I had always known how difficult raising children would be and I knew that raising them alone would be even more difficult. My ability to plan helped with the logistics but children require so much more than a logistical task master. They need a person to talk to. Some one to teach them what life is about. They need more than food, clothes, and shelter. Children need to be loved. Loved and parented so that they can grow, live, and pass that love on to the next generation. Sounds simple but I wasn’t raised that way. I did’t feel that I possed enough love for myself, so there was definitely not enougy to be pass on to the next generation. What I knew of love was based on movies and TV shows. I made do with what I had and thought myself to be a well-adjusted loving person. I was not. Learning about love in such an external way never really teaches you the art of connection. Connecting to another human is what we all are designed to do, the desire for it is sewn into our DNA. I could learn how I was supposed to “act” as a daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother from shows and movies, but how does one “act” connected? Connection was that missing part that I didn’t know was missing. Looking in the faces of my children I realized that I had been “acting”, playing the part, I had the leading role of the good mother. To actually BE a good mother would require vulnerability and connection. Two things I knew nothing about. So not long after that question Q asked, I was ready to throw in the towel. I was unfit. I was not properly trained. Q and Ty deserved something far better that the mess I was capable of giving.
I allowed myself this personal pity party for a full weekend. I beat myself up pretty bad over those couple of days, my inner voice trotted out all the standard stories from my past and my unworthiness. I felt myself sinking into the singularity. For a moment I almost surrendered to the weight of it all. Thinking that they would be better off without me, that I was going to pass on what I had received and mess them up worse than I was. I know people close to me will be surprised to read these words. I seemed to have it together, I “acted” like everything was fine, but in reality I was a wreck. That Sunday morning as I lay in bed feeling sorry for myself my sassy inner voice started talking trash. She laughed and said “Bitch you are CRAAAAAZY!!! If you don’t get yo sad didn’t nobody love me ass up out this damn bed!” “ So what? So fucking what? Are you going to just lay there feeling sorry for your dumb ass self or are you going to do something to change it?” my response was I don’t know what to do. Her rebuttal was swift and stinging, “Bitch you stupid, stupid and simple! I don’t hang around stupid or simple bitches! So you have a choice to make and it has to be made now. You can get your weak ass up and come with me and do the work or I will leave you here forever in a perpetual state bull shit that will drift into perpetuity.”
I was crying inside, I wanted to call someone anyone and have them tell me what steps to take and how to do it. I would take all the notes, I would study really hard, and I would pass the test! But there was no one to call and deep down I knew that I had already failed. I had failed at being this idea, I had failed at being the ideal sister, wife, mother. The gears started turning and I asked myself “who am I? What do you want? What do you need?” The thoughts and questions I had were not about my children. They were not about what I needed to do for someone else all of my thoughts were about ME. When I realized this a brief wave of guilt hit me. I was supposed to be trying to figure out how to be a better mom for my kids and here I am thinking about what I wanted and needed. My inner self tried to mush me in the face, but she isn’t real so that didn’t work out. But her attempt reminded me of something I read. I didn’t remember the exact words but the gist was that you can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t give what you don’t have. You have to be the joy and then share that joy with others. With these thoughts swirling around my head I hopped up threw on some workout clothes and went for a hike. There are a couple of spots on the trail where I love to sit and reflect. Hiking isn’t a magic pill, at the end of the hike I still didn’t have all the answers. I had no ideas as to how I was gonna be a better mother, or if that was even possible. The only thing I came up with was to find MY own personal joy and to do my best. I really think that’s all that any of us can do, even though it is often hard to accept.
***Hiking centers me and quiets my mind. It also gives me an opportunity to pay attention to the beautiful details of nature. The moments while I am hiking have produced so many personal insights and growth that I cannot imagine my life without it. Some people go to church I go for a hike.