Treading Water

The pants were thrown at me from across the room. I needed to cover myself, but the sleep held me from reaching. I hate the feeling of used emotions, repeatedly occurring only to find no resolve. Anger and distrust grows from within seeking a refuge of continuous self-pity as the demand for my attention by each individual child grows. Doing things for me grows less and less, shrinking to a minuscule remnant. I’m feeling pressure to produce; the need to prove; the challenge of making all others bow in acknowledgement of my God-given gifts.

Laboring day and night, cleaning, cooking, wiping noses, giving up my body on command, smiling, always saying what isn’t in my heart. It hurts. I hurt. As I shake the sleepiness that wants to overtake me, I watch him carry on. He hides his emotions, but when he speaks, it sounds like ridicule and disgust for not doing things as he wants them.

I asked my eldest son while I continuously care for our disabled child, “Do you know Mommy loves you?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“Do you know that Mommy puts you first?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“How do you know that Mommy puts you and your brothers first?”

He was quiet.

“No pressure,” I said, encouraged by his willingness to talk.

“Hmmm. You always serve us first and make sure we’re okay. You help us make things.”

My heart felt glad to hear such words, soothing the bumps and bruises of my confidence. I finish giving my youngest son his seizure meds through his g-tube and prepare the liquid food that nourishes him five times daily because it was medically necessary and piggy-back for his safe airway. Ever since that fateful October evening, we’ve changed. All of us have changed. Every member of our sweet family has changed. My eldest can often be heard crying to himself, “Why did he have to get hit by the truck? If only it never happened.”

I agree. I wish it never happened. My husband wishes it never happened. We fight and bicker about the presentation of the house, about my habits he never agreed to live with.

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