Just call me Jiji

…me, just pretending to be me ….now, where did I put that cape??

A Mother’s Guilt is Never Done

Ooooh! Owwww! Ohhh!

I just spent almost an hour outside in the wet, cold, snow with a shovel in hand, breaking my already injured back and ignoring the stiffening of my joints and the labored breaths.

Yes!  Me…..outside…..in the snow! ……Can you believe it?

Now, I am soaked from head to toe!

I am chilled to the bone!

I am pooped! 

And I am HURTING!

Bad!!

Ah, the things we do for our children…

You see, I was not shoveling the walkway or clearing out our cars or anything constructive like that, I was trying to build a fort and make a snowman with Leon. Even though I already knew going in, that I would be paying for it, for days to come. 

We trudged our way through the snow, I shoveled up piles and piles for him to mold into whatever his little heart desired, I stooped down low rolling snow balls around hoping for a perfectly round boulder sized base for our snowman, and I got down on my hands and knees and helped him shape the walls of our fort.

Our fort was no where near as good as Daddy’s are. In fact it wasn’t as much of a fort, as it was a really thin three-sided lip of snow about as high as the curb. Okay so maybe it was a bit higher than that. Leon had to lie flat on his belly to be completely shielded. In other words it was a very poor excuse of a fort. And our snowman, weeeell he’s more of a snowblob with a too small red knit cap sitting on top. But it made Leon happy to be outside in the snow, even though his usual snow buddy could not be there. Alas Daddy was working. And I, …well I would have been very content to just sit around in my pajamas all day long.

Our morning did start out that way. Leon crawled into my bed after Daddy left for work wanting me to get up and make him breakfast. I readied myself to get up and get him off to school and then I remembered the 6:30am phone call that the school was closed due to the snow storm.

“No school today Leon, it’s a snow day, lemme sleep just a bit longer”

If you’ve read my previous post ADHD vs. Fibro you know what direction that could have headed, but didn’t.

I felt guilty. How do I tell my over-active and impulsive ADHD 7-year-old to just sit by and wait while I got some more shut-eye? So I did get out of bed, but I did not do much more than that.

Whaaat???, It was early and there was over a foot of snow outside! Do you know what that does to my Fibro?

Well, I did at least feed him. I gave him a bowl of dry cereal and even let him eat it in the livingroom while watching TV.

After patiently staring at the weather channel that I had put on, for about 20 minutes, he asked to play his DS game instead.

Being that I wanted to continue watching the weather report, I said sure without batting an eyelash, and settled in under my blanket on the sofa while he blipped and bleeped away at his game at my feet.

I ended up dozing off for a couple of hours… talk about bad mommy guilt.

So I had him put away his game for a bit and find something else to do. He started a couple of puzzles, played with his legos, and pulled out a book to read …40 minutes later he is bored again. And I am feeling guilty and just a bit lazy. C’mon it’s pajama day!

Leon was being so patient and so good for a kid cooped up in the house with his ole mom.

I pulled out some paper, scissors, and markers for him and put on a Disney movie. And he happily set out to color and snip away the day, while watching “Akeela and the Bee”.  

So far, so good. My evil pajama day plan was working! Mwaa-haa-haa!

I half read, and half watched the movie from the comfort of the couch. I figured the movie would kill a good two hours….

 Yeah sure, once he was done making his projects, he left the mess and sat in front of the window and just stared out at the snow falling.

When I asked what he was thinking, he said, “Well, I was thinking I want to go outside and play but I know you don’t feel good so I’ll just watch the snow fall”

Ugh! More Guilt. I have the greatest kid. Sure he can be bull-headed and oppositional at times, but he is also very sweet and sensitive.

I told him to go get his snow gear, we were going out! Normally it takes about 15 minutes every morning just to get him dressed for school, but not today he was ready in two minutes flat and ready to go. I on the other hand, was much slower. Poor Leon was just starting to lose his patience.

Being outside wasn’t that bad, …at first. But after a little while I had to sit down and take a few short breaks here and there. The more we worked the stiffer I got. And the kneeling in the snow did not help at all. I was wet and I was cold.

The worst thing about being in the snow with Fibro is that I get chilled to the bone. It literally feels like my bones turn to ice and start splintering from the inside out. The cold becomes the source of my pain.  This doesn’t happen every time, but because this has been such a harsh winter, my body hasn’t had a chance to catch up and restore itself fully between flare-ups.

I needed to get inside, but I could not just leave Leon outside by himself. We only have a front yard and it isn’t completely fenced in. Although truth be told, since he has been doing so well on the Concerta, I am not as concerned as I used to be about his impulses and distractions getting the better of him. My concern with leaving him alone had to do more with leaving him lonely (which often equates to “sad and bored” for him).

We made some calls and knocked on the neighbors door, hoping to find someone to come play in the yard with him. Unfortunately no one was interested or available. So I stayed outside a bit longer until my body just could not handle playing around in the snow anymore. My heart and mind was in it, but my body just said NO.

I gave him the option to stay out and play by himself or come in and play the Wii with me and I would even let him pick the game (ugh). He chose staying outside if I would stay by the window and watch.

I could not help feeling guilty as I watched him wonder around the yard by himself, looking for something ‘fun’ to do. The smile he had, had on his face while we were working on the fort together was gone. I felt guilt and SADNESS, for my lonely little boy.

This time I wasn’t just feeling guilty for being sick and unable to keep up with my child, but also for not having another child, a sibling for Leon to be his companion growing up. And although the decision not to have another child was not mine, I have come to realize it was probably the right decision. But at times like these it’s hard to swallow.

I just had to do something, my heart was breaking for him, but I had already pushed my body to the limit and I no longer could stand up straight. I decided to call my neighbor and asked if I could hire one of her middle school kids to come and help Leon finish building his snow fort. Unfortunately they had, had enough of the cold too and wanted to stay indoors. Oh well, I tried.

Soon after Leon decided he was coming in. Then something caught his eye, and he shouted, “Mom, look I think Lauren and Alex are coming to play with me!”. Sure enough the neighbor kids had a change of heart and were on their way to help build the fort after all. I told them I would pay them for being a mother’s helper.

The fort was beautifully made and Alex took some twigs and spelled out Leon’s name on it

Leon is all smiles again! And so am I.

And the really, really sweet part about it was Lauren and Alex said that they didn’t feel right taking money because Leon was their buddy and they had fun.

Now all I have to feel guilty about is not being able to go to tonight’s Boy Scout Blue & Gold Award Ceremony with Ron and Leon because I can’t even stand up without wincing in pain. 

A Mother’s Guilt is Never Done

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3 thoughts on “A Mother’s Guilt is Never Done

  1. What a great fun day for you and for Leon! I suffer from the Mommy Guilt as well but I think you handle it much better than I do! I’m so glad Leon has such wonderful friends in the neighborhood that came out to help him out. They look like they had a great time! 🙂

  2. Thank you very much.
    However, let me just clarify that I don’t think of myself as a bad parent. In fact I hold myself in very high regard in that respect.
    I’m only experiancing some normal guilt that comes from being unable to live up to my own standards and desires to do more, that comes with my occasional physical limitations.

  3. Based on what you wrote you have no reason to feel any guilt. Despite the physical challenge of engaing with your son, you still did everything you could to give him what he wanted.

    Children sensative enough to say “Well, I was thinking I want to go outside and play but I know you don’t feel good so I’ll just watch the snow fall”. Are not the products of poor parenting.

    Empathy for your son is fine, but you have no reason at all to blame yourself.

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