Motherhood has been a life saver for me. It literally has saved my life. It gave me a reason to live, when there was none other. It brought a warm glow to a heart, left bruised and bleeding, by life circumstances and by relationships. It showed me the gifts that lay dormant in me. It brought up to the surface the gems of perseverance through the very long night of the soul. It taught me that love is unconditional by its very nature. Anything else, is affection at best perhaps, even a deep fondness..but not love.
It is no surprise then, that when my children are hurting, my being hurts. My children are estranged from their father. He could not be a father to them. Overwhelmed by the demands of his own physical and mental challenges, he lived his own childhood experience of neglect and emotional deprivation, with them. Of course, he does not quite see why they do not want anything to do with him, as young adults. Of course, we are separated, as a way of keeping the children safe.
As a mother to two young children, and carer to a very physically and mentally damaged man, I stepped in trying to be a mother and father both. I was also the main breadwinner, doing whatever jobs I could, to put food on the table and provide shelter. I worked days and nights literally, to try to put some ground beneath our feet, some semblance of dignity, in the face of utter destruction. My children say, that I did a good job and that they are not in want of anything.
But I am still in touch with their father over the telephone. A part of me knows that he did not provide the stability, safety and benevolence that a child naturally requires from a father. That part of me also understands, that he was actually incapable of it, then and perhaps to a large extent, now. Today, when I was on the phone to my husband, my son walked into the room. Without seeking permission, my husband tried to reach out and make conversation to my son, even when my son has clearly set his boundaries and said that he does not want to be in touch with his father, or hear from him.
I felt the anger and the pain rise up to the surface in my son. I saw it in his face, as he quickly walked out of the room, drained completely of the joy he had walked in with. That pain sits with me, burning my heart, as does the memory of a cold winter night a year or more ago, when the same pain took my son to the edge of a cliff.
I may have failed in my duty to protect my son as his mother today. On mothering Sunday.
I love my son, and hope that love will in time thaw the pain, and sculpt our relationship deeper into a richer harmony. Until then, all I can do, is to keep loving him and accepting all of him, especially feeling his pain.
A Moodscope member.