June 09, 2011

feeling sad

Sometimes I just feel really sad.   I want to take my children and go deep underground away from hurt, pain, sickness, people… yes, I know that wouldn’t do them any good.  I know they would miss out on all of the good things in life: family, love, friendships, happiness… But sometimes, I don’t care.   Sometimes, I have the most intense desire to wrap my arms around them and shield them from anything that could possibly cause them pain.   I imagine living in a bomb shelter like in the movie Blast from the Past.   How perfect would that be?   Even better, how amazing would it be to be 100% sure that nothing bad would ever happen to your children?  To be positive that they would never get a life threatening illness, or even a minor illness that caused them pain?  To be sure that they would find love without heartache? Or be certain that they would live to be 100, and then die peacefully in their sleep?

Being a parent make you feel emotions that I cannot accurately describe in words.  It is the single most rewarding and gratifying feeling I’ve ever felt.  It is a love so intense that you completely forget about your own needs.  But it is also petrifying.   It is a paralyzing need to protect, with no reassurance that even your best efforts will keep your children safe.

So sometimes, I feel sad.

Especially because I realize that they WILL feel pain.  They WILL get sick.  They WILL get their heartbroken. 

And I WILL have to be strong enough to mend their wounds and offer them comfort that no one else can, while also internalizing their pain.  

I was checking out at WalMart today and the guy forgot to ring up one of my items.  My Mom was behind me, so she said she would just pay for it.  He obviously didn’t understand and rang it up and told me my total.  I repeated myself that my Mom was going to pay and wondered why he wasn’t paying attention.  Then, I realized he had a hearing aid in and probably couldn’t hear me.  And I felt like an ass.  Not because I was rude to him, because I wasn’t.   I wouldn’t be.   But because in my head, I was annoyed.  I was hot, and tired, and distracted.  I was struggling with being annoyed with Clover’s constant need for attention, and being annoyed with myself because I was tired and couldn’t give her the attention she needed AND deserved.  I was frustrated because Miles was hungry and I wasn’t responding to his needs fast enough.  And I was irritated because the guy just couldn’t get it right.  When all along he couldn’t hear me.   I felt like someone had slapped me in the face. 

I wasn’t rude or impatient TO him, but I’m sure people are.  I’m sure he’s been made fun of.  I’m sure he’s struggled.  I’m sure there are things that he can’t do because of his hearing loss.  And I’m sure if he were my son, it would absolutely break my heart.  I would want to take the struggle away from him.  Make sure that no one made fun of him.  Be angry that he had to struggle when others didn’t.    It made me sad and angry that he couldn’t hear my desperate efforts to thank him, which might somehow make up for the fact that he was “different”.  Maybe if he saw my smile, and heard me thank him, his hearing would magically be healed and no one would ever make fun of him again…

I remember last summer I would frequently see a boy walking in a neighborhood that I often walked by.   I’m not sure what was wrong with him (as ignorant as that sounds), but he had some sort of disease that caused him to walk differently.  However, he was always so happy and friendly.  And every time I saw him wave, my heart felt like someone was crushing it with a brick.  I felt the kids taunt him in school.   I felt society call him “retarded” and point to him.  I felt people treat him differently because he looked different.   He may have never personally felt any of that, but I felt it for him.   And I’m sure he has a parent who feels it too.

I can’t watch people struggle.  I can’t look at a lot of old people.  I can’t ignore people in wheel chairs, or people with diseases, or people with a mental illness, or kids with bad parents, or racism, or hatred, or people making fun of other people.  I physically cannot ignore it.  It makes me so incredibly sad.   I want to go to that person and be the one stranger who doesn’t treat them like they’re “special.”  I want to be the one person who doesn’t make fun of them.   I want to love them.  I want to hug them and shield them and bring them down into my giant bomb shelter and protect them from others.  I want to take their pain away.   I want to heal them.

And it makes me SO sad because I can’t.  They will get made fun of.  Society is cruel.  People are cruel.   And I can’t protect anyone from it.  Not even my own children.

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