Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jealousy, Resentment or Reality?

I want to establish this in your mind before I begin sharing: my husband is a generous man. Whether it’s a stranger or a family member, he will offer assistance when needed. Sometimes money; sometimes muscles.  And he's been known to bring home flowers on a Tuesday just because he loves me. I drive a car that keeps me & my kids safe in any weather. I've been showered with my fair share of bling.

Recently, as a gift, a girlfriends husband gave her a week away at a beach-house with her girlfriend.
At the beach.
With a girlfriend.
With no children.
For a week. All pre-arranged as a surprise for her.

I can hardly fathom the concept.
Jealousy rises ferociously in my heart.
Not because this friends husband set the bar so high, it’s simply that this is gift is so far out of my reach, there is no use longing for it.
But I do.   I long for it to the point of silent tears flowing across my cheek.
Its something I’ve wished for, hoped for, for quite some time.  Eons before her husband handed her this gift, my heart had craved time alone at the beach.
Yet, maybe I'm not so jealous as I am a bit angry and resentful.

The fact is, I have a little boy with a list of medical and neurological disabilities, and I’m not sure my family would survive if I were gone more than 36 hours.
I don't know what it's like to go away - - to leave and actually leave my responsibilities behind.
My sons disability is my life.
He is dependent on me in ways that go beyond the Webster defined meaning of codependency and attachment.
Oh, I have tried to remove myself for a couple days: I've gone to a women's retreat for a weekend and left my son. Something always goes terribly wrong. And the reaction it causes in my son continues for days, sometimes weeks, after I return.

My generous, wonderful husband and I have been planning on going to Greece to celebrate our milestone anniversary. We've planned and saved, bought guidebooks & maps, pinned ideas and hoped with anticipation.
The reality is setting in: I left dear son for two nights with hubby a few months past and all hell broke loose with our dearly loved & trusted respite care provider. It was no fault of hers. It was all the little guys doing.
I left for 1 night last month and the backlash was horrendous at home and at school.
If I can’t leave my city, how can we possibly go to Greece???

This is a struggle for me.
 This is a part of motherhood not mentioned in scripture or parenting books.
This goes beyond the normal motherhood lack-of-sleep, tired, always putting-yourself-last-for-the-sake-of-your-children syndrome.
Raising a child with special needs requires far more.
And to be honest, there are days when I just don't have it in my selfish human nature.

Do I want to get away by myself for an entire week of writing, meditating, reading? Oh my! Absolutely! I can't even fathom the idea.

Do I want to be with my husband  on an island in Greece with zero (0) children, no phones and no work?
Yes! A thousand times yes!

The reality is this: it’s not my season in life. And the harsher truth is this: it may NEVER be my season in life, where my son is concerned.

I wrestle with my selfish sinful heart daily. Ok, let's be honest...  if I don't spend time with God on a regular basis, I'm not worth anything to my family who so desperately needs me.

My child needs me in ways that my friends family will never depend on her.  He needs me in ways that I will never, ever be able to communicate to my girlfriends. 

For now, for this day, for this moment… holding my sons small hand and guiding him through life is my calling. And if I look into his eyes and remember that his life is a gift to me, that he is an eternal soul who needs my love and wisdom, who desperately needs me to be his external brain… then the jealousy will melt away like the snow falling out my window.

Still, I'm not giving up all hope that one day the white sand and blue oceans of Greece may be mine.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Mothers Theology

I love driving my youngest anywhere because he sits in his car seat and sings songs he has made up. He sings about whatever is on his mind, creating his own little melodies, singing usually off key, but oh so content.  The songs are always from his heart so I’ve learned to just listen quietly without correcting or commenting until he is finished.

On a dreary still-winter, not-quite-spring morning as we drove to school his musical composition began with the long sad walk down the Via Dolorosa, how the mean people put Jesus on a cross and stuck him with a spear, how a lady named Mary came to see him (pause, right mom, her name was Mary?), how the angel Gabrielle came and said don’t be sad the Holy Spirit took him away, then Gabrielle (that's not a typo - - he INSISTS the angel is a girl!) left and went to another Mary and told her to name her baby Jesus but they went to the town and everyone was closed so they found that place with hay and made a bed for her baby, then Joseph went to Egypt where the Pharaoh was mean and made the people slaves but the momma put the baby in the basket and the princess saved him and he grew up and went and saw the bush on fire and God said “TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES, THIS IS HOLY GROUND” so he did and he heard God say I AM. So he took off his shoes and went and saved the people and they came to the sea and Moses put out his hand and the sea opened and the people went across but the chariots drowned but the people complained. And God was mad. And the  people complained again and its so sad.

And…. then we pulled into the school parking lot and I had to interrupt him. Granted, his chronology was quite out of sync, but his knowledge was right on track.  Before we said our morning drop-off prayer, I made a point of telling him how proud I was of him singing from his heart what he knows about Jesus, and I prayed for him to share his love of Jesus with his friends so they could have Jesus live in their heart someday.

All the while he sang his composition, my heart rejoiced that he is singing about Jesus.

Now remember, all of this took place in the course of 10 minutes. 

As I dropped them at school, in the solitude of the car, the Holy Spirit quietly encouraged me with these thoughts:  my children are listening, my children are learning, my children pick up their theology from me. Their theology is whatever I live for them. Be encouraged as a mom: the years of reading Bible adventures, of repeating Catechism with them, of memorizing Scripture, of praying for them….it is not in vain. 

Do not fret over new diagnosis from doctors, do not grow weary over hours spent in therapist offices. Do not grow tired over the never ending pile of laundry and the dirty floors. Keep on training even when it appears that all they do is fight and whine and need attention. No, they have not kneeled down by their bed and asked Jesus into their heart, but they are soaking up my theology daily. I am laying a foundation for them that all the gates of hell cannot shake.  Do not be discouraged dear mother, take hope and peace in the power of the Holy Spirit to move in their hearts, even at this young age.