“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Miss My Kids

I've never been the kind of mom that drops everything to play a game with her kids. It just doesn't cross my mind that they would be interested in something like that. I grew up in a family of eight kids. I was always playing/fighting with brothers and sisters, roaming the neighborhood with friends, or hiding out in my room with a book. I didn't pay much attention to what my mom was doing, but I know we were fed and clothed and loved.

About eight years ago, I started going through what I've named my "Job days" (as in Job from the Bible). We were forced to move into a tiny 1200 square foot house. I had four kids and was pregnant with number five. Number six followed soon after. My husband was going to school full time and working full time. We had very little money. An incident at school forced me into homeschooling for three years. On top of it all, I was going through an experience that sent me into a deep depression. It was all very overwhelming.

And yet, I look back now, and it was an amazing time with my kids. I was a good teacher. I remember my then 8 year old daughter getting so excited at finding spores on a fern leaf. My five year old son taught himself to read and became an avid reader. He was also amazing at math. I was creative, and we had fun.

I was also my son's Cub Scout leader back then. I remember Blue and Gold dinners, and selling cookies for a fundraiser, and making a volcano just like you see on TV, and the pinewood derby. I was so involved, and we had fun.

The charter school through which I did my homeschooling often offered field trips to wonderful places like Cold Stone Creamery, the firehouse, or the zoo. I remember packing up my six kids and double stroller and heading out alone to Sea World or the Wild Animal Park. I always felt some trepidation attempting these excursions without my husband, but we had such a wonderful time! The kids were angels -- no whining, arguing, or fighting. Just pure excitement and joy. Every time, on the way home, I would compliment them for being so good and making it so easy on me and so much fun to be with them.

When we moved, the kids went back to school, and I wasn't so completely engrossed in them anymore. But we still had fun -- trips to the snow, to amusement parks, to the beach. Those family outings were wonderful.


My husband took my kids to the snow Wednesday this week while I stayed and watched the store. I got to hear about what a wonderful time they all had. My youngest told me story after story. And I started feeling sad. I miss them. CFS has slowly but surely taken away my family outings, because I'm just not up to all day events. Or even half day events, or events longer than an hour. We went to dinner at my sister in law's the other day, and it has taken me almost two weeks to recuperate. My kids are now a lot like I was back in the day (minus the fighting, thankfully). They play together and with friends. They hover sometimes, like they would like me to do something with them, but I'm at a loss. When I didn't have a friend in the world, they were my best friends. And now, somehow, they are not.

I miss my kids.

Who knew that I would some day look back on that dark period in my life and feel gratitude and fondness for it.


Sue Jackson said...

I know just what you mean, Shelli. I also mourn the things I can no longer do with my family: amusement parks, museums, water you said, any activity requiring more than about an hour on my feet.

I've also come to recognize something else, though. Some of the reason behind spending less time with my kids is simply that they're growing up. As they've gotten older, they've wanted to spend more and more time with friends, and I've had to accept that that is normal and good. We still have dinner together every night as a family, sometimes play games or watch movies together, and thoroughly enjoy our family vacations and camping weekends. So, I've had to adjust my expectations somewhat - both for CFS and for growing up.

Why not surprise your kids this weekend and ask if they want to play a board game with you or work on a jigsaw puzzle or watch a movie? There are still lots of ways you can fun with your kids; it just takes a little adjustment.

Have a great weekend!


Lori P said...

I agree with Sue. When I read your post I was thinking of all the things you HAVE done. Wow! Your kids treasure that and, I'm sure, understand why you aren't able to do the same things that you used to do.

Boy can I relate to the "Job" comparisons. We've been through a difficult three years and I tell people I'm feeling quite Job-ish.

Hang in there.

Paula said...

I used to be such an active mom with my son. Right down to playing hockey goalie in the driveway and yelling at the refs during his games. It has changed a lot, but so has he. He is a teenager now and like Sue said, he is out running around with friends and enjoying life as much he can. We really have to re-invent ourselves and our relationships and with that comes new opportunities that we were never aware of before getting sick. Life can morph and it can be very scary and upsetting, but in the end we adjust and can find a happy, rewarding place.