I am amazed, saddened and possibly even disgusted by the comments overheard by me, made by my own flesh and blood, that admit they like to see me struggle. I evaluate this and it seems this new crippled status of my children’s mother – albeit not a permanent thing, I hope – brings them some sense of joy. No wonder they refuse to help me, even go so far as to make it difficult for me to get around the house in a wheelchair … they like to see me struggle. I write this trying to calm my stomach as it begins to lurch within my core.
So I say to myself … and I know it is me because I recognize my own voice, “Self, maybe you were too resilient. Self, maybe you did not show enough strife when you were, in fact, struggling to cover the needs of your children. Self, did you make it look too easy?”
I reply back to myself, “Easy? No. I did not make life’s stumblings look easy. The moving here and there – 9 times in 3 years — was not easy during the stalking.” (Stalking that I am now told was not really stalking by my now 22-year-old.)
“Wait,” I remind myself, “the cops, judges and women’s shelters counselors thought differently and so did your oldest daughter when she was eight.” I do my best to remind myself that it was real. The convincing ramblings of the stalker to someone who has craved his love and attention for over 14 years does not change facts. Facts that she has forgotten and some she may well not even know about. I quietly accept it. Yes, we were stalked and I did my best to protect them.
“Wait until they learn that life, including parenting, does not come with a set-in-stone manual.”
I took what life threw at me and I, I, survived. After all, these struggles, they were not easy. But they had to be dealt with. I set my mind to – getting through life – long ago. The struggles, they were/are, in fact, surmountable. I thought that was what I was teaching my children. I did my best to not stay down on my knees each time I stumbled. And I did stumble. I thought they saw that. After all, they were there. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe it is just easier for them to forget, easier for them to alter history so it is easier to swallow.
“I didn’t try to hide the struggles from the kids, but they did say, once, years ago, ‘We had no idea we were poor.’ I guess I did a good job making sure they had everything they needed.”
I then ask myself, “Self, did you take care of so much, while the others in their life did not, that when the children accuse you of ‘falling short’ and take pleasure in seeing you in need that they are only striking out at the one who has tried to be there for them since before birth? Self, have you set the bar too high, too high because others have set their bars too low? Self, have you missed the mark merely because you are human?”
As I bow my head, allow the tears to fall, for a moment, but not much longer, I realize I have loved my trio to the best of my abilities. I am sure I have fallen short a multitude of times. I know I have only seen life through my eyes (not sure I can see it any other way) and I missed things. Yes, I will do my best to accept that I am only human and humans are fallible and therefore I will admit I have moments of failure. But moments of failure do not make a life of failure.
“I wish I had made better choices, self. Because the ripples in the pond, you know the ones I speak of … unwittingly marrying a fraud, having three beauties with him and all that has come after this has me bobbing my head in the wake of some of my decisions. So much that I wonder if I will drown in the sorrow of it all.”