layers of guilt

Tomorrow Sarah gets inducted into the National Honor Society. We’re all going to watch, which means we’re going to create a scene. It’s impossible for our crowd not to draw attention. Sarah would prefer if we just dropped her off at the back of the parking lot and picked her up after everyone else has left. In a few weeks she will march in the Dogwood Parade. Next Thanksgiving, she’ll be marching in Chicago’s Thanksgiving Parade. She keeps a 4.0 while participating in several clubs and coordinating a heavy social life. I’m extremely proud of her, but it just isn’t weighing heavily on my mind.

Noah is about to get his black belt in karate. After spending much of the year as the class clown, he has his grades back to all As and Bs. He is my thoughtful child, always worