I hate the thought of my children having a mother that is chronically “sick.” I know, we all know, that it is NOT life-threatening but for day-to-day life, my illnesses have brought me nothing but pain, both physical and emotional. I was healthy and fine in all but the last three years but I am not sure if my children, now 15 and 17, remember that. They know what is happening now and they know what they remember from the recent past. It breaks my heart, literally, to have them be the one whose “mom is always sleeping” or “not feeling good.”
They joke sometimes about the things my husband has had to take over that I originated. To me, this is not a joke but it is heartbreaking. What about the years from 1-13 when I did everything for them? It makes me want to cry. Now they know their Dad makes them lunches at night and greets them in the early morning. Even my “Mommy’s Famous Cheese Sauce” became “Daddy’s Cheese Sauce.” It is NOT a joke for me, nor will it ever be, I find no humor in my own personal failings.
I want to be the mother that is there for them for everything. I was so greatly looking forward to college visits with my son and daughter and now don’t know if I can make it. We are supposed to go to relatives for Passover and I do not know if my body can physically take the 6 plus car drive down there. I do not know how to prioritize MY health for the emotional well-being of my children. They come first, always and forever. They need to know that NOTHING to me is as important as they are.
Will my absences be excused? There are only so many times that children can forgive and understand reason; at some point we are all children wanting our mothers to be there for us, no matter what. For every mother is a daughter that wants her mom to be there for her without excuses, physical or emotional.
For a woman who wanted nothing more than to be a good wife and mother, I find myself incredibly disappointed in myself. I am trying not to blame myself for my physical illness but I do. I understand that there are much worse things in life, and I am fortunate not to have to deal with them. But for me, my children’s lives come first and if I am not there at full capacity to guide them, to drive them, to go with them, than I feel that I am somehow disappointing them.
I want to be the one to drive my daughter to Payless for new ballet flats. I want to sit by my son’s side as we visit the first potential college he may want to see. I do not want to be TOLD about these things later, I want to be there in the present.
What to do? There is nothing I can do but feel bad, for them, for my husband and for me; a woman whose only goal in life was to be a good wife, a good mother, not a sick one.
DEDICATED TO TIM AND JILLIAN