Post 8 - 1 in a million
I love my one and only child more than life itself. He is handsome and intelligent, and funny. He's thoughtful and sweet, and his moral compass points in the right direction. After 15 years of spending most weeks with me and weekends with his dad, he came to me on the last day of school last year and said he wanted to go to school where his dad lives. Talk about the physical manifestation of a person's heartbreaking. My amazing little boy standing in front of me told me he only wanted to spend every other weekend with me. What do you say to that?
My first reaction was simply "No," but I'm so glad that I didn't say it out loud. At the time, I wanted to take hold of my baby and never let go. I tried to maintain my composure. No one ever told me how hard it would be when becoming a parent. That once they are born, you no longer have control over this image of perfection that you helped create and that you will never again live a single day without worrying about them. Chandler showed me who I am. He brings out the best in me. He's taught me how easy it is to transition to mama bear when you sense your cub is in trouble. He has also taught me that our children are not us. They are just enough like us to butt heads, rebel, push our buttons, and stress us out.
I look at Chandler and think that even if I never do anything right again in my life, I did something right because he is incredible. The struggle in this situation wasn't Chandler. It was me. It is so easy to internalize something when it may or may not be about you. Sure, I'm hard on Chan because I love him, but I also have a once-in-a-lifetime relationship with him. I value the fact that he is growing up, and he wants to make his own decisions, and as long as those decisions still mean that he is safe and happy and healthy, I think I have to find a way to let him own it.
Unfortunately, they don't give you a "raising kids for dummies" book when you leave the hospital with your newborn, so we are just winging it over here, doing the best we can. On many occasions, I jokingly say that I'm not "mom of the year" material. Other people say it about me in not such a joking manner, and that's ok too. I'm not seeking anyone's approval. I know that I do the best I can. I know that my son knows how much I love him. I know that no matter what happens, no one will ever take my place because I am his mom.
I'll tell you what I do struggle with, though. I'm tired of losing the people that are closest to me. It used to seem like my family was so big. There were just so many of us. It doesn't feel that way anymore. I wish Chandler had the chance to know my mom the way that I did. I wish my brother were still here to teach him how to drive, just like he taught me. I hate that my sister doesn't get to watch him grow up. I hate that his memories of her will continue to fade because he can't make new ones with her. Sadly, he won't experience family reunions at the lake like I did growing up because I no longer feel like we belong there.
There are no bad days, only challenging moments. This too shall pass, and the sun will be beautiful again. Sometimes I think we have to slow down and take life one moment at a time. Every struggle looks a little easier after a good night's rest. I'm banking on that today.