Monday, October 24, 2011

Being Enough Mother, Being Enough Daughter, Being Enough Me

I have felt for a while now that living my life is (more than) a little bit like being on the rack: pulled in opposing directions most all the time.

Sometimes I feel stretchy, like Gumby and that I can handle it; snap right back into shape once the tension lets up. Other days I feel more fragile, afraid parts of me are starting to break off, hoping that starfish-like I can regenerate new limbs as needed.

The forces in action are both ones that I have chosen and those that have been chosen for me.

I have an elderly, widowed mother, who grows more frail of body and mind with each passing month.

My children at nine are nearing an age when normally there would be a big push toward independence. But of course nothing in our lives is normal or typical, for I have one son on the autism spectrum and the other is high maintenance - very bright with a touch of ADD, which, just to spice things up I have realized I have, too.

While this is the pot that is nearly always simmering on my stove, what had brought it all to an over-boil lately is my mother's recent hospitalization that began with a day and night of fun and games in the emergency room.

There had been a bad fall. Bones were broken. Mistakes were made in the hospital that took her from bad to worse. Recovery is glacial. Although my mother is now out of the hospital and in a rehab unit, she needs me still, every day in every way.

As do my children.

One day, sitting by my mother's bedside in the hospital, waiting for her to awaken, confused, in yet another room, I started to write a blogpost that never got finished and has now, of course, lost its timeliness. I would like to share the beginning here though, as it embodies this state I find myself in...

5 Beds in 5 Days, and very little time in my own.

No, this is not THAT sort of post, the fun kind of post with this title I might have written had there been blogs and I been blogging in my 20's. Sorry, folks.

This is, instead, about my mother, still in the hospital, and me feeling hard pressed to be adequately useful to her and to my children these days. And my husband, poor man, I am all but completely useless to him right now; he is pretty much fending for himself until all this insanity dies down.

And then there is me.



So there it is in a nutshell. No matter what I do I cannot do all that needs doing - for my children, for my mother, for my husband and for myself.

I am just one person.

And so, at this crossroads I have a choice. I can tear myself up feeling inadequate, feeling like I am always less than I need to be, that I can't get anything right.

Or, I can recognize the impossibilities inherent to this situation and simply choose to forgive myself, decide that I do not have to be..

the perfect mother...

the perfect daughter...

the perfect wife (husband is doing spit take at the notion of this I'm sure).

There is no perfect me.

Except, of course, for me.

The me that I just am.


Enough mother (my kids know that I love them)

Enough daughter (my mother looks at me with grateful, tear-shining eyes, every moment we are together)

Enough wife (well, I'm working on this one, my dear husband has gotten the short end of the me-stick for a while now)

Enough me.

Someday one of these pressures will ease up a bit.

Until then, I'm just going to have to make do with the rack.

(And how I wish I lived in a Monty-Pythonian universe and was being tortured instead with the soft cushions and the comfy chair.)

I am linking this post up to Be Enough Me Mondays over at the wonderful Just. Be. Enough.

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