Feeling like a used piñata this morning, I rolled out of bed and shuffled upstairs to the coffee maker. My joints were protesting as I settled in to my favorite rocker and I tried not to let it get to me. Aches and pains are par for the course with fibro, and I’m acutely aware that even on my ‘bad’ days I don’t have it as hard as some I know. But the past week has been fairly rough, physically speaking, and I’m a tad bit overwhelmed with my to-do list as well. It was in this somewhat pitiful state that I lifted my hands and prayed a simple prayer. “Father, if You do see me, could you somehow let me know today?”
I actually wrote this piece several years ago. Today my son turns 20. Twenty. No longer a baby, no longer a boy scout, a dancer, or a teenager. He is really and truly a man, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
So take heart, my mama friends who struggle with kids who learn differently, kids who stretch you, who baffle you, who make you doubt your ability to do this momming gig. Our Father’s got them. And in His time, they will turn out to be far more than you dare to imagine…
Better Than I Imagined
My finger was bleeding. As I watched the crimson bead form on my fingertip I wished, not for the first time, that I was more skilled with a sewing needle. I reflexively put the injured digit in my mouth and looked down at the size 10 men’s ballet slipper resting in my lap. I had to get the elastics on before my son’s next lesson. Resuming my work, I smiled as I thought of all that had led to this rather surreal moment. My son, the ballerina?
My last nerve was exposed and raw, just waiting for a spark that would ignite it like the fuse on a stick of dynamite. When my daughter entered the room in tears, the match was lit.
We’ve been in the middle of rehearsals for a theatrical production and the choreography wasn’t turning out as she’d hoped. The grand visions in her head simply weren’t panning out in the sphere of reality and as a result, she felt stuck and unable to continue.
This sweet, smart, sensitive daughter of mine is my polar opposite in many ways. Most notably, she is emotionally expressive, while I am not. My daughter and I have a major disconnect in this area, and as I said, on this particular day I was already operating with the last nerve ready to be tweaked.
Dear Groovy Mama,
My eight year old son is challenging me on everything. When my husband and I give him the answer – he picks a fight with us. He won’t back off. I’m going crazy and I hate to say this, but I find myself arguing with him. Silly me. I’m arguing with a kid. I’m not winning either. –L.M.
I have a ‘negotiator’ for a son. When he was young, he would try to circumvent everything I told him in an attempt to control the situation. At a certain point, I realized I was arguing with him far too often. And you are absolutely right, no one can win when arguing with young, egocentric humans. It simply leaves you feeling crazy, frustrated, and defeated. But there is good news, my friend! My husband and I found victory over this behavior, and you can too.
At the risk of destroying all ‘good mama’ cred I may possess, I have to make a confession here. Being a mother did not come naturally to me. Feeling only a profound weariness at the birth of my firstborn, the first thing I wanted to do afterwards was eat. I was famished. The only tears I almost shed that day were for the hospital enchiladas they brought me. Never had institutional food tasted so good. Only after I had enjoyed my feast did I wonder where they’d taken my baby.
That stings to admit.
Dear Groovy Mama,
I know my teen is an introvert. How do I push him to engage in activities with others without pushing him too far out of his comfort zone? (Amy)
This is an excellent question, one I happen to have intimate experience with. Out of the six people in my family, four of us are seriously introverted. A couple of us also deal with social anxiety. More about that in a moment.
Glancing at the woman to my left, I smiled. Her arms were full of warm, rumpled toddlers, two little girls who were obviously exhausted from a long day at the Magic Kingdom. The tiny princess closest to me clutched her glowing star-wand and shifted to get comfortable. The bus gently swayed, rocking the girls into a fitful rest on the journey to our resort.