“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.”
I feel like the older I get & the more days I accumulate as a sober person, the less I feel I know. The more vulnerable I feel, & also the more forgiving. More able to forgive others because I can forgive myself. Also, the little bit less I realize that what others think about me is really none of my business.
I was so excited for our pools to open last weekend. H was doing really well with swim lessons, the week before he even jumped into the water for his teacher, getting his head mostly submerged.
My expectations were way too high, he behaved like he did last Summer, more comfortable sitting on the edge, splashing his toes in the water. I picked him up once and he screamed & thrashed so I didn’t push it.
Then, surprisingly he asked to go on the paddle board shaped floatie. We went around the pool, he on his belly, me pulling him around while holding onto his arms to make sure he didn’t topple. He asked for his orange pool noodle, way on the other side past the 9 foot deep end. I was very relaxed. The sun was warm & the water was cool. I mentally debated between getting out and walking over to get the noodle or just swimming over. I’m a pretty strong swimmer, I can tread water for a fair amount of time. I have decent lung capacity.
So the unwise decision of swimming over was made, he not even wearing any floaties attached to his body. I somehow negotiated us going under a pool rope mid pool (those used to section off pools) without my feet touching. We made it all the way to the other side & I was just reaching for the edge of the pool when he slid off the floatie.
Down I went, the only thought I had in my mind was to keep his head above water. And I also thought about how full of people the pool was. Someone will see us struggling, I remember thinking. I kept kicking, fully submerged under water except for my hands which were keeping him up. It seemed like forever. I finally struggled up & my head reached breathable air once more.
Another mom was standing right next to the edge in front of me. What do you need? She said which still brings tears to my eyes. I asked her to pick him up out of the pool & of course she did. I saw that she had already fished my hat out of the water & had placed it on the side.
I noticed as I was lifting myself up over the edge that water was flowing out of my nose so I must have inhaled a good amount of the stuff. It was the first time I believed that whole deal about mothers getting a rush of adrenaline in order to save their children. It was also the first time when I was given a choice: him or me? It was very clearly him, I would have drowned to save him, this I know.
I thanked this lady over & over. We made our way to the shallow end. I still haven’t stopped processing it. Luckily H seemed unfazed by the whole ordeal.
Because we all make mistakes. But there’s such a difference when the mistake only effects you as opposed to when the mistake you make effects your child.
Your sweet, innocent, & beautiful child.
Another mistake: Back to the potty training grind. It brought me to my knees & tears again & I don’t know why I was so surprised. It took an hour long google session of, why won’t my three year old poop in the potty to let it all go. Again. Followed by days spent praying that I can change & be a better mother.
That I can let him decide for himself when he wants to poop.
That I can stop pushing. That I can forgive myself. That I can start over.
That I can let other people’s expectations of him (& me) go.
So all of the goddamn feels lately. Yes, I have felt like a shitty mother a lot lately. I have also felt like a pretty damn good one too.
Because even though I push & make the wrong decisions I will always show back up & try to be better.
This has been a pretty vulnerable post to write. I tried two different subjects but just couldn’t shake this one.
Wishing/hoping/dreaming that all of you out there enjoy the sunshine out there wherever you are. Wear your floaties! Spiritual or otherwise.