I am currently holed up in my bedroom with my laptop and a pound of bacon (okay, 12 oz., but let’s not split bristles) because it’s either that or have a nervous breakdown. Somewhere in my house, at this very moment, my eldest is fighting back tears and thinking I am just the most insensitive, mean mom in the world because . . .
Drum roll please . . .
I told her we are absolutely not adopting a teenage boy no matter how badly she wants an older brother. She is claiming she has always wanted an older brother. A few years ago she wanted us to adopt a twelve-year-old girl because, she said, she always wanted a twin sister.
This would all be much easier for me to deal with if she were off crying somewhere for some normal teenage reason – like because we won’t let her dress like a whore or go on dates to the drive-in with a pot-smoking boyfriend. Then I would feel wholly justified. But instead, she is off crying because I won’t adopt an older child right now, so, rather than feeling justified, I feel like a heel. There are lots and lots of teenage boys who need families, and I’m saying no to all of them. Bad, bad me.
And yes, it is me. It is all me. If it were up to the trusty husband, we’d have adopted a teenage sibling group by now, so I am completely alone in my compassionless, selfishness as I keep telling them, “I just can’t handle it right now.”
Because guess what? I can’t. It’s not like going to the pound and getting a puppy. A lot of baggage and struggle comes with a teenager who doesn’t have a family. Who could expect anything less? I wouldn’t expect anything less, but I know I’m not ready for it. Now is not the time.
My dream in life at the moment, for the past several years’ worth of moments, is to just get my feet under me, to have a year or two of status quo. I have begged for that. It has yet to happen.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I have been blessed a lot. I mean, A LOT, and I know this. And the past three years? Have been some of the most stress-free years of my married life. Nobody has died, we have not had any screamy, colic-y, unable-to-sleep babies, we have not gone through any adoptions, we have not moved, I have been able to get reasonable amounts of sleep, I have been able to manage my migraines relatively well, we have not had financial struggles, there have been neither surgeries nor job changes . . . life has been pretty good for the most part.
But . . . there is always a but.
There is a lot to do around the homestead. Never ever in my life did I ever fantasize about living on a farm, mini or otherwise, yet that’s pretty much where I am. I mean, real farmers would scoff, I’m sure, but once you buy a tractor and plop a horse in a fence and put on muck boots even once, that makes you a farmer in my book. We’re now on our second tractor, and we have three horses. I was wearing muck boots last weekend. Thanks to the weather and the million other things I have to take care of, my garden still isn’t in. That is major stress right there for a farmer.
So I’m living my husband’s dream on the mini farm while he’s off at work all day, sometimes out of town for days, and, though I don’t have to do the day-to-day horse and barn chores, I’m always the one here when one of those beasts escapes (and, generally, if one is lose they all are lose), and I’m always the one here when the fence gets broken, and I’m the one here when one of them (or all of them) throws a shoe, and I’m the one here giving cats IV fluids and shoving antibiotics down their throats, and I’m the one here when the animals die (the cat stayed in a box on our back porch for days until he got back in town to dig a hole in the frozen ground), and I’m the one here dealing with the never-ending behavioral issues stemming from one son still acutely feeling the sting of abandonment and inaccurately surmising his birth mother must have gotten rid of him because he’s bad, and I’m the one dealing with the stupid school district, and I’m the one doing the homeschooling, and I’m the one planning the vacation, and I’m the one making sure the 10 million animals get fed, and I’m the one always saying no to getting more animals (because I’m apparently the only one with any common sense), and I’m the one here all day with the barkingest dogs in the world, and I’m the one feeling like a complete failure because I can’t keep up with it all and, oh my gosh, don’t even ask me when the last time was I cleaned our showers.
And I realize he works hard. He really does, and I am grateful for it. And I know he has to deal with stupid people and situations at work every day. But? Whether or not those people ever pull their heads out and get over their stupidity is really not, ultimately, his responsibility. If my kids don’t become decent adults/people, if my son doesn’t get past some of his aggravating, accusatory, self-pitying, pushing-people-away behaviors and is never able to have healthy relationship when he’s older, if my oldest daughter never gets her nose out of a book and figures out how to have an actual life? Totally my fault for not being a good enough mom.
The weight of my calling to be a mother is very heavy on its own, is what I’m saying. I don’t take it lightly. I never have. Sometimes I wish I could, but I don’t know how to just relax about the whole thing because . . . eternal consequences, you know? I don’t want to fail. Add the weight of all the rest of it, and I feel like it’s just driving me down into the ground.
But all anybody seems to notice is that I won’t let them get chickens and/or goats, and the horses stress me out, and I melt down when the newfoundland rips a big hole in the screened-in porch so she can stick her head in to try to play with a cat (that I didn’t want but we had to get because we need barn cats to keep the mice out of the hay), thereby making us look like the epitome of white trash, and they don’t like the food I cook because it’s healthy, and instead of gushing non-stop* for days with gratitude over the new flooring in the basement I am stressed out by the fact that our entire basement (and, oh gosh, it is a big basement with an entire apartment in it and a lot of crap) is just completely torn apart with the aforementioned crap strewn everywhere (never mind the fact that I frequently asked if we couldn’t just cull the crap before we started the flooring project, because I knew this would happen), and why haven’t I done a load of pinks yet? And now? Now? I won’t try to adopt a teenage boy. How selfish and thoughtless can I be?
My lack of being a team player knows no bounds. I just never expected to be a member of Team Bedlam.
Tewt the Newt is in hiding. I don’t know if he’s eating bacon or afraid of becoming bacon.
*For the record, I have gushed: I have thanked, I have admired, I have appreciated, I have praised, but that’s not what gets noticed.