Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Penance ... NOT EVEN. Blessing, yes.
The conversation went along the lines of this:
I was talking about the difficulties of adjusting my schedule to meet the needs of my two very young grandchildren of whom I have guardianship; as well as how my marriage has had to grow and change in order to accommodate the kids. And, I should mention that I was incredibly positive in my story...I talked about how it was difficult at first, but that we had a flow and schedule and things were much easier now that everyone has become accustomed to that.
All of this was in response to a direct question about how things were going with the kids...I did not randomly begin talking about my own life without invitation.
I should mention that the person with whom I was conversing was someone who knows me well and who has been in my life for many years.
Their response to my statements:
Well, you must have the grandchildren as penance for not doing it right the first time. Apparently, you're supposed to do it better, this time around.
I remember tilting my head at them and thinking, "No. That's not what they just said." Then, I spent some time in my head while I changed the conversation to their life, trying to find a reasonable explanation and to see it from their perspective.
Don't think I haven't had the guilt and shame associated with every parent of an adult child who is not able to raise their own children. I have. Don't think I haven't actually thought, myself, that the universe was providing me with a second opportunity to parent, thereby giving me the option to do things differently. Or, that the universe felt that I needed something positive to focus on and delivered unto me these precious lives.
Never, EVER for a single second, did I ever feel punished.
How DARE they liken my grandbabies to some form of punishment? How DARE this person liken ANY child to penance?
How DARE they insult my parenting with my own children? Have I made errors? Of course! What parent hasn't? Would I do things differently this time? Yes. There are many things I will do differently - I will not put my career in front of these children. I will not shirk off a vacation because I know I'll be bogged down at work when I return. I will not become triangulated in any relationship.
I do not share details of my son's circumstances publicly, because its not my story to tell. I've no right to put his business outside of family and trusted friends. I will NOT put it, here. I will say only that he and the kid's mother are not in a position to raise them. The rest, is no one else's concern. If you are my confidante, you already know some. I will not share all of it with anyone other than my husband and close family, who are well aware. Its not in my nature to do so. And, its not my right.
Let me make something absolutely clear:
I AM BLESSED to be in a position to take care of these precious souls.
I believe that the universe TRUSTED me and DELIVERED these babies unto me for care and nurturing.
I do not think that I will allow this person to remain in my life. There is something thoroughly certifiably twisted about their thought process. And, in no way, can I spin it to be understandable. How awful it must be for people who believe that caring for ANY other creature, let alone vulnerable people, is a chore.
I've never once felt resentful at caring for the kids. I've never once felt put upon. I've never once doubted for a second that I would do it for as long as they need me.
My one and only grief in the whole situation is that I can't spend as much time with my other two grandchildren as I would like, because having all four (ages 1, 2, 3, 4 years) by myself is too much for me to do anything meaningful. Instead, I spend most of my time corralling. That's not what I want. So long as I have another adult to help, I'm glad to have all four.
I know many people, right now, who are caring for others. I'm sure that its difficult and that they are tired, some days. I am, too. But, I don't know any of them who see it as amercement. Those are not the kind of people in my life. And, they are not the kind of people I WANT in my life.
If you are taking care of someone else, BLESS YOU. THANK YOU. You are gifted with the incredible opportunity to impact someone else. The universe has decided that you are worthy to care for others. It is a GIFT.