An Apology to My Sons

Cub.  Chimp.  I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that your life often looks the way it does.  To be very clear, I am not apologizing that you have a sister who is wired the way she is.  That’s not my responsibility.  None of us chose this life.  You, your dad, me, your sister, none of us.  None of us are responsible for the wiring that creates meltdowns and aggression and higher needs.  And, your sister has brought beautiful things to our lives.  Her wiring has brought beautiful things to our lives.  So, no, I am not apologizing for that.

I am apologizing that you have a mom who is frequently tired.  Bone-weary tired.  So much of my energy is spent regulating your sister that you often get the exhausted dregs of me.  And I’m sorry for that.  I wish there was more of me to go around.  I wish you could experience the kind of mom I was before all my energy was sucked into being the emotional control center for the family.

I am sorry that you have had less physical time with me.  Doctor appointments.  Overnight hospital stays.  OT, PT, IEP, etc, etc, etc.  So much of my time has had to be directed toward getting the professional help your sister needs.  I wish I had more hours in a day.

I am sorry that you have had less attention from me.  I am sorry for the times I’ve been at your games or activities and been pulled away because I’ve chasing after your fleeing sister, trying to keep her safe.  I am sorry for the times I haven’t been able to sit with you and play games with you because I’ve been managing meltdowns.  I’m sorry that the times I have had with you have frequently been interrupted.  I hope you know that I want to be there 100%.  I want to be sitting attentively on the sidelines just watching you and cheering you on.  My heart is always there even if my body is pulled away.

I am sorry that your life has had little spontaneity.  I’m sorry that every day needs to be scheduled out and stuck to because your sister’s wiring makes it difficult for her to tolerate change.  I’m sorry that we can’t just take off on a whim to visit a museum, or go for a hike, or go shopping.  I’m sorry that your life is filled with too much predictability and that when we try for the spontaneous it usually ends with tears and hurt feelings or bodies.

I am sorry that I have inordinately high expectations of you.  I simultaneously feel proud and sorrowful that you both are so responsible, especially you, Cub, as the oldest.  I’m proud of your maturity and willingness to simply be part of the team to get things done.  I’m sad that you’ve had to learn this years before I would have expected you to if our family was more typical.  I’m sorry that I simply grow accustomed to this, take you for granted, and forget that you both are still just kids.

I am sorry that I have less patience with you.  So often all of my tank of patience is emptied into the one who needs more from me, that it is bone dry when you need it.  I know I snip more over smaller things.  I know that I get frustrated with you more quickly.  In my head I’m thinking, “Ugh.  I can’t have you fall off the edge, too!” and I know that comes across.  I am sorry.

It is so unfair.  You deserve to have the best of me and you often get the barely hanging on version of me.  And I am so sorry. 

Now, before the overly developed caregiving parts of you start responding, please know that I’m actually being quite compassionate with myself.  I do understand that I am human and I have my limits.  I am not beating myself up.  And, I know that all in all, even with just the dregs of me, you still have a pretty amazing mom.  😊  I know that you feel loved and that we are connected and have amazing relationships that just keep developing.  I know I’m a good mom.  I know that you both have pretty amazing lives.

And, I know that it could have been different.  I know that I could have been different.  I know that I am so often not the mom you both deserve.  And I just want you to know that I know.  I see you.  I love you.  I’m gonna keep fighting the good fight.  And you’ll be my guys forevermore. 

Love, Mom