“Tell me I’m a good mom,” I say to my husband, Chris. Most of the time when I say that, I’m half-joking. This time, I’m not.
We’re sitting on our couch side by side. I’m usually writing or reading blogs while he watches people play video games on YouTube. Today, I’m staring blankly at the turned-off TV. He looks up.
“You’re a good mom,” he replies. He’s not smiling. His seriousness just reinforces my worry.
“We’ve done what we can, right? I mean, I think it would have been worse if we had done other things.”
“It’s not your fault. It’s not anyone’s fault.”
I don’t name it, but we both know what I’m referring to. There’s a strong chance both of our kids have language delays or learning disabilities. Right now, we’re in the process of trying to get them evaluated. In the meantime, I’m trying to wrap my head around what potential diagnoses might mean for our family.
I run through all of the ways I’ve tried to encourage their language development, curiosity, and love of learning. Narrated to them when they were babies. Read a billion and one books. Limited screen time. Provided plenty of free play time. Spent plenty of time outside, exploring stumps and piles of leaves. Visited museums and nature centers.
But what if those were the wrong things? What if we should have been doing something else? What if?
The thoughts flood my head, washing away rational thought. Anxiety starts running the joint, an arbitrary and authoritarian teacher who can never be pleased.
I clutch at possibilities of things to blame. I desperately want something or even better, someone I can pin this on. Maybe if it’s someone’s fault, they can fix it.
But there’s no one to blame. There’s no one to apologize, no one to take responsibility. Whatever “caused” our kids’ challenges, whether genetics or environmental factors or God knows what, it doesn’t matter. It is what it is.
So we’ll keep moving forward. Pushing for evaluations and services as needed, even if the school district drags its feet. Finding ways to support our kids, whether that’s teaching emotional regulation or working on speech skills. Supporting each other through our challenges and joys.
But before I do all of that, I need to learn to sit with all of this. To accept it. Accept it without what ifs or fixes. Accept myself as a mom. Just as I will accept and love my children no matter what their path looks like.
Because if I don’t – if I keep chasing actions – I’ll never be satisfied. I’ll constantly question my abilities as a mom; perhaps even question my love for them. I’ll start seeing my kids as projects to be completed. Broken things that need to be fixed.
So for now, I will be sitting in all of this. Resting and waiting. Hugging and snuggling. Just being the mom I was meant to be in this moment.