I had a huge moment this afternoon where I totally broke down in front of both of my sons. As a mother the last thing I want to do is break down and expose any of my weaknesses or the fact that I am not immune to weakness in front of my kids. As a role model and an influence to my children, one of the last things I want to do is teach them the improper way to handle obstacles, hard-times, or rough-edged emotions. But I was stuck and it all flooded out and as a result I found pride and I was reminded of how tough kids can be without knowing it.
I’ve always had emotional issues but once I had a kid I learned different ways of hiding certain flaws in the schematics of my mind. I reminded myself constantly and consistently that life was no longer about me…or just me anyway. I tried very hard, though not always successfully, to hide any anger or sadness or irritation when handling my son. If he woke up earlier than I wanted I’d cuss all the way to the crib but I’d be smiling and using my ‘happy’ voice while picking him up and carrying him merrily into the rest of the apartment. I was always afraid of handing down my negative attitude, my pessimism, my cynicism, my whatever. It hasn’t don’t me much good to be any of those things, my son should not suffer the same fate.
My oldest son, Skas (I’ll call him that here), is seriously the most awesome kid I’ve ever met. He never really felt like he was mine even though he clearly is since I saw him come out of my vagina in the Dr.’s really large visor that reminded me of Uncle Jesse from Full House and his Spray Guard 2001. He has always been daddy’s little buddy and I never really stopped that from happening. It created a bit of a drift but he’s such a cool little dude that I really don’t care. I’m just very happy that I was blessed enough to help create him and have him. My youngest son is a baby still but he’s still awesome. He’s incredibly independent and headstrong (already) and risky. We have a huge gap between us that breaks my heart because I feel like my physical limitations hinder my ability to be the kind of mommy I want to be. I do what I can for him and with him but I really feel like I spend more time waiting for him to ‘be ready’ than I do anything else. I will explain him more in a later post…when I can handle that.
It’s not rare, but it’s not common, for me to be left alone with my youngest son, Boonshka. I don’t think it’s a word but it’s something I call him, Idk wtf is wrong with me. He just looks like a little fat Polak to me so I call him Boonshka. He is a very big boy and very difficult for me to handle since he still can’t walk on his own. I had to take risks to learn my limitations with him and I really hate doing that but how else can I learn? I still have no idea how to get him into his high chair so if I do happen to be alone with him during a snack or meal or juice time, he eats or drinks it on the couch or on the living room floor while I sit with him or near him.
Today I was left alone with both my boys. Skas is 5 and like I said awesome so I have no worries with him. He’s my helper and doesn’t fuss too much about it. Boonshka was sleeping, taking his second nap because he has been sick all day and cranky. My husband went out to the store for milk and whatever else we needed. Boonshka woke up earlier than expected and because of his fever and all around (I’m assuming, of course) icky, sweaty feeling, he was super cranky with big round tears on his cheeks and that crinkled chin with a big plump bottom lip just folded over onto his chin. He just wasn’t happy. My mommy switch for him isn’t dusty but it doesn’t get used often because I just can’t coddle him the way I want so my finger plays with the switch but ultimately leaves it alone because I know my husband will fill in. This time, however, I was alone. I had to get him out of the crib and I planned to sit with him and hug him on the couch if I could get him there.
This is a tricky maneuver though not one I haven’t made before. Normal people place two hands under the pits, lift and move on. I have one workable hand. Ok. Wrap one hand under the pits, around the back, lift carefully and steadily. Not easy. Mattress is all the way down, side all the way up (it doesn’t go down), and he’s a hefty booger. So I need to get him to stand but if he’s pitching a fit, crying and howling at me, he can’t hear me trying to calm him enough to let him know it’s cool, “mommy’s got this.” Skas is on his scooter and riding it in and out of the room behind me, around me, singing every word I’m trying to speak to Boonshka. He’s making the noise worse, in my head it is mayhem and I can’t focus on my bad leg. I am getting frustrated so I try for a quick lift, “Let’s get this over with, just do it.” I sling my arm around him under his arms and lift but I cannot feel my left leg, my left fingers are somehow wrapped around the bars of the crib and the baby is screaming in my ear and Skas is just scooting and singing. So I scream at him to “Sttttooooooop!” And of course, he stops and just quietly pushes his scooter out of the room. I hear his door click quietly shut. I hurt my son’s feelings because I was panicking but this thought was a flicker in the madness of my head. Boonshka was still screaming, my fingers were even tighter around the bars because I had yelled, creating tension in the reflex of my muscles, and the flesh around his eye was getting angry (did I mention his eye has been puffy all day?). I tried one last time to calm him, nothing. So I tried again to just yank him out but I get nervous every time I do that and my left body reacts in its usual way…with a rebellious strength I can’t control.
I felt it coming, as I have learned to do, and this time I couldn’t stop it. The gates opened and I put my head down and I drooled out my frustration with a tearful, broken sob that just contained everything I held back since my last breakdown about two or so weeks ago. Every time this happens it is the same, it takes weeks to rebuild the structures of my emotions so that I can contain myself in front of my kids. I guess I was still fragile from two weeks ago which was the worst breakdown I’ve had in about a year. I’m getting better at holding the stuff in until my husband and I can talk. But this was about me facing my limitations with my own child. I hate doing this. It is the hardest challenge of them all since my stroke and it is why I continually put it off. I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know, the heartbreak is so heavy.
My crying stopped Boonshka’s crying. He stared at me puzzled, his own tears pausing on his red and chubby cheeks. And then I felt this little pat on my left hip. I have no feeling there but I felt his hand there somehow. This little tiny hand attached to the boy I had just yelled at for no reason. He heard me crying and he came out of his room to comfort me. He didn’t say anything, just patted my hip and stood beside me while I cried about how unfair everything is for us. It’s so unfair….just so unfair.
I had to stop crying because I knew it wasn’t fair to let him see me this way and what had Boonshka been thinking? He had never seen me cry this close to him before. But Skas had…lots of times, too many times. Together, Skas and I got Boonshka out of the crib. We calmed him enough to stand and I was able to lift him out and set him down on the floor where Skas immediately began to distract him so I could go and clean my face and clear my thoughts.
I was challenged and I failed. My son has a heart of gold, a spirit that is kind beyond anything he’s ever seen or known. I don’t know where he gets it from but this kid is one of the three reasons that I am still here on this planet. The only other two are his brother and father. They keep me grounded though I can’t always say I’m focused. I lose my focus more often than I can keep it. But even when I am having a meltdown and I scare my husband into thinking he might have to have me committed, in the back of my mind I am always thinking of my kids and I know I will never desert them. They are my life.
I just really hate it when they see me fail. I’m not a very positive influence when it comes to handling any type of loss. I did apologize to them both even though only one could understand me. I told Skas that sometimes Mommy forgets she can do things if she keeps trying. He told me to practice always. I wish I could have his resilience, his positive outlook. I seriously need to work harder to not destroy that part of him.