One day, as you make the umpteenth call to the psychiatrist for one reason or another, it will hit you: this is not what you signed up for.
This: the mental health upkeep. OCD, Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, ADHD. You name it, we got that. A veritable smorgasbord of variety in the brain-aberrancy-department. Children who wash obsessively, who think obsessive thoughts. Children who cannot pull themselves up by their own bootstraps (and what the every-lovin hell does that mean, anyway?). Children who struggle with so much anxiety over doing what the world would label “simple” things, it wrings tears from their eyes on a regular basis.
But hey, what did you sign up for?
Joy. Peace. Love, both given and taken. Sunshine. Smiles. Children rising up and calling you blessed. “Well done, good and faithful servant”. Certainties.
Oh, those were nice, weren’t they? Remember them? The idea that if you did X plus Y then Z would result? Homeschool, teach scripture, sew dresses, wear dresses, bake bread, break bread, get rid of the tv, don’t allow the m-word (magic), carefully monitor movies, go to church, etc etc etc…..then your children will grow up happy and healthy, and in the fear and admonition of the Lord, to boot!
But that was Before. Before reality took hold. Reality, that major buzz-kill that swoops down and pours rain on your carefully-crafted parade on a regular basis. And does the guilt ever stop? Is there an end to the self-accusation, much less the others-accusation that you face on a daily basis? Because yeah, others do look, and judge, and point, and advise, and thank their lucky stars that they are not in your shoes.
Maybe you exist only to be an example, a thing to cause others to be thankful for their own lives.
Would that be okay?
Mother Theresa is said to have voiced the thought: The Lord did not call me to be successful, he called me to be faithful.
And that, right there, shakes me to my core.
Because I want to be successful, in the way the world judges success: happy children. Independent children. Children who are resilient, who bounce back from disappointment. Children who find love and raise families and are financially independent. Success = an empty nest and a full heart. That is, according to the world.
But what is success to God Himself?
What if success looks entirely different to Him? What if being successful means keeping the faith even in the face of utter adversity? What if success looks like having a child who cannot, without taking their own life into their own hands, step outside the safe walls of your home? What if success looks like utter failure in the eyes of the world? Who cares, anyway, what the world thinks? The world can go fuck itself, for all I care.
In the end, this is probably how I’ll be found: with the phone in one hand and a stiff drink in the other.
All I know is, I will keep loving my children in the best way I know how, and keep making those phone calls. Til the day I die.