Sunday, January 4, 2009

the mother i want to be

i scrapbooked last night. while i couldn't sleep. i did some pictures from last april and may. i was amazed at how much little buddy has changed. he has grown up so fast. i feel as if i'm missing it, when he is right before my eyes.

will i remember exactly what it is like? will i remember his little wave, and the way he is when i walk into his room in the morning? will i remember the way he climbs on me to give me hugs when i'm sitting on the floor? will i remember how he pulls the laundry out of the basket or how he tries to chew on my cell phone? will i remember that little face he makes at me, when his eyebrows go up?

i am looking forward to his getting older. i'm excited for the day he tells me he loves me. i'm excited for him to be able to feed himself and dress himself. i can't wait to be that proud mamma at the school christmas program. i'm excited to see who he will become as he grows up.

how will he remember me? when he is an adult, how will he look back at his childhood? will he remember a mom who is a total basketcase (which i am), whose behavior is completely erratic, who loved him but wasn't capable of taking care of him the way he needed? will he remember a mother who was there for him, emotionally and physically, who made sure he had everything he needed, who loved him and taught him well?

when i look back on my own childhood, it was a mess most of the time. my mother, whom i love, is bipolar. she wasn't diagnosed with bipolar disorder until i was 17, but she suffered from it for years. her behavior was extremely unpredictable. her mood swings nearly unbearable. i know my mother loved me. but she could not provide the support i needed sometimes, because she was emotionally incapable of doing so, not because she didn't want to.

last night i was talking to my mom. i haven't told her anything about my recent struggles with depression or my flashbacks. but she could tell. twice she asked me if i was ok, both times i told her i was fine. then the third time she said, "are you sure you're okay? you sound really down." so i told her. i told her i've been having nightmares, and flashbacks, and struggling with depression. i told her i was going back to counseling. (tomorrow, by the way.) and instead of the reaction i thought i would get, that i've gotten so many times (we have provided every opportunity for you to get help and you just don't seem to want to work at it. now you are going back to counseling and you should have taken advantage of it when you were at home with us), i was shocked. do you know what she said to me? "i'm so glad you're going back to counseling. and please know that i am here for you. if you ever need to talk, you can always call me, no matter what time." she said that twice.

i am so glad my relationship with my mother is better now that i am an adult. but it saddens me that we didn't have that when i was growing up. not all of it was because of her mental illness. part of it was mine, too. my depression, my anger after being abused, and the fact that i didn't want to understand her issues. she has come a long way since i was a kid. she is still off the wall a lot, she complains (and yells) almost all the time. but at least she tries so hard to be understanding and supportive.

my greatest fear is (and has been for a long time) that my kids will think about me the way i thought about my mother when i was a kid. when i was little i was terrified of her. when i was a teenager, i hated her. (most kids hate their parents, i get that. but i'm pretty sure my issues went further than most.) even after i grew up and moved out, i couldn't stand her. my friends know how crazy she can be. most of them were scared of her, too, i think. so will i be like that? will my mental illness interfere with my ability to be a good mother all of the time?

i'm so proud of my mom for everything she has done to change. i'm proud of her for continuing to work on it in her own way, even though she can be difficult to be around sometimes. i'm grateful for all of the good things she has taught me. she taught me a lot of good things, mixed in with the bad. i know she did her best now, now that i am a mother, now that i am dealing with some of the same issues she has.

i hope that i can overcome this. i hope that i will be able to find the resources to fix myself. that i will find the strength to do so, and the desire to keep it up even when it's hard. i hope that i can be a better wife and a better mother. i hope that my son will not remember a mother who is depressed all the time. i hope that he will remember the good things i did for him, the way i loved him with everything i had. i hope we can have a positive relationship throughout his entire life, not just when he's an adult.


spencer said...

He'll love you like I love you, no worries.

Bev said...

I think sign of a good mother is worrying about being a good mother and doing things about it. I am always concerned if I do enough will they remember they days I can't got out of bed or will they remember the good days that I work do hard to provide. But i like to tell myself that the good out weighs the bad and as I work hard on the depression that good days will get better.