Monday, March 22, 2004

Something I don't admit often: I was wrong.

In October, I signed a figurative 15 year contract to do the hardest job I'll ever have: raise two more children to adulthood. Not just any two normal children, but kids with an unstable background. I had a relatively decent resume, having raised my son, A, to the ripe old age of 8 without killing him, or even allowing him to get into an accident that required a doctor's care. I went to college and got good grades in all of my social work classes. I worked in a crisis nursery and cared for abused and neglected kids. I worked in daycare. All in all, I thought I was pretty well prepared for the job. I was wrong.

I knew that P had some issues. I knew that because of his past, he was going to be a special-needs child. I didn't know that he was going to be suicidal (at age five!!!). I didn't know that he was going to declare all-out war against Tai and I in an attempt to make us believe he was unlovable. I didn't realize he was going to do everything in his power to piss me off, over and over, day after day. Of course I suspected these things would happen - but to a much, much lesser degree than reality has proven.

I assumed that D would have more issues than she has actually shown. She frustrates me at times, but honestly, she's just pushing the typical three-year-old buttons, testing her limits. Unfortunately, at times, she looks up to P & A, and chooses to model her behavior after theirs. This is not a good thing these days.

I also figured that it would take A a little bit of adjustment to get used to going from being an only child to one of three. I didn't expect him to completely alter his entire personality - to go from a sweet, caring, loving child to a mean-spirited, selfish, bullying one. But it seems that is what he has done. I don't know what normal brothers act like, but these two are constantly at each other's throats.

When I signed up for this job, I knew it would be a challenge. I just didn't realize how much of a challenge it would be. Days like yesterday certainly put my patience & abilities to the test. I don't think I've ever felt as much like a failure as I did by the end of last night. I was thoroughly convinced that I was a terrible mother, and that the kids would grow up to be serial killers, all because I didn't do my job well. All because I couldn't get them to clean their rooms.

This morning, however, I realized this: Yesterday sucked, but no one ended up being buried in the backyard. No one suffered any lasting physical or psychological damage. No one went hungry. No one was cold. And everyone got tucked into bed with a hug and kiss goodnight. Sometimes, that's all a mom can ask for in a day, isn't it?

It's only been six months. We're all still adjusting. Tho I may have gone to bed weary last night, I did get up to meet the challenge again today. I didn't give up. Maybe I'm not such a complete failure after all.

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