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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I am not a horrible mother....

The place I am sitting says otherwise. We haven't been here in awhile. And every other visit has served as evidence to the mantra I am repeating in my head...I am not a horrible mother. Today? Not so much.

As I filled out the intake paperwork, I could not check either illness or injury. Jayden woke up this morning with her pierced ear so badly infected that we can not see the back of her earring. The other is not as bad...but bad enough that I panicked when I saw it first.

Here we sit.

So illness? Infection, abscess, pain, dried blood. Injury? Foreign object embedded in my baby's body. Angrily absorbed in the other ear. Object I put there. Other? Overwhelming mama guilt at a completely preventable illness/injury/other.

In my defense, she never said it was sore. She is eight. And we are beyond the days where I rely on my intuition and clues to spot danger.

Immediately I am drawn back to the days where drooling and extra tears meant a tooth was on the way. Or nights watching a an asthmatic toddler puff her lips and draw her belly in to breathe. Keenly watching for danger....


Minor surgery behind us. Tears, blood, tightly holding onto mama. Mama tightly holding onto girl.

Relief that it is over. Relief that the social workers have bigger negligences to fret over today. But a sudden dread for the days she stops talking and we revert back to me decoding her behavior to know my daughter. I am not ready for childhood to slip away to adolescence.

It's Jaydie. The child most like me. The child whose mind is never still and can say a million things while unbeknownst to the listener, tightly maintaining her guard. She feels things at an intensity that has no choice but to boil over occasionally. But because she is mine, because she is me....I know we only get the part she has no room left to contain...things that seem silly and trite. Dramatic. And they are not. They are just the things she feels safe enough to express.

Only when her flesh has swallowed the back of her earring in protest, does she say she is having trouble getting them out.

There is no parenting book or 3 magic steps for the day you realize your child is not only is the very best of you and her daddy, but she also inherited the thing you detest most about yourself. This morning after the decision to skip school and seek medical help had been made, Jayden sobbed. Her sister knew why. From behind their closed door I could hear Lanie reassure her, "It's not your fault Jayden."

Who cries at being the one who needs help? Who apologizes when they are the one who was hurt? Who instead of seeking relief, will endure pain just to not risk upsetting someone? My daughter.

And because I recognize this in a way I have not before, I am filled with dread knowing that she will bear things alone. Knowing that her pain and struggles will go undiluted. Is it all nature? Will my nurture count for nothing? I want my daughter to be a great person and put other people before her. But today my heart hurts for her...

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