Friday, April 5, 2013

Why I Have to be a Great Mom.

Trying to get a picture with the
new "light hat".  D insisted on
pushing the camera button
and picking the filter. Took a few
tries, but we had fun and what else
matters??  Nothing else matters.

I’ve written many times before about the scrutiny applied to adoptive parents, and I’ve expressed how, even though I know it’s necessary, it is hard to take sometimes.  It’s so invasive, and every area of your life is investigated to make sure you are good enough.  John and I used to joke that we don’t look good on paper.  Divorces.  Abuse in our families.  John was arrested twice, both of which were dismissed within 24 hours, but one of those was for domestic violence.  An argument with a girlfriend led to a revengeful call to the police, which led to an arrest.  And a subsequent breakup…. And the list goes on.  It doesn’t look good when you’re trying to prove you’d be amazing parents!  But, interestingly enough, these are the things that have pushed us both to have the desire to be amazing parents.  I won’t speak for John, except to say that his growing up with an incredibly abusive father and then living with a single mom on welfare certainly has its lasting repercussions.  I will speak to my experience, and how it has pushed me to try to be the best mom.

I experienced the divorce of my parents and the breakup of our family when I was eleven.  A couple of years later, my mother remarried a man who turned out to be a psychopath.  Most people associate that word with a dangerous killer, but it’s really a personality type and is much more common than just in headline criminals.  My stepfather is/was one.  He still is, but he’s not my stepfather anymore.  I won’t go into all the details—that’s a story for another time.  Suffice it to say, he had an impact on me—on all of us.  He was destructive and manipulative.  He could be charming and he could be scary.  I know now that he was a coward, but in the moment, you don’t always know that, and you don’t know if this will be the time he will snap and do something much more drastic than you thought he was capable of.  I felt very out of control, and I think there are lasting effects from that still with me today.  He could be so cruel, and then the next morning would be joking around.  And, when you are young, that is just so confusing.  I have continued to have dreams over the years of being attacked and never being able to defend myself.  I freeze.  I can’t scream.  I can’t fight back.  It’s awful.  I was never attacked physically by him, but I think that feeling of being out of control has stayed with me.  We had confrontations—screaming, yelling, struggling over things, I did get shoved to the ground once but that wasn’t as bad as having gasoline thrown on me.  And he was a smoker, so I knew there was a lighter in his pocket.

Anyway, I will stop there.  My point in sharing this is that I have never wanted my children to feel the fear or neglect or insecurities that I felt.  Every day I work so hard to make sure that D knows how much I love him.  I hug him and tell him how sweet and handsome and smart and strong he is.  I look him in the eyes and tell him these things all day every day.  I try to not seem frustrated to be parenting him, because I want him to know that I love being his mom.  I never want him to feel that he is a burden.  When he is grown, I know he won’t remember a lot of his childhood, but I want him to remember how much I loved him and how much I loved being with him.  That is my goal.  It is what I work for every day.  It means more to me than most will know, without knowing the whole story.  If I can do this one thing, then I will have been a good mom.

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