Sometimes I feel like I have to choose between failing my son or failing my own expectations or failing the world. Does this make sense? Like when I leave Reuben in any sort of nursery. He has a mental breakdown and cries. I expected this in the beginning but he's almost two! I keep trying to leave him. I do it quick. I have another person take him down. But he still throws a huge fit and will throw up if I don't come get him. Every. Single. Time.
It breaks my heart to try and leave him. And I know it hurts him too! So, I just don't anymore. I get a babysitter he knows if I want to go somewhere now. That way I know he's safe and not upset (although he does cry when I return). But I feel like I fail him as a mom that I can't teach him how to be okay with out me. And I feel like I look like one of those crazy clingy moms to the nursery workers because he cries and screams and sobs when I leave. And I feel I've failed society because I choose now not to leave him in a nursery and just keep him with me for his and my sanity.
I can't win. I'm done with the guilt through. So what he wants to stay with me? He won't always be like that. I can't judge myself. I don't know what I did wrong, if anything. I don't know if I've fostered and encouraged this sense of closeness in him. I don't know what other people think and since they don't tell me I am going to stop hypothesizing.
Daily I fear failure. I put all these expectations on myself, like thou shalt always have a hot meal or thou shalt only let thy toddler watch thirty minutes of television a day. And when I don't meet these expectations and my husband comes home to leftovers or my kid watches extra tv because I'm stressed, I feel like a failure.
It's a juxtaposition. Many times I look at his perfect smile and the joy in my heart knows no heights. But then I feel like I don't deserve that wonderful, amazing smile--that I haven't earned his happiness. I fight this feeling in myself because I know it's a lie. My child is happy, I love him. I'm not perfect. He's not perfect. But we are learning and growing and communicating...
Yet. Sometimes I wonder if "such and such" (too much tv, not enough play time, too much play time, a meal without veggies, a meal he won't eat, a crabby moment, a missed nap....yada yada) will mess him up forever.
You know what I've found? I can say I'm sorry to him if I crab at him. He can hug and forgive me. Or he can be upset. Giving him the freedom to feel what he feels is my job. I can't mess him up forever. I can love him forever--love him for who he is and not place exceptions on myself--or on him.
I love my son so much it hurts. I wonder if it will ever stop hurting deep in my heart when I look at him. I wonder if I will ever stop being afraid of something terribly bad happening to him. Is this what all mothers live with?
I pray for him daily that God will protect him and give me the strength to get through life with a climbing toddler boy that will someday be a man. If he and I make it that far it will be nothing short of a miracle.