How much guilt can one person really carry? My everyday emotion seems to be guilt, whether its questioning what I did wrong for my son to be born with a life limiting condition, that his older brother doesn’t deserve such a stressful chaotic childhood, or that I decided to have another child, who is now a very difficult demanding toddler who I don’t seem to have time for.
My eldest son is 8 years old, he is an absolute credit to me (most of the time, when he isn’t having a teenage strop). He’s very polite, smart, intelligent, loving and caring and adores his younger brother, who was born with a life limiting condition. A condition which is so rare that no Doctor has ever heard of it and I end up educating the professionals at every single appointment and meeting.
He is almost 6 years old. He is beautiful, complicated, non-mobile, non-verbal with a whole host of medical issues. He is my reason for fighting on every day – but also my reason for living with constant guilt, worry and the reason I drink and swear too much!
My darling little girl who is almost 3 is beautiful, intelligent and a terrible handful. She is bossy, impatient and very demanding. She also has a beautiful soul and I worry every day that I don’t give her the time and attention a toddler needs and craves. I am sure some of her behaviour stems from the fact that when I have ruined her morning by giving her a red cup rather than a pink one, or her toast is cut into triangles rather than squares, she simply doesn’t understand that when her brothers feed pump is beeping for some unknown complicated error code or that we have been up all night trying to work out why he has cried non-stop and he can’t tell us why, that I simply find her tantrums and dramas too much to handle at that moment in time.
I live each day with the mantra “laugh or I will cry”, and spend most days laughing through gritted teeth and simply trying to ensure everyone is fed, watered and still alive by bedtime.
That precious time when I can pack all three darlings off to bed and I can fall into the sofa and try to work out the successes of the day – when actually all I can do is relive the arguments, dramas, what I didn’t achieve and set myself an action plan of “must do better tomorrow”. Which of course, I know is impossible, as this seems to be my normal.
The panic to get everyone up, washed, dressed, fed, packed off to school, nursery, etc in between stopping the biggest and smallest children from killing each other and ensuring there is no jam stuck to the carpet today!!
My daughter goes off to nursery for 2 days per week and I honestly cannot wait for her to start full time nursery in September. But then the guilt hits me square in the face like a brick.
I should cherish these moments of her being an innocent toddler, her funny little questions about why does her nose feel crusty and comments about why the man next to us has a big fat tummy.
If only my beautiful complicated little boy could speak and spread food into the furniture, would I complain then? Would I be wishing his childhood away so that he could be in school 5 days per week just so I could make sense of MY day? I would love for him to run off in the middle of a shop and hide under the clothes rails while I am frantically searching for him, would I feel so embarrassed if HE could do this?
I thank my lucky stars that I was blessed with 2 happy, healthy children and adore the very bones of them, but find myself frustrated with their accomplishments, because I know my other son can never achieve such wonderful goals, even if it is just to scribble on a piece of paper and say “look mummy its you with your messy hair”.
I have to stop and remind myself that I have three wonderful children and they each come with their own complications, whether it be physical, learning, behaviour or attitude. None of us are perfect and to embrace our differences, no matter how extreme they may be.