On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Golden Universe Awards

I like music. Lots of music, lots of different genres, lots of humming, swinging and hip swaying goes on behind closed doors. I was listening to Adele "19".  Her song Tired is about how love without a return is exhausting and really, not worth it. The song's lyrics resonated for me because Sissy has been ... Sissy with RADilicious flair. As we cruised down the street and I absorbed the message of the song, I wanted to scream and shout about how incredibly unfair it is to have chosen to parent and inadvertently ended up on this road in my life. The song ended and I was lost in my personal thoughts when WG shouted, "Oh man! The song's over. I like that song. It makes me want to dance."

Sure, dancing, yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking of doing too but I played nice and said, "You're right WG, that song has a great beat."

I'm hard on myself. I've said it before, I'm insane about overachieving. If I wasn't a mom, I'd be some super awesome career gal in whatever career I put my efforts into. That's just me, I won't make excuses for it, I won't rationalize it, I'm just going to be straight and let you know that I get a rise out of doing my absolute best in whatever I set my hands to. So when I overachieve in my parenting and I'm still faced with what looks like, acts like and sounds like failure because Sissy is always ... RADilicious Sissy, I assume it's me. Then I make it worse by looking around at other mommies and berate myself  See, that mommy over there has twice as man kids with even worse impairments and she's doing great OR if insurance is stepping Sissy's therapy down because the IFI team reported that she doesn't need as much therapy then I must be doing something wrong because I'm still struggling. I leap to the same conclusion every time, no matter where I start in my convoluted thinking: I'm not cut out for this, I'm not good at this, someone could and would do it better, this is too hard for me, I'm a failure, I'm failing my kids, I'm going to be the reason they're all screwed up.  They're going to be in counseling until they're 40, blabbing to some therapist about all the horrible things I did or didn't do to them.

That's the back story, the subconscious runaway train of thought that rattles through my brain at ridiculous speeds every time Sissy is RADilicious (which lately has been a whole heck of a lot). So when I listened to the song, "Tired" I just wanted to say,
  "Damn. I AM tired of all this! I'm tired of never being recognized for the hard job I do every day. I'm tired of being shouted at and screamed at and treated like crap every day when I am nauseatingly nice, patient, kind and loving. When I am doing ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING the therapy team tells me to and I still have to report to them that their ideas don't help. I'm tired of working so hard every single second, literally from the second my eyes are open to the last second before I drift off to sleep to take two steps backward in Sissy's progress. I'm tired, I'm just so friggin' tired of it all! No human can be treated so poorly every day without being brought to the brink!  For crying out loud, MOVIE STARS get praise and attention, big fancy parties, ginormous houses, gargantuan vacations for making a FRIGGIN' MOVIE that doesn't even change lives and I'm busting my hump for what?  So Sissy can scream at me at 5 am, waking the whole house, because I'm telling her to wipe her butt after toileting?"

Right about the time WG told me she liked the song because it had a good beat, I was being struck by a nugget of wisdom. THIS is unconditional love. This: what moms of challenged kids do every single day.  It's hard, exhausting work that makes me want to walk away from it but I can't.  I can't because I'm doing that which God calls us to, to love unconditionally as He loves us. Right here, right now, I'm doing it.

Can I just tell you, it sucks?

Then I thought yeah, and Jesus pretty much agreed that dying on the cross SUCKED. He literally begged God to provide another way to save mankind, for crying out loud, he sweat drops of BLOOD. 

But he ponied up, didn't he?  Because that is the definition of unconditional love.

It FEELS like parenting challenged kids is like being asked to die. In essence, it is because as I said already, if I wasn't doing this, I'd be in some cool job with a salary and accolades and a nicer home and perks equal to my efforts. I've had to die to that. I have put myself last so much lately that I forget that I'm a person too, an individual that deserves praise, support, love, kindness and unconditional love in return.

Once upon a time I was a little girl that wanted to do exactly what God asked her to do with this life. In my naivety I didn't make conditions to my prayer, I didn't specify who, how, what, when or where. I just put myself out there and begged God to use me: my life, my talents and my time, to bring Him glory. Then I prayed for the wisdom of Solomon to help me do what He asked me to do. Then I set a course for my life that would put me on GOD's path.

Now that I'm here, I think I want to change my mind. Dear God, can't I be a missionary in South Africa instead? A chaplain for the navy? A Methodist minister? A pastoral counselor? Isn't there something ELSE? ANYTHING?

I'll end with a modified quote from our beloved Corey's most recent post (Corey, we love you. Just sayin')

RAD sucks. A lot. And if [someone] is telling you about the horrible awful things that [her child] does to [her], please, please BELIEVE HER, for starters, because it is HARD for her to tell you. And do not BLAME [her], because it is NOT HER FAULT. She IS a good mother. [Her child] is just very ill, and [this woman] is doing the very best she can in a very difficult situation. And please do whatever you can to SUPPORT [her]. LISTEN to her. ASK her what she needs. RECOGNIZE that she is grieving.. no mother WANTS this kind of motherhood experience. This is PAINFUL.

[Do] not judge me for what I feel, or what I say. Sometimes what I feel and what I say is not pretty. Sometimes it is downright ugly. I am on the receiving end of downright ugly 99% of the time! It has to come out somewhere!
Thanks Corey for putting into words exactly what I needed to say today.  Here's hoping all of the challenged kids in the world get some insight into this crazy life and that all the mommies and daddies get some love and support, accolades and recognition for the incredibly difficult job we do every day to guide our children through their debilitating impairments. I'm expecting a party and awards ceremony 100,000,000x better than the best bash they throw for those absurd Hollywood divas.  And oh yes, I'm going to look GOOD in my gown when I walk down God's red carpet.  And my face is going to be on the cover of Saints magazine in heaven.

If nothing else, perhaps this post will help someone pray a more specific prayer about how they hope to live a life for God's glory.

Really.  Be specific.  That is to say, tell God you're NOT willing to do RADs for His glory.  Yeah.  That's a good start.  Because I don't want you to do it better than me and steal my award.  I'm not going for the nomination.  I want the Golden Universe award.  Cause I'm that kind of overachiever.  So please, tell God you're not up for the RADs challenge, tell Him you' can't handle the heat.  Beg to be a Methodist minister in a rural community.


GB's Mom said...

Sorry- You are going to have to share the Golden Universe Award with moms who have come before you, are by your side now, and will come after. You WON'T have to share it with any Methodist, Baptist, ect, ministers in rural America. You are doing a stupendous, fabulous job. God knows it. {{{Hugs}}}

Integrity Singer said...

GB's mom - OK, I'll concede. We can all be crowned with the Golden Universe Awards simultaneously but Saints magazine comes out biweekly so we'll all have to wait our turns to be on the cover. lol

Cyndi said...

None of us is REALLY cut out to do this job but since somebodies have messed these kids up someone has to at least try and clean up the mess and we are it. We are doing the best we can and that is all God would expect from us. Who cares about the rest of the world anyway. It would be nice if the RADishes could figure out that we really are busting our behinds for them though.

Corey said...

It's interesting, this question of unconditional love. Diana posted about it the other day.. and I thought.. DO I love without expecting anything in return? And I was angry (grieving), because I *want* something in return, and because I have been cheated by my child's disability out of that love. Yet I get up in the morning and I keep doing this job, like it or not. But I also often feel trapped and hopeless and resentful, because there is no return from the child, there is often judgment and/or persecution from outsiders, and I am physically/emotionally/financially spent 99% of the time.. and I don't see that it will get better.