"And just what is it that truly makes you afraid?" the psych asked me.
I took a minute to answer, thinking through all the irrational reasons I had to be afraid. Just what was the reason I am afraid? I couldn't put it into words, but as I tried, a lump formed in my throat. My mind became boggled, just like the game, with little letters scattered all around as I tried to make sense of them, tried to form them into something rational. Tried to find a reasonable answer to his question. I took a deep breath. And in that breath, my air caught in my throat and tears formed in my eyes. As my words made their way to my lips, in their place came a sob, complete with tears that fell like raindrops from the sky.
"I don't want to be a bad mom." My choked words shot out before I could stop them, jumbled with an aching pain in my heart. There, I had admitted it. I didn't want to fail at this most important job.
"And why would that make you a bad mom?" he continued, rising from his place on his chair to grab me a box of tissues.
I continued the blubbering, half-speaking, half-crying jag as I tried to form my thoughts into words. Sitting next to me, my husband sat back in his chair, looking away uncomfortably, unsure how to handle my outburst. Kaeden, playing on the floor, looked at me with fear in his eyes. And Jari, coloring a picture at the table, looked up at me, his eyes big with confusion, questioning the pain and fear my voice exposed. The room stood momentarily still. They were all waiting for a sign from me, a sign that I was okay.
"Because you are supposed to always be there for your kids. You have children to take care of them and love them and lead them through life." I couldn't stop the words from flowing. "You aren't supposed to have a child to just send him away when there are trials and things become stressful. You need to be there for them and share the bad times. That's what being a family is about. And if you can't handle the pressure, you are a bad mom."
"And what if giving your child a chance to learn and grow by asking for help is actually being a good mom? Would you consider yourself a good mom by helping your child to be his best, to learn to be the most successful, to give yourself room to breathe and energy to deal with him when he comes home in the weekend? Would you consider yourself a good mom if your son were released from the everyday stress in your home and returned home every weekend thrilled to be back home, happy to be with his family, but without the stress of having too many chores and too much stress to deal with every day? Is that what would make you a bad mom?"
As I looked at each of my family members seated around the table, watched the doctor note something on his charts, my heart was ripping in two. The lump in my throat was growing by the second and I wasn't sure how much longer I would be able to breathe. My air was coming out in gasps. "I just want to be a good mom to my boys." Tears continued making a runway down my cheeks. Maybe I could just fly away from the pain. "I don't want to be a bad mom."
And thus the reality continues. I want to be a good mom. But what makes me a good mom? I have lots to consider and too many choices to make. As I rode my bike home my tears mixed with the rain just beginning to fall, I thought for the first time that I need to do what is the best for my children and learn to look beyond what is painful for me. I need to make some difficult choices. Choices that will impact all our lives, and just maybe turn out to be what could be the very best choice for my child because "I just don't want to be a bad mom."