To say that my life did not turn out the way I expected would be an understatement.
I approached both marriage and motherhood with incredible idealism. I would have the greatest marriage and my kids would rise up and call me blessed. Proverbs 31:28.
My marriage would last ’til death do us part. Our children would bless us with grandchildren and they would all come home for Sunday dinners.
The way it turned out – not so much.
Because I never thought I would have kids (secondary infertility), I cherished the idea of motherhood and even called it my “divine appointment.” I have mostly adopted kids who I mostly homeschooled.
Being a Christian homeschooling mom is a lot of pressure. We strive for perfect marriages and perfect children. Life doesn’t always cooperate.
My first clue that the pressure was killing me was when I landed in a 3 week inpatient program for depression. At that time, my then husband had been diagnosed with cancer and was quite ill. Some of the issues of my children were beginning to surface. The future did not look bright. In fact, it looked dreadful.
This process caused me to examine my patterns of sabotage. No marriage is perfect and no children are perfect. We are all imperfect people.
Sometimes dedication to children and family can lead to an unhealthy dependence on them. When they struggled, I died a little inside. My flaw was my inability to let go to allow them to try and fail, to fly high and crash hard. My attempts to fix people and make them happy were misguided … and sad.
My identity as a mom was so tied up in the drama of family life that I lost myself.
While juggling the issues of many children with many issues, the marriage died a little with each crisis faced. Could we have done it differently? Some couples survive great tragedy. Others fold into their own bitterness and disappointment. Family therapy probably could have helped had we chosen it early on, but we didn’t. We still have disagreements about how to handle things with the now grown children.
The kids grew up and on. The marriage failed. Shared struggle failed to knit us together.
What will I remember? I will cherish the good times, the laughter of children, the loyalty of a good spouse. I will cherish the growth in wisdom and patience that blessed my challenges.
I’m still standing and I’m OK.