Thin line

I dumped my brain on here the last few days. I haven’t done that in a while, I try not to. It makes people feel uncomfortable. It makes me feel weird.

I want people to understand that the little things each day shit me just like the next person but I also want none of us to forget that while we bitch about picking the slow queue again in the post office or the idiot driver who pulls left to turn right (what the FUCK is wrong with people) there are so many bigger fish to fry.

Sure, I spend a large portion of my day trying to ignore the worries and stresses I have about Oscar.

Sure I, as a mother, spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about my boys, particularly Felix as he hits high school and enters a decade of becoming a man all while negotiating puberty, school work, who he wants to be, believing in himself, becoming more responsible, comprehending consequences on a far grander scale that what happens if you flog your brother again, having fun.

I didn’t really have fun as a teenager, my life was a pretty intense one with mum working her arse off and dad being absent but expectant all at the same time. When it all went pear shaped one of my aunts told me I had to grow up now, be responsible for mum, to be sensible and to help. Having fun and being a ‘typical teenager’ doesn’t really come into action when someone says that to you when you’re 11. I was the good Christian Girl going to not one but THREE youth fellowships (really covering all bases) and while it truly did get me through a lot of my teenage rage the pay off was guilt. I look back and think much of my adolescence was spent holding my breath. For the next bad thing to happen, for not being good enough, for letting people down.

Where do these emotions come from? I think they largely come from self, I can see it in Felix, but they are then compounded by external factors.

Fast forward a few years.

Fast forward to now.

I just can’t shake this feeling that I have done it all wrong. I mean, who the hell at almost 40 lives with their mother? Who at almost 40 has to ask for a hand-out from their in-laws to pay for car repairs? Who at almost 40 reduces three of their children’s bank accounts to zero to pay for car registration?

 

I’m doing it all wrong.

 

Where did I imagine my life to be at this stage?

Well, not living rent-free with my mother for one.

Not living pay-packet to pay-packet for another.

Not having to accept charity from friends.

 

Someone said to me the other day that accepting charity from others, help from people is about being humble and that having humility is the hardest virtue to learn.

 

In the last two weeks people have:

– looked after and cared for my children unconditionally

– picked up my kids from school and pre-school and looked after them for me without question

– texted me to say they’re having my kid over for a play, no discussion entered into (so so good)

– dropped off food parcels for my family including homemade dessert

– dropped off food parcels for me, to me, in the hospital

– brought me chai lattes at the hospital and hung out to talk shit and make me laugh

– taken my kids to and from footy practice

– dropped off a toiletries and cleaning products care package – anonymously. With one of those double Cadbury Family chocolate blocks in it. That I’ve hidden. And won’t be sharing. Maybe.

– sent us a crate of Gourmet Dinner Service meals that I keep looking at and bursting into spontaneous tears over. Because re-entry into family life after 12 days at hospital is just as hard, in some respects, as 12 days in hospital.

– sent me texts and tweets and Facebook shout-outs telling me you’re thinking of us, willing us a swift trip home

 

I have been humbled by all of it. Blown Away. Driven to tears at people’s love for us, for me. Bolstered by people’s generosity of heart and spirit.

I know we are blessed, that I am blessed to have a world so full of love and friendship. Plenty have pointed out to me they wish they had family and friends to help them out in times of need (subtext I am so lucky) and they need not fear me not realising, appreciating and being infinitely grateful to have so many holding on tight to the safety net under me, ready to catch me as I fall.

I know everyone has wanted to do this because I know when I see a friend struggling I want to do something, anything to ease their burden just a little.  Sometimes it’s words, sometimes something I’ve made, sometimes my hilarious company. (Remember when I was funny?)

 

So why is it sitting so uncomfortably with me?

Somehow all this makes me feel like I’ve failed.

Having to accept help is about having failed, of not being able to manage, of not coping.

I feel I’ve let everyone down.

That I have done it all wrong.

There are so SO many should haves swirling around in my head.

