Six days from now will mark the day, 21 years ago, that I was infected, hooked and yes, unsuspected addicted.
Here’s how it happened: Just about 19 years ago I was standing in a childhood friend’s living room. I was blessed with my second child in my belly and my first on my hip. I remember delivering a hand-made newborn’s garment to her. It was Janet’s request as the one gift she hand not received and she had remembered how my mother was talented in this venue. I remember Janet saying to me, “In high school you said you never wanted children… and now look at you… you are going to be the mother of two in just a little while?” My friend, a mother of one was shaking her head, smiling and had a bit of amazement filing her eyes.
I didn’t and still don’t remember saying I didn’t want kids, but heck-fire, in high school, like many of us gals, and guys too, I knew I was not ready to become a mom. At 18 I was not mature enough, did not know where I was headed in life and was afraid to even hold my niece or nephew for fear I would break them. As it was … I waited until I was 27, the age my parents’ stopped having kids, before I had my first and 32 when I had my last. I remember calling my dad to inform him I was pregnant, again, at 31 1/2. His response was not excitement it was: “Aren’t you a little old to be doing that?” I was a little surprised but I responded, “I always do things about the time yah’ll stopped doing them.”
But when I said that to my dad I had not realized my addiction was well underway. I was blind to my own addiction, as many addicts are, so it seems.
It was not until 14-years into my addiction that I began to see glimpses of it. But I was still blind to it. In denial, maybe, but reality is I could not see what it was from where I stood. Eighteen years in, though, I was without a doubt fully addicted and I knew it.
How scared I was. I was filled with anxiety as the source of my addiction was removed from my day to day life. Withdrawals, yes I was going through withdrawals. Oh the withdrawals! I longed for the sight, the sound or even the smell of it to help me through the day. I just knew that if I could smell something a kin to it I might, might, and I do mean might make it through the day. But a day did not go by without my body, my mind, my soul, every fiber of my being yearning for that which was missing from my life. That which I was addicted to.
I remember calling my mom; poor woman had to deal with me, her youngest, 2,200 miles away, on the phone, in tears, going through withdrawals.
“Momma, you lied to me!” I managed to say between sobs.
“How?” she was concerned she had lied – not a word I would usually use to describe my mother’s behaviors.
“You never told me I would be addicted to my kids! I need them in my life. I want them home. I can’t take this.”
“Oh honey, they will be back. They just need to prove to themselves that their father is not up to being a father,” I could hear her heart breaking with each word. It was only then, some 25 years after I had left home, that she admitted, “It was very difficult on me when you left.” The sadness that swelled in her heart was not hidden from her voice.
Days later, when my tears seemed to dry for a minute or two and some sanity was regained, I realized – addicted I was, addicted I am. I realized that no one ever told us, as we grew up, that becoming addicted to our kids was a possible side affect of pregnancy. Oh sure, they talked about “Empty Nest Syndrome” but they never told me I would be addicted.
It is said that admitting one is addicted is the first step to breaking the addiction. But I will not be going to rehab. I can’t help but beam with pride when I admit — my children are the addiction I don’t ever want to be cured of. Addicted I will stay with hopes of getting a sight of, a whiff of, or the smallest of touches from my children.
(c) by Kathleen Kline
Kathleen Kline is a mother, writer and editor (line by line and developmentally) for hire and quilter who has been blessed to share the love of many things, including motherhood, with her children. She can be reached at http:KathleensDragonflyDesk.WordPress.com and/or TheHandMaiden_Kathleen@hotmail.com