I'm assuming I'm not the only one...
But today, that happened to me.
It started with an innocent text conversation between my sister-in-law and I regarding my oldest son's trip to the dentist with her this morning, and how he sometimes gets anxious in medical settings and doesn't like strangers in his personal space.
At the end of evening, I was questioning whether or not in this entire saga of their father's abandonment I was the major reason my kids have "issues." You know, stranger anxiety for one, a lack of stranger anxiety for another, so forth and so on.
This was my exact panic text to three of my dear "reality check" type friends.
"What if I screwed up and harmed my kids more than Jake ever did?
All day it's all I could think about.
I want to say it's that I'm tying to do right now.
But I think about how long I stayed with him treating me like garbage and how long I stayed with him and didn't stand up for my kids, and even when I tried to stand up it didn't make a difference and I stayed anyway because I loved him and thought it could change and work out and then it all went down as it did anyway and how much of all of the kids issues was just due to me being naive and believing in him and staying and being afraid of what would happen if he wasn't happy with us or okay or got his way and he would leave... And he did anyway.
The truth is I'm trying to make it right and raise them in God's love now.
But the truth may also be I'm the worst part of their past.
Of course had I not stayed at least until July 2013 I wouldn't have Norah..."
(PS: included in this rambling is some realizations I had today that I didn't even realize I had until now.)
As you can see, darkness baited, I bit, it latched on, and tore deep. My first friend stated, the devil had a foothold. I'm the best mama for the kids.
Yikes. He gets me sometimes when I least expect it, and damnit anyway, he's a sneaky serpent.
I tried to believe her and prayed, but the possible lie still felt like truth.
My second friend replied with this poetic check.
"Nicole Marie. You need to stop. Right there.
You have been the best mother your children could ever hope to have.
You stuck by their father, no matter how many times he failed you, until you were certain that he couldn't change. You taught them how to love someone unconditionally, and yet, how to let that person go when they cannot love you the way that you deserve.
And then, you taught them how to be strong and independent and pick up the pieces in one of the most difficult seasons life has ever handed you.
You have shown your children some of the most valuable lessons life has to offer before they were even school age! Imagine what wise things you'll be teaching them in the years to come!
They are going to be remarkable people, and that is solely due to YOU. Sure, other people are helping you mold them. But those people are in their lives because they love YOU. Because they love your strength and grit and love for life."
It effectively had me in tears. I prayed in thankfulness for her words and asked God if they were true. I thought I felt relief.
Until I was about ready for bed, thinking about the day tomorrow and the inevitable blizzard-induced play therapy appointment cancellation tomorrow, and you know... all those reasons my boys see a therapist.
So I confided in my third friend.
And my third, well, she blended the two others.
"Oh Nik. I hate that you felt this way and I hope that it's a passing feeling because here is the truth. We have all "screwed up" our kids. We are all broken fallen people making mistakes constantly and it always affects our kids. I feel the same way about my kids. I see some of the issues they have and I know I caused that. No one is perfect and we all leave impressions on our children but you have to remember that they aren't all negative impressions. The love and the compassion and the genuine sweetness that make up your kids is also from you. Their joy filled laughter and their love for others and their childlike faith is also from you.
As parents we have to choose what we focus on and just always strive to do better and God willing, we will all come through this life.
But parents we all mold our children - for better or worse and trust me, your children have so much good from you."
I don't usually share people's private messages to me with the world, but for the purpose of this spiral, I have chosen to.
I prayed a bunch, and I'm hoping I hear the still, small voice myself, but maybe, just maybe, as happens often, that voice is coming from others because I am still working to shut off the static to hear the still.
I am a but detached from the intense emotional pull I felt earlier. I'm praying for the truth, His truth.
I am so thankful that I have a few people ( not only these three, but tonight I was called to them, and I can see why now) that I can turn to help combat these untruths from the enemy.
I do wish I would see clearly before the spiral behind, though.
One day, one battle at a time. Tonight, the spiral was actually pretty quick.