Yesterday, New Years Day, I was not feeling so well but my attention was drawn to dealing with paper clutter that had been accumulating. I tackled recipe clippings I’ve been keeping, pages torn from catalogs for gift ideas, and notes in binders from old classes. As I was going through my binder I came across a letter I had written and was stopped in my tracks. I saw something that I didn’t think I had, something I thought I had burned or at least shredded and tossed away. I had to take a minute because seeing it shot me back in time three years. It is something that I talk about with my clients and with the people who take my parenting tele-classes because it was THAT HUGE for me. It was a letter I wrote to my son, not to be given to him or for him to ever see, but for me to be honest with myself, to hear and release what I was truly feeling so I could move on and find some sense of peace and joy in the chaos that was parenting a child with special needs. It is something quite sacred that made a huge difference for me in my journey as my son’s mother.
Dear ****** I need to write this to you to let you know how sorry I am that you are not developing on the normal scale. You are the most wonderful and happy little guy and have no idea how much I worry and think about how you are going to be when you get older. The great thing about you is that you have your things that you worry about but for the most part you just love doing your thing.
I feel that there is never a time for me to be sad about the fact that you are doing things on your own schedule. It kills me when I hear other people talking about what kids are supposed to be doing when you can’t do it. I have never let myself feel sad about this yet know that I can’t get past this sadness to help you without just feeling the badness, the anger, the jealousy, the frustration, the uncertainty, the fear, the tiresome repetition to every new person about the fact that you are different. It is sad but I can never talk about that sadness or my anger without wanting to cry or say that it’s not fair when I see people with lots of kids not experiencing this pain.
This feels so selfish but I need to do this so I can be a better mom for you. I just need to feel these intense, real feelings so I can move on to feel different things. They’ve been living inside of me for so long and with every new thing that I hear people say about you, I have to push it down so I don’t cry in public. Like Martha Beck says, you have to deal with the pain and sadness just as a guest and when they leave they make way for new and different feelings while learning something from them.
I am sorry that I am not a very good mom sometimes. I don’t use my time wisely and leave you to entertain yourself while I busy myself. I busy myself because at times it’s too hard to deal with the intense feelings that are there, waiting to be felt, but I will try harder to be present with you and to be with you so you know how much I love you.
I share this with you because if you relate to this, I want you to know that I’ve been there. I share this because if we met today you may not believe that I have felt this. I share this because this is one thing that was standing in my way of getting to where I am today. I share this because it is one thing that I was afraid to let myself do.
I was afraid to admit what I was feeling. I was afraid that I’d get stuck in the grief and anger. I was afraid it would mean that I wasn’t strong and that if anyone found out they’d think I was weak. I was afraid of what it meant for me to feel these things as a mother.
Fear, plain and simple. Fear that was trying to keep me safe, protecting me from the pain I felt at parenting not being what I expected. There was something in me that knew I had to do it because honestly it was just too exhausting to keep stuffing those feelings down…and I’m so glad I did. I survived and it was like the gateway to the other side, the side of possibility, hope, acceptance, relief.
If you read this and relate, I can help you. This is not a plea or scheme to drum up business. If you knew me at all you would know this is the truth. It is me, Margaret, reaching out to you, saying that I can help. Who better than someone who has been there, who won’t be surprised, who won’t shame you or tell you that it could be worse? Who better than someone YOU can relate to, laugh with, cry with and be honest with?
My mission is to help parents who are feeling or have felt the way I felt in this letter. I can provide tools and strategies to help these parents experience more peace and allow for more joy in their lives just as I have learned to do in my own life. I “live it to give it” (a phrase I learned from my mentor Martha Beck) each and every day which is why I have so much to share. This is where I’ve gotten to, a place I could only dream of just three years ago, a place I thought was only for people with typical children. Allow yourself to drop the fear for just a second and imagine what is out there waiting for you!!!!! I’m excited for you!
Again, I want you to know you are not alone. Sending you a great big mama bear hug for whatever you are going through in your own journey.