This is another one of those posts for those parents out there. And you know what, it’s good advice for ANY person out there. You don’t NEED permission to feel. You don’t owe anyone anything that says you can’t feel. Your emotions and feelings are YOURS.
You have to give yourself permission to own those feelings and deal with them not hide them away. That means putting that guilt aside for being a human being. If something hurts you or for whatever reason, and you cry. It’s ok.
In the world of being a parent of a special child, things will hurt you from time to time. You will go home and the tears will spill over. Sometimes you won’t even get to the car or out the door before it happens.
I remember a time when Emelie was not diagnosed and was about 2. We’d go pick Christian up from school. We walked. She’s sit in that umbrella stroller, so I could control her and keep her safe, and BEG me to go play. I knew if we had to leave right away, I had to say no. It killed me inside.
Sometimes though I said yes. And we were often there until I knew I had to leave. She wouldn’t WANT to leave. She now was having fun. She’d be running through the equipment and I’d have to catch her. If I tried to put her back in the stroller, she’d plant her feet and fight pushing her. So I had to carry her. If I carried her facing me, she’d try to headbutt me or scratch my face with her fingernails. I learned the easiest way for her and for me to get home was for me to carry her upside down, securing her body to mine, face out so not to get bit until we were out of sight of the playground, and then put her in the stroller that Christian was pushing. All the while until we got to that point she was screaming as though someone was hurting her.
The whispers on the playground. The looks. Even if they weren’t necessarily meant the way I saw them (and perceived them) they hurt. And many many days I got home, got them snack, and took a break in the kitchen crying at the table. Then feeling guilty for being so “fragile”. There are even days still I feel I have to justify every emotion I’m feeling. That I shouldn’t be allowed to have these raw emotions.
My family hears it so often, I feel like I’m not allowed to have emotions. I can’t be frustrated. I can’t be angry. I can’t be sad. I can’t be whatever. That I have to wear this freaky “HAPPY” mask all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, for eternity. That’s how it feels. But who imposed that judgement and told me that I couldn’t own my emotions. Not Emelie. Not Christian. Not Matt. So who does that leave, me.
I told myself subconsiously that I can’t be anything but happy all the time or something is wrong with me. Twisted. But I know I’m not alone in this thought. That we push ourselves to be these happy little stepford fake moms. And if we can’t attain this impossible fake goal, there has to be something wrong with us.
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. Heck, New Years is a few weeks off yet. How about this instead… make a promise to yourself. Promise yourself that you will do better to allow yourself permission to own all the good feelings, all the bad feelings, all those conflicting feelings, and all the inbetween stuff too.
As I have started to do this, I’m also giving my daughter and example of how it is to actually feel and be real and be strong while embracing all my weaknesses.
I’ll end this blog with two quotes:
You cannot let go of anything if you cannot notice that you are holding it. Admit your ‘weaknesses’ and watch them morph into your greatest strengths. ~ Neale Donald Walsch
What we often perceive as a weakness others don’t see or think as our flaw. Rather they often see it so much more clearly than we do.
Let us speak, though we show all our faults and weaknesses, – for it is a sign of strength to be weak, to know it, and out with it – not in a set way and ostentatiously, though, but incidentally and without premeditation. ~ Herman Melville (1819 – 1891)
So no matter what you think… FEEL. You’ll be relieved at how it feels.