He cried. And cried. And cried. And my heart broke. He wasn’t crying after me, but after his Aunt Co Co. I was still sitting on the couch. Me, the one who birthed him. The one who carried him in my tummy. The one walked the floor all night when he had hand, foot, and mouth disease and still went to work the next day. Me, who changed the wet diapers at three in the morning every night. Me who bathed him, rocked him, and let him pull my hair every night to go to sleep. I was still right there. Me, Mommy, was right next to him. But he still cried.
I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough for my own son.
It was then I realized how truly damaged I was. How damaged I am. I tried to keep my composure, but it wasn’t possible. I was hurt. I was angry. I was jealous. I was a little bit of all emotion. More than anything, I wasn’t enough, again.
The thought crossed my mind. He shouldn’t love someone as much as he loves me. He shouldn’t cry over someone else like he does me. This won’t happen again. I planned and plotted in those minutes that the next time I had a child, there would be no attachment to any other female aside from me. Me, and only me. I would be the selfish mommy. I would be the only woman in the next child’s life. Yes, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll admit to myself that I am a selfish hearted jealous woman and act on that revelation.
No one would have to know my reasons. Heck, even if they did, they can’t judge me, and so what if they do. They can’t take my birthday away. They can’t take my child away. And they can’t love like I do. I am the mommy. Not anyone else. ME.
I looked down at my son, semi-paralyzed. Mimi walked with him, trying to help him calm down, trying to get his attention elsewhere. All I could do was watch. And wallow in my own anger and pity, all the while still holding to my plan for future children. I would never feel like this again. Not ever. Again. At least not with my own children.
Minute by minute, my senses came back to me. I was being silly. I was being foolish. I was blessed to have people in my son’s life that love him and that he loves back. People to teach him how a family should be. More people than just me and daddy to tell him two things: 1) He is loved. 2) He is good enough.
I am one of five grandchildren. I am smack dab in the middle. Two older boys, then me, then two younger ones the same age, one boy and one girl. I was the tag along to the older ones, and the babysitter to the younger ones. I was the tomboy who liked to sit and watch the ballgame with papaw. The one who had to break his concentration to ask what a pick and roll was. I was the one to ride in the back seat and sing at the top of my lungs to every single song on the radio…even when mamaw had a headache. To hear her tell it, especially when she had a headache. I was also the one who was without them during her high school graduation and forgotten on her wedding day. I was the one who never felt good enough.
Maybe I’m just the sensitive one. Maybe all the others have a reason to feel the same way. Maybe they’re just stronger than me. Maybe they chose to ignore their slights. Maybe they just chose not to think about it. Or perhaps they have thought about it and have t been able to move on. Maybe I’m just weak because I have felt the sting of death take away my mother. Maybe I just miss my mother so much and am so desperate to have someone love me the way she did, completely and utterly, that I chase after their love no matter what. Maybe I really am just the selfish hearted and jealous mommy I saw myself as earlier today when my child cried and cried.
The answer really makes no difference. All of these hypotheticals, their answers, possible truths? It doesn’t matter, not to my son. And he is all that matters.
What I did next may have been the best thing I could have done. For him. I went to the bathroom, and cried. For being so stupid. For being so petty. For being so damaged. Then, I dried my eyes and looked at myself in the mirror. I spoke out loud and told myself that I am good enough to be his mommy. I am good enough for him. That he loves me more than anyone else. Because I am his mommy.
I know this because that’s how I loved my mommy. And she was never good enough for my grandparents, either. Or maybe she was and they just didn’t show it. But I saw her cry enough because of them. They never took her side and it hurt her more than anyone will ever know. Well, more than most will ever know.
She was more than good enough for me, though. Always and forever, because she was my mommy. And I am good enough for my son. Because I am his mommy.
My son will never feel like he is not good enough, because I won’t allow it. He will be told over and often that he is good enough because God made him good enough. He will know he is the apple of my eye, the same way I know I was my mother’s heart and soul. Because I will tell him. More importantly, because I will show him.
If I allow my actions to be dictated by the memories of my own self-worth, or lack thereof, then everything I wish for my son, everything I want to teach him, will be overshadowed by the pain I give control to. If I was to go through with my plan, to keep him at arm’s length with everyone but me, what would he miss out? What would he know of family? What would he think about the world around him? And how much would it hurt him? Better yet, how much would it hurt those who love him? Those who love me and I love them? The result would be disastrous. It would be just as damaging to keep him from being attached to a family who loves him as it was for me to long for love from a family that kept themselves unattached to me.
And I won’t do it. I have never liked when a mother pushes her own dreams on her children. I always said I would never do that. I never thought about the flip side, though, until today. My insecurities are my own. I will not push them on my son, or any future children. I’m sure, in today’s society, they will have plenty of their own. They don’t need mine on top of it.