In Defense of Crazy

I'm just going to go out on a limb here: some of you probably think we're a little crazy.

Come on--I know you do. It's okay.

You might think it's a little crazy that we chose to raise children who don't share our genes (others of you might have been relieved). Yes, I know that you tend to use words like "admirable" or "great" or "amazing" when you talk to us about it, but I know too that deep down, there's at least teeny-tiny part of you that thinks the whole thing is just a little odd.

That's totally okay. I get it. I'm not offended. I might have some of the same thoughts if the shoe were on the other foot.

And, in one sense, you're completely right.

It IS crazy that we have the life we do. It feels crazy to talk to our children about their 'other' parents. It's crazy that I have had to learn my boys' developmental and medical histories, instead of just living them. I wasn't there the moment they were born. I didn't nurse them. I didn't give them their first (or last) bottle. I didn't change their first...or second...or even hundredth diaper. I didn't see them cut their first teeth. I didn't see them take their first steps. I have no idea what they got for their first birthdays, or if they even celebrated a first birthday.

And I have no idea what they really endured those first few months and years of their lives.

I don't know how it would feel to be torn from MY family of origin, to grow up without the stories around the dining room table--you know, those fun reminiscing stores that start with, "I remember when you were just 6 months old, and..." because I DON'T remember. I wasn't there. I can't tell my kids those stories. And that does smack a little of crazy.

But that is okay, because I am here now. I know what they got for their last four birthdays (well...sort of...some of it is a little bit of a blur). And I know when they lost (or will lose) their first tooth. And I was at their bedside on the nights they cried out from a bad dream. I've seen them both learn to ride a bike, and I was there the first time they fell off their bike and scraped their knees. And I can remember the first time they called me Mommy, and the first time they prayed before bed, and the first time they said, "I love you."

It IS crazy that I don't know everything that happened before I met my boys. It feels crazy sometimes that we've been at this for more than four years now, and some days (like today) we still feel like we're at square one...and other days (like yesterday) it just feels like a totally normal life.

It's also crazy to look back and see how far we've come. And it's crazy to look ahead and see how far we still have to go. It's crazy how quickly I forget that my kids are recovering from trauma and how long that really takes and how unfairly I treat them when I forget that and expect them to handle their emotions better than I do in the heat of the moment.

But all of that is okay too, because it is simply the reality of our life. It's full of paradox: happiness and sadness, trust and fear, progress and setbacks, healing and hurt, gain and loss, love and...well you know. It has become our normal, and I have been learning to accept that.
This is me working on acceptance.
Awhile ago we experienced the loss of a supportive relationship in our life. We came to a place where we didn't see eye-to-eye with someone else when it came to how we're raising our boys, and we had to choose our boys over the relationship. Unfortunately, it's a common experience among parents who are raising kids with some of the same challenges we have. It was really painful. It still is.

I share this because that, too, is crazy. It's messed up because as parents, the thing we (Nick and I...but really ALL parents) need the most is love, support, and understanding--or at least an attempt at understanding--from the people in our lives. It's crazy because, again, paradoxically, because of those extra challenges we have, those relationships are the ones that get the most strained and are the most at risk of damage or loss.

On the one hand, I totally get it. How can I expect someone to look in at my life and REALLY understand what I'm going through every day? On the other hand, why CAN'T I expect trust and love from them, even when they don't understand?

And on the third hand, it just really sucks.

(Pause for deep breath.)

What I have been learning through this experience is that it really does take a village to raise a child. None of us can go it alone. Experiencing a loss like this really forced it to the forefront for me though, so over the past year and a half or so I have been slowly and deliberately forming a village around me: finding support online through social media (who knew!?), learning new techniques from caring professionals, attending conferences for parents like me, reading and researching everything I can whenever I can grab a few quick seconds on topics like childhood trauma, therapeutic parenting, mental illness, child development, regular parenting (whatever that is), discipline, mindfulness, self care, experiences from other parents in similar shoes (especially this amazing parent and this other amazing parent)...and so on and so forth...ad nauseum.

And it's helping.

Because I know that if I'm not taking care of myself by getting the support I need, I'm not going to be very good at rolling with the crazy.

And it's SO much more enjoyable to roll with it than it is to fight against it.

TRUST ME. I've tried.


Comments

  1. This is really beautiful and real, Kassie. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete

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