I do two hours of Trauma Informed Parenting classes every week. Sometimes it makes it hard for me to sleep. I get sad when confronted with so much suffering, and then my heart feels too heavy for getting in my comfy bed with a husband who does all he can for his family.
It is hard. I mourn.
But it never makes me regret my choice. If anything, it strengthens my resolve. I am only one very average person. But sometimes a very average person is all it takes. I cannot undo the things that have been done, even in my own daughter’s life. And I wish I could have done better for her. I see mistakes I have made and it truly hurts me to know I am not doing it perfectly.
Being a parent is really hard!
Suffering is uncomfortable!
But the more I do this whole thing, the more I realize how much of love comes from suffering. It sounds depressing, it really does, but, for me, at this point in my life, it is what it boils down to.
I cannot imagine love without suffering. Where would that ache in your heart come from if there was nothing to make it achy?
Doesn’t feeling pain when Jo comes home from school crying (kids were making fun of her haircut) mean there is love there?
Doesn’t watching JJ fall down a big hill and feeling my heart stutter mean I love him?
Doesn’t seeing the effects of trauma in Maybe’s behavior make me mourn I’m not more equipped to help her through, mean I love a girl legally not my own?
We had friends over a few nights ago and they were doing that thing where they’re like, “Uh! You guys! Stop being so cute! Stop being so in love! It’s depressing us!” And I was like, “I would just like to say, love doesn’t happen. It only works if you are willing to suffer together. The reason Jordan and I have a strong marriage is because we have stuck with each other through really bad times. That’s all it takes. You just have to stick with the suffering.”
Of course, after that, everyone looked at me like I was crazy. But it’s okay, because they’ve tasted my pies, so they’re not going anywhere.
And so, if these sleepless, long nights – these nights where I feel weighed down because I have spent two hours going through a systematic approach to a three-year-old girls’ heartbreaking abuse history – if these nights are what it takes to maintain the legal stamp of approval to keep loving my Maybe Baby, then I will do it.
Because I love her.
I love all my kids.
And so my suffering pales and fades, and I buck up and I put on my brave face and I prepare myself and them for how hard this world can be.
I’m a mom. I don’t get to back down. I don’t get to leave when things get too hard. I don’t get to write every novel that flies through my head.
Instead. I get to love. And therefore, I get to suffer. And tonight, I guess I just needed to remind myself that I am lucky. Because when I think about it, I wouldn’t rather be somewhere else doing more important things.
Screw society’s eye. I want to be here. Loving my kids. And advocating for that little girl’s life before social workers and lawyers and judges, before agencies that don’t even know what her middle name is.
It is 1 a.m. And I have shed tears for complete strangers. I have shed tears for children whose lives are used as case studies. And I have shed tears for my family.
And I am lucky.
I am lucky.
I am so so lucky.