Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Heart is Hurting

Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. - Elizabeth Stone

This is perhaps the most honest and right-on-the-money quote about motherhood that I have ever heard. And you can not possibly understand the magnitude and truth of these words unless you are a mom. You have no idea what will happen to your heart when that little being, wiggling, crying, and covered in a whole lot of mess, is pulled out of your body. You are instantly capable of giving everything you have, including yourself, to make sure that this baby will be loved and protected from all possible harm. You will ache the first time they are sick, get a boo-boo, fall down, speak your name, go to school. That child, and any that come after it, will walk around with a piece of your heart forever.

Right now my heart needs some help. It is broken, and I am hoping it can be repaired.

My oldest child, my lovely little girl is in pain. And it has become increasingly apparent to me that she can not handle going through her life like this, so I need to find a way to help her. Georgia has been struggling these last few months, really struggling to hold herself together. Her behavior has steadily deteriorated, becoming more and more difficult to handle every day. She has always challenged me, forcing me to really think about the decisions I make and the words that I choose. But most of the time I just marvel at this amazing little girl....funny, smart....SO smart, loving, and extremely creative. Lately though, we have had so many bad days, days where I go to bed feeling like I have been a terrible mother, that I don't know if I can do it all again tomorrow. We have had more arguments, tantrums, crying and yelling in this house over the past 3 months than we had for all of the 4 years that came before them. I have been so frustrated with her, and with myself for not being able to "fix" the problem. She has taken to telling me everyday how mean I am, dramatically throwing herself down on the floor and having a tantrum, stomping up the stairs, and slamming her door. I feel like I woke up one morning and my sweet 4 year old daughter was replaced with a hormonal 15 year old girl.

So I have been thinking about what could be going on with her for the past few months. She isn't able to really explain her feelings yet, so I am left throwing darts at this enormous wall of possible reasons. Yet, I don't want to ask her too much, because sometimes she takes those questions and makes up stories about why she does things. But at some point today I think I figured out what is going on. And then I started to ache for that part of my heart which has been hurting all this time.

She has no idea of what she can depend on in her life anymore. And how scary must that be for a four year old?

There have been so many changes in our home. Obviously this is a no-brainer. It is not easy for a child to adapt to one change at a time, let alone when they are being buried under an avalanche of change. There are all of these books and articles out there giving advice on how to help a child adapt to the birth of a new sibling, moving, change in a parent's job, change in caretakers, etc. But there are no books out there telling you how to help a child when ALL of these changes are happening.......AT THE EXACT SAME TIME!!!!

My God. What an idiot I felt like this afternoon. I know how stressed I am about everything that has been, and will be happening in our lives. I must cry at least once every day, and feel like I am constantly trying to keep myself from having a total mental breakdown. And if I am this stressed out, imagine the stress that my Georgia must be feeling. Because on top of all the rest of it, she has a mommy who doesn't seem so put together and happy anymore. SO if mommy is worried, stressed, and crying, then it must be bad.

Can you imagine? Really imagine what a scary world this home must be right now for her? She has had almost no consistent routine this summer, a new baby brother who is taking up her mommy's time, a daddy who is not at home more days than he is, a new nanny who is helping out during the week, and a mommy who is pulling her hair out trying to take care of everything she needs to do plus all the things daddy used to do around the house. OH.....and don't forget that she has no idea where this mythical "Virginia" is, what it will be like there, what "moving" means (do we have to leave my bed here, or can we take it with us?), or when this move will take place. When I look at it through her eyes, it is amazing that she is able to keep it together for any part of the day. How would you feel if it seemed like, at any moment, your entire life might be picked up, broken into a million pieces, thrown into a blender, and sent flying SPLAT on the wall in front of you?

I'll tell you what you would feel like. You would feel like slamming doors, throwing things, yelling at the people you love most, and rolling around on the floor crying.

So now that I have come to this realization, what do I do? I will try harder. I will try to give this girl, and her brothers, some sense that I am here for them no matter what. I will let her know that no matter what else may be blowing up in her life, I will be there for her. I will not budge. I will help her however I am able to, even if that is only by giving her a hug.

I will try to put my heart back together, to help it heal. Because it won't survive if it stays broken much longer.

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