Being the mother of a child who cannot live at home is a smorgasbord of emotions far too complicated to put into words, but I’m going to try. A Mama’s job is to love, to care for, to protect. But, what if protecting and caring for your child means allowing your child to be placed in intensive out of home placement? What if loving your child means saying goodbye?
On a normal day I get up, wake up my children, get them off to school, clean our home, wait on them to come home, cook them dinner, help them with homework and listen to their days, and finally at night, I send them to bed with a hug and an I love you. I’m there if they wake up at night sick or just needing their mom. I’m there if they are at school and feel bad to go get them. No matter what it is, how big or small, how serious or how annoying, I’m here. My kids know that.
But sometimes, some of my children, sick from wounds caused by their birth parents can’t be home and I feel all together lost. What am I as a mom if I am not tucking them into bed at night or arguing with them about whether or not they cleaned their room? Who am I if I have to lean on others to provide what they need?
Being the mother of a child who cannot live at home means trusting strangers paid minimum wage to do a job my heart aches for. It means I am not big enough to fight the monsters from their yesterday. It means sometimes looking in the mirror and hating who you are because a Mama should have her children and you do not. It means being unable to separate fact from heartache at 1 am when all is quiet and all you want is your child to be home and them to be ok.
Being the mother of a child who cannot live at home means getting up in the morning and walking to their room, opening the door, stepping inside, and leaning against the wall with tears rolling down your cheeks because you miss them. It means hours of meetings and appointments to make sure they have what they need, being close but never close enough. It means judgmental comments from people who will never ever understand how much your heart hurts everyday. It means feeling jealous and angry at other mothers; mothers who take their children for granted, mothers who judge you because your child is gone, mothers who have no idea what sacrifice means. Having a child who cannot live at home means family photos without the whole family, holidays with empty chairs, and prayers unanswered.
And so it is…I desperately wish I had some wise words, some something that made it make sense, but I don’t. I only want to say it out loud so that other Mama’s know they aren’t alone.