Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Letting Go Doesn't Mean Giving Up

That's about all the wisdom I have on the subject. Just the aphorism. The rest is experience and sometimes, shameful experience at that. I honestly don't know how to let go. I really don't know how to give up. Surrendering (like letting go, but I don't imagine a god-like presence prying things out of my metaphorical hands, rather a reluctant offering up) is not easy either. I couldn't have been warned enough about this. In fact, people DID warn me. Numerous times. But how could I know how to do it, without learning how to do it? 

My kid has to learn some (all?) things by experiencing them. But I do too, right? I mean, how am I supposed to know "mom things" when I have only been a mom for 7+ months? Why did I think that I'd know it all by now? Or that reading a book would mean I'd "know" it? Even seeing other moms that I think are "just like me" or who have similar backgrounds, values, parenting styles, etc. aren't me and won't always do it how I do it. In fact, I won't always do it predictably the same. Argh. 

But it's scary. Really scary. When things don't come to me at 3am (like easy ways to solve crying jags or restlessness or even my own insomnia), I get so bent out of shape. It's like I think that it should be OBVIOUS how to fix something or take a break or just let go. But it's not! Scarily so! Even with two sane (okay, maybe not sane, but functional) parents, I think between us there should be some tactics...but really, it's not even that easy.

There are books and books on PTSD and surviving trauma and coping...and yet, parenthood, as Billions (okay more than that since it's been going on since people were around) can testify, is just parenthood. No one (okay, not NO ONE, but it seems rare) talks about parenthood like they talk about war, trauma, etc. But I can't help but compare some of the things I've experienced post-trauma to my current life (no, I'm not really saying that my parenting life can be compared to anything like torture or murder, etc., but the brain doesn't know what it doesn't know, so everything is subjectively relative).

Sound melodramatic? I wish. I wish I could "overcome" parenting, like I overcame a lot of traumatic stuff growing up. But here I am, an ADULT, with resources and education and friends and family and literacy....and this is the hardest thing I have EVER done. Times a million. Because on the good days, it's still hard. The "good" things involve watching my kid grow up and change and need me differently (sometimes less!---heartbreaking!). The good things aren't just categorically good. They come with grief and loss and not enough time to capture and appreciate...and the bad things...well, I don't want to go there, here. 

So I'm not learning to let go very easily. In fact, it's the hardest part. I can't let go of the good or the bad...and holding on blows too. I don't have an easy, proverbial lesson to share or offer to myself when it gets hard again. I just have the telling the truth part. And the living in the reality of how it feels. And the sharing with others in hopes of getting support and a few "we've been there"s. I want to hug all the parents. Even the ones that aren't "good" parents. Cause I know some of those parents didn't make it out...some of those parents turned to drugs, alcohol, suicide, mental institutions, self-hatred, murder, prison, and much more (and even worse stuff I can't imagine). And some of those kids got the short end...and I ache for them too...

This note hasn't stayed true to its title...maybe just the fact that I'm not giving up...but I'm admittedly doing a crap job of letting go too. Everyone says that loving my kid is the most important thing. Thank God for that. Seriously. Because even when it's hard at 3am, it's never about not loving my kid. In fact, that's the one tether I have. I love the shit out of Kalev (sometimes, literally). He's awesome. I can let go into that. I can trust that. Even if I never said it to his face again (an impossibility), I love him so hard my guts ache. So there's that. There's that. For now, that's gotta be enough.

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I think there's a lot to say about trauma and parenting.



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