My Gift to My Children

As a mother, my number one goal has always been to protect my children. I left their dad because I didn’t want  my kids to grow up thinking that it was okay to hurt someone that you are suppose to love. I’ve made it a point to not flaunt men in front of my kids because I didn’t want them to have a negative image of women. I also made sure to tell them that I loved them, that I was proud of them and that I thought they were the most beautiful human beings walking the planet everyday because I didn’t want them searching for it in other people.

I do these things because it was what I always wanted, from my own mother. It was the words that I thought would have made me stronger and less susceptible to the negative in the world. Parenting is trial and error really, there is no book or outline to tell you how to do it right. And even if you try as hard as you can, it doesn’t mean your kids will automatically be successful at life.

But what I have done is created two souls that have grown up to be intelligent, handsome and well mannered boys. And before I pat myself on the back, I have to tell you that with all the good I have tried to implant and nurture in my children. I have also given them my bad…

When I was younger I had a very negative self image. I constantly doubted my worth, questioned my intelligence and my looks. I didn’t feel smart or pretty, I suffered from depression. I spent a lot of time thinking about ending my life. I constantly put myself in unsafe situations and did things that I am not proud of in an effort to end my suffering.

But when I had my children, my life changed. It didn’t happen right away and it wasn’t that grand. But one day I made a conscious decision to live better for them. I wanted them to have a healthy outlook on life. I wanted them to see themselves, as I do; smart, strong and intelligent. I wanted to be sure that they knew their worth so that they wouldn’t roam this earth looking for acceptance and completion in someone else like I had.

But some things are out of my control. My children are both dealing with emotions and situations that are taken an emotional toll on them. My oldest son is dealing with a life change, he is having difficulty adjusting. I have spent his whole life telling him how handsome he is and now when he looks at himself, he sees something or someone that doesn’t exist. His mind has started to attack his way of thinking and I don’t know how to help him. He was once a child who didn’t worry about the thoughts and opinions of other people. Now he doesn’t like to leave the house. He walks with his head down, trying to disappear into the background. He can’t tell me what triggered this and I have no idea how to help him. We are doing vitamins and medications but at times, I don’t even recognize him.

He seems so unsure of himself and so lost. I am nervous to leave him alone for long periods of time. I hover when he’s at home, because I just don’t know. And I’m ashamed to share this struggle with people because I don’t want him to be looked at any different than the sweet, caring and giving person he is. And I never want him to think I’ve given up on him getting better with this.

And I wish it was all that happens in my house but I also have a teenager who has been battling depression for almost 8 years. It’s a type of depression I know very well because it is almost identical to what I dealt with as a child.  It happens suddenly and with no warning. It shuts you down, you can’t eat or sleep. And you just don’t feel like participating in life.

With the death of my dad a few years ago it has become so much worst. We have tried counseling and prayer, he doesn’t want to take medication and I am constantly worrying that I will come home to a “lifeless” teenager who couldn’t fight of his demons. He made a lot of progress with therapy but when his therapist relocated, he stopped wanting to go. He doesn’t want to see someone new but I’m not sure that is what’s best for him. But I don’t want to push him and he just shuts down on me.

It takes so much trust to open yourself up to a stranger about your inner most thoughts and fears. He blossomed with therapy, he learned to express his pain and feelings and it was so good for him. Now he’s just kind of floating through life. His grades fluctuate, he’s not really eating and I am so stressed out about him, I can’t focus.

This is my life now, I wake up every hour or so and I watch my children sleep. I go from room to room and I watch them. I make the dog watch them. And then I lock myself in the bathroom turn on the shower and I cry.

I cry a lot more lately, probably more than I have in my entire life.

I feel out of control, I can sit here and list all things that I am doing wrong; bills are behind because money is short. Money is short because I am unable to meet the basic needs for myself or my kids at this point. There is no outside help. My son is now a college freshman and without a grant from a state program we wouldn’t be able to afford him being in school. I work as much as any other single parent but I am overwhelmed. But I don’t care about all that. What concerns me is that I don’t know how to help my kids. It is the only thing I can think about, I obsess over them and how they are as any parent would I guess, because I am hurting too.

I’ve gained more weight in the last year then I have in the last 5. I sleep and I work, I don’t go out, some of my friends have stopped communicating with me and I don’t even have the energy to care or wonder why. My biggest fear is despite all the “sacrifices” that I thought I was making, my kids will still suffer the same fate as me.

My oldest is in his first relationship and although I see him opening up in way I wasn’t sure he would be able too, my fear now is how will he deal with this situation if it doesn’t work out? How will he cope? Will this be the one thing to push him over the edge?

I drowned my doubts and depression in alcohol. I exposed myself to things to help alter my mind to keep from living in reality; it was all I could do to cope. And now my fight is to not let them repeat my mistakes. And I’m not even sure I’m doing a good job at it. I’m struggling right now and all I can do is hold it in. I’m not good at hiding my emotions and it’s taking its toll on me and I feel guilty to say that because this isn’t about me.

This is about them. I’m not asking for sympathy, I just pray for guidance and a little grace for them. I pray for their hearts and their minds as well as their own personal growth. I made them strong and I just need them to see that. They are my matching set, the thought of being without either one of them or both scares me. I wouldn’t be able to go on. I couldn’t manage. So please bear with me, because my heart is open and it is pain. Have patience with me because this is a fight that I plan on winning. I invite you to take this journey with me or read along as I try to figure this out…I have to, there is too much at stake.

Thank you.

A mother on a mission.