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The clock said 10:38 and I breathed a silent sigh of relief. I still had roughly 20 minutes left to my session. I glanced back at my counselor who was waiting for me to speak.
I told her I feel guilty. Guilty for finally getting the help I have wanted for such a long time. Guilty because I am supposed to be doing this by myself. Guilty because other moms deal with hard things too and I don’t want to be seen as lazy.
She looked at me and I knew; I just knew what she was going to say. “But you’re not like other moms are you?” I know what the answer was supposed to be, but I didn’t want to answer it. I am a mom, a mom with two special needs kids. And very very few people can understand what that’s like.
But in today’s society of modern parenting, it doesn’t matter. Women are expected to suck it up, to keep going, to push on and on. And if you don’t, then you’re judged. If you make one mistake, you’re judged. That’s why I couldn’t answer her question. Because while I live a very different life from other moms, most people would disagree.
I don’t want to set myself apart, but yet when I am around another group of moms, I find it hard to fit in. No one understands that my free time is going to three hour long IEP meetings, driving around the city to see doctors and specialists, and agonizing once again over the thought that haunts me every day: Am I raising these children right? Am I doing the right thing?
So behind closed doors the girl that I am is not the girl that you see. The girl that YOU see is the one that everyone admires. She’s the one that everyone thinks is supermom, and they all wonder in amazement at how she does it all.
But behind closed doors, it’s different. The times I’m so overwhelmed from everything on my plate. The moments I remember that without my medicine I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. The times I have to tell myself to breathe in and out, in and out. The times I want to cry, but am too numb and emotionless to let it out.
I took a deep breath in again and looked at my counselor, “I don’t know why I am having such a hard time with this – with having an in-home nurse come in and help.”
And then she said the words that both shocked and surprised me.
“You don’t know how to stop do you?”
“Stop what?” I asked.
“You don’t know how to take a break or to give yourself time to be a real mom. Time to just play with your kids and not have to worry about tube feedings, medications, and doctor’s appointments. You don’t know how to just stop and just let things be.”
I thought about her words for a minute. I always have to be moving. I always have to be doing something, if not I feel out of place, I feel upset. I realized that I give and I give and I try and I try and I don’t know how to stop and not just constantly “do.”
A chapter in Ecclesiastes came to mind.
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance…” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4)
Maybe God (and my counselor) was trying to teach me something. Maybe this is my time to heal. Maybe this is my time to learn how to laugh and dance. Maybe it’s time for me to stop doing and just sit at His feet and start listening.
The clock now said 11:00 and my session was over. I thought about her words as I left the building that morning. Having an in-home nurse was going to be an adjustment, it may be something others were jealous of me having, but for me it was going to be good. It would be a time to heal.