I am not one of those devout women of faith. I doubt Christians want to slap others, and I always want to haul off and smack people who blink and me and say, "Well, they say God doesn't give us any more than we can handle," as they sip their Starbucks coffee in the front seat of their Volvo, the sun reflecting off their perfect acrylic nails, their thousand dollar pupppy in their lap, their worst parenting worry that their five year old won't go right to sleep when put to bed. I met a mom the other day whose eight year old daughter was going to an audition; I got to see the child's professionally designed and prepared curriculum vitae complete with photos.
I actually had someone say to me, "I am so tired. I volunteered at the school for two hours, cooked supper, and took the kids to lessons. It was a big day."
First, let me say that coffee for me isn't a treat, it is my drug of choice to get me started in the morning. I don't bother with the acrylic nails because all the dirt and bodily emissions which end up in my care would be hard to scrub out. Plus, I feel guilty spending the money on fake nails when the copay on just one prescription is over forty dollars, and we are known by sight at Walgreens. I drive a minivan with scratches down the side from bicycles, because a damaged child doesn't want a mom to have something which makes her happy.
I am raising other women's children, children whose only flaw is that they have experienced the biggest violation of trust by a woman who gave birth to them: she didn't care enough to stop damaging behaviors or give the babies the lives they deserve or most importantly care enough to prevent a pregnancy which was completely unwanted. I see the irony in some kids having a mom with perfect hair and beautiful nails, a gorgeous home, music lessons, sports activities, and private education and designer clothes. Moms who worry that they are't giving the children all they can or should. Moms who pay for a curriculum vita, while my kids get hand me downs (they destroy their clothes), live in messy rooms (I work full time and have no desire to clean up anything that is not unsanitary), play with the football in the backyard (they get overstimulated when in group situations), and live with a goofy labrador retriever who was rescued from the pound (he can handle himself if they try to hurt him).
The vitae I have for my children is a complete medical record of therapists and medical evaluations, a specialized education plan at school, and psych evaluations.
My biggest worry is that, despite all my energy and time and effort, one of my children will choose to not heal. And that worry is for them, not for me.
I don't believe everything happens for a reason. I believe that things happen, and we have to deal with them. I don't believe that God will protect me. I believe that I have been given the gift of the strength to deal with whatever comes.
However, I am either a slow or stubborn learner, or I am someone who forgets the lesson easily because I keep getting it again and again.
And people don't get it. Or, if they get it, they don't want to know that people can be raising children who have had serious trauma, sexual abuse, or prenatal exposures, children for whom a day spent lying and stealing and being oppositional is normal, children for whom a day with only three rages is a good day, and for children for whom trying to kill the new mom is a normal way of thinking.