I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?
I abandoned you when you were only 2 months old. I left you for a stay in the hospital. Mommy didn’t take her meds. Mommy didn’t visit her doctor. Mommy got sick.
I had to leave you at home, while I got better. I meant to be there for you. I meant to hug you and hold you and feed you and clean you and clothe you and comfort you and snuggle you. But I couldn’t. I wasn’t there.
I was stuck in a hospital bed. The night I was carried away, you were asleep. You didn’t hear Mommy’s screams. You didn’t see Mommy being put into the ambulance. You didn’t hear the ambulance pull out of the yard and take Mommy far from you.
You cried for Mommy’s milk. It was all you had known in your two little months of newborn-ness. Daddy warmed up bottles, carried you around, coaxed you to eat, comforted you to fall asleep. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help. I was in a psychiatric bed, pumping your milk with a manual pump, crying and sobbing because I couldn’t give it to you.
I am hurt by the time I have lost with you. Nothing will bring that time back to me, and now it is lost forever. Sometimes I fear that you have not forgiven me. Afraid you won’t ever forgive me for abandoning you at such a vulnerable time.
If I could go back and fix it, I would do it in a heartbeat. If I could rewind time, return to my pregnancy, fix my meds, visit my doctor, prevent everything that had happened that led me into a psychotic episode, I would. I would, but I can’t.
Ya Allah, please help me to accept it. Please help me to forgive.
As a mother, you do so much for your kids, but they won’t ever realize just how much. Yes, I received some acknowledgement on Mother’s Day (my son presented me with a poster he made at school – the teacher had written: “I love my mom because…” and he wrote: “she makes my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches”), and I am appreciative of all the hugs, kisses, and love I get from my boys, but at the same time, I just need a break.
I struggle daily with guilty thoughts – how I should be reading to them more, I should be taking them outside more, I should not yell so much, complain so much, argue. Even if I were the so-called “Perfect Mother,” there would still be something I’d feel bad about. I remember when my first son was born, I would visit my parents’ house and before I left after each trip there, my dad would follow me out to the care, hug me, and tell me that I’m doing a good job. I thrived on those moments through those first few years; it was all I had.
So today, I am going to make myself a list of the reasons I am proud of myself, in an effort to stop this cycle of guilt I twirl myself into so often.
1. If you fall asleep on the couch, I will carry you to bed so as not to wake you.
2. I will kiss every boo-boo and make the hurt go away.
3. I will stop doing dishes to get on my hands and knees and play monster with you.
4. I will remember that you will only be small for a short while and it will go by too fast so I better enjoy every minute of it.
5. I will make you brush your teeth every night. I will make you wash your hands before you eat. I will teach you how to pray before you put a bite of food into your mouth. I will tuck you in each and every night and make sure you feel safe.
6. I will take you to the store, to the park, to the gas station, to the library, to Grama’s house.
7. I will search the entire house up and down to find Leopard Kitty before you get in bed.
8. I will hug you tight no matter how old you are.
9. I will trust you.
10. I will listen to you.
11. I will thank God every day for bringing you to me.
12. I will let you go when it’s time.
I am proud of myself for committing myself to my children. It has not been easy, and I have struggled as every parent has. But all I hope for is that my sons turn out to be caring, helpful, positive young men, with the strength to stand up for others and to have confidence in themselves. That is what I pray for.