying on me to set the tone of every day of our lives. Cracking up under the pressure isn't a viable choice for me. 

This magnificant family life Bobby and I have forged together will pass me by if I wallow in the depths of grief over the unfairness of it all for too long.

So, I must carve very real space for some personal boundaries. A place for me to be okay, even living in the midst of those who may not be. Even if those who aren't okay are my children. Lines have to be drawn. I can not allow myself to be sucked into the trauma drama vortex and remain there. It just isn't wise or safe or best for myself and my family. I know this for sure.

I'm learning how to step out of the whirlwind and still maintain great compassion for from whence these precious children have come. Because this one thing is undoubtedly true: I know I am deeply loved. I have no question that I'm valued. I belong. I have purpose and passion and vision for my life. I am known well, yet considered wonderful to my people. And that's not always the case for them. They don't necessarily hold the same truths I claim for my own. It's not their narrative just yet.  

I believe what Christine Moers says. In this situation, the only thing being harder than me is being them. 

So, I'll be right over here. Working to hold my boundaries firm while loving them fiercely. 

1 comment:

Courtney said...

you inspire me. i'm halfway there...finally letting go of the responsibility of their trauma on my own shoulders...but struggling to find the compassion i know i need to have...

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