 

We have some family friends who are the most beautiful people in the world, but bad things happen to them all the time – a child off the rails, poor health, financial stress. There is always a feeling of unfairness when they are talked about, that they don’t deserve all this, why does it happen to them?

I do NOT want to be that family people talk about.

And yet I totally know we are.

I DO NOT want to be the sympathy card. The “Poor Kim”.

SO I just want you all to know I won’t let you down.

I will try harder.

You will not have to keep picking me up  or carrying me.

I will not let you down.

I will not fail.

 

Onward.

 

 

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  • http://www.shineslikeapostcard.blogspot.com Mary

    Oh my darling girl – I cannot wait to see you in a couple of weeks and give you the biggest hug I can give you.

    Could the words “that’ll do pig that’ll do” be the most comforting of all. They comfort me every time I see them here.

    x
    Mary recently posted..Postcards Nineteen

  • picsnapper

    It makes people feel good to be able to do something for other people….you’re just doing everyone a favour really and giving them something to feel good about :) Errrrm keep up the good work???? xx

  • http://craftapalooza.typepad.com nicole

    hey dude. seriously, no sympathy here ;o), more just WTF what a shitty time you are having. Don’t be so damned hard on yourself, seriously. Well yeah, you’re living with your mum, so what, you have a child that needs above and beyond the “norm” that most kids need. So cut yourself some slack.

  • trash

    Funnily enough I don’t see you as ‘Aaaaaw, poor Kim.‘ I see you as ‘Man alive she is funny! Kim’ and ‘Holy fuck, I think my head might explode if I had to wrangle four boys!’ Kim’. And having just read this piece I am now thinking of you as ‘I can’t believe she said that to an 11 yo and grown-ups were fucking evil to children in the 70/80s’ Kim’. So really for me you are kind of like the barbie of your suburb. Onward woman, onward.

  • trash

    Barbie. I meant Barbie!!!!

  • http://www.peskypixies.wordpress.com Pixie

    Hang in there girl and give yourself a break.

    Hugs
    Pixie recently posted..The light …..

  • http://www.kurrabikid.blogspot.com Sarah

    Kim – wow. Your strength of character is pretty damn amazing. You’re not letting anyone down, so don’t let yourself down worrying about it. Hats off to you. Again.
    Sarah recently posted..An update

  • http://one-redshoe.blogspot.com.au/ Christina

    I think the fact that people do all that for you means that you are doing lots of things RIGHT! You obviously put a lot of good out there in order to get that much good back (does that make sense?!) We live in this effed up society where needing help and support from friends and family means that you are failing in some way, when honestly we all need that help – its part of the beauty of being human. And don’t feel bad about doing a brain dump and talking about the shitty things, this is YOUR space and the shitty things need to be talked about. xxx

  • http://melody-biglittlesister.blogspot.com Melody

    You. Are. Awesome. No matter what, I believe that.
    Melody recently posted..Cockatoos!

  • http://www.eleanorfromthecommentbox.blogspot.com Eleanor

    Everything always changes, we all have our ups and downs. I guarantee you, GUARANTEE, that ten years from now you will be in a completely different place in your life. Children grow up and become adults, and Oscar will have three adult brothers who will help you and AB and your Mum care for him and enjoy his own adult life.

    Also, true help is given without expectation/strings attached. You are being too hard on yourself!!!
    Eleanor recently posted..Success

  • Fiona

    I have absolute faith in you doing your best, and that that is what you have always done. The odds just haven’t been tipped your way. We all have our day……yours is coming I am sure.

  • Jantie

    “SO I just want you all to know I won’t let you down.
    You will not have to keep picking me up or carrying me.I will not let you down”

    – make sure you look after you and yours before ‘others’ and their expectations.
    You are living your life, loving your boys *(big and small)you have wonderful people who are able to help and care, you mentioned the “Good Christian Girl” well it should be the “humanitarian girl”, because that is what is coming to you as you reflect it back. Living, loving,sharing,hurting, moving forward (even with what you think are steps backward)As mentioned by Eleanor your boys will grow with such experience ( hard and tough, but with love)and they will soon be your’s and Chef’s bolster, I wish I could be closer to be able to help, it is so shitty that you (and other parents) have to take such a activist role to even have your child seen. Take care and know that I have no expectations from you – you care for your self and yours, keep blogging (when you can) and letting the world know what it is to mother a child with special needs Jantie xoxo

    I will not fail.

  • Linda

    it is not sympathy, you big goose!

    you and your family just happen to have a lot of friends. nothing more – nothing less

    (if i could figure out a way to give you a good night’s sleep as a gift, I would send it to you by express post)

    • http://www.allconsuming.com.au allconsuming

      xxx

  • http://saltycrunchybitterfresh.blogspot.com/ Kathy

    Oh dude. If you had ANY IDEA how many times I tell myself, “You’re doing this all wrong” in any given day/week/month. Especially now that my kids are firmly ensconced in their teens and it’s too late to go back and fix anything.

    I don’t think ANYONE, in their heart of hearts, is really good at accepting help when it’s needed. Our brains are wired to OFFER help but not to ask for it.

    If I were to go all armchair psychologist on you, I’d suspect that on some level you think maybe you don’t DESERVE help because of that doing it all wrong thing you’ve got stuck in your head. Or because you’re not sunshine, rainbows and unicorn farts every single minute of every single day. Well, that’s bullshit. There is no deserving or not deserving. That’s a false concept that doesn’t even enter into it. People love you, Chef and the boys and they want to help, period. Maybe because they are living saints, maybe because they know you’d do the same for them if you could, maybe because knowing someone you love is in crisis and not being ABLE to help is the worst feeling in the world.

    You haven’t failed anyone. You saw Oscar through a crisis and you did what needed to be done and what you were ABLE to do. That is the opposite of failure, you nut.
    Kathy recently posted..Special needs parenting

    • http://www.allconsuming.com.au allconsuming

      Well you just kind of nailed it with the deserving para. God I love you.

      • http://saltycrunchybitterfresh.blogspot.com/ Kathy

        I only know these things about you because we share a brain. And because every time someone tells me what a good mother I am, I sort of want to stab myself in the eye. So, you know.
        Kathy recently posted..Special needs parenting

  • http://dancingwithfrogs.com Frogdancer

    I’d react the same way.

    You’re ok in my book.
    Frogdancer recently posted..Oh can’t you see..? You belong to me..

  • Kill

    Hmmmm. Me thinks the woman felt guilty as a young Christian because she felt unable to accept unconditional love. Me thinks the woman feels guilty as a grown woman and mother because she can’t accept that she is unconditionally loved. You are loved even in your imperfection. The love is not measured. Your circumstances are crap, and you are sure as hell learning the hard way, but you are learning what is really important. And that makes you wiser than the rest of us who have such a cushy ride.
    I love you. Full stop. The end.

  • Kill

    And we did have some fun as teenagers….

  • http://mylittledrummerboys.blogspot.com/ Trish

    People can sometimes be amazing.
    I like what Kathy said and others.
    You didn’t ask for the life you have but you do the best you can juggling all the balls .
    When the balls drop , friends are there to help you pick them up and willingly so.So glad you have a great support network.
    Trish recently posted..Thankful for time – Do Something With It

  • http://blackbird17.blogspot.com blackbird

    I’m going to email you now.
    I am saying this, here, so we all know that I am emailing you now.
    blackbird recently posted..it’s only Tuesday

  • http://www.livinginthekingdomoftoomuch.com librarygirl

    When both my parents died, within TEN MONTHS of each other, people were unbelievably kind to me and my family… and I’ve paid it forward, both before and after. Don’t feel weird about accepting kindness, I’m sure you’ll be helping others along the way, and that you have done it before in the past. People love to help!
    It’s just your turn to accept rather than give, at the moment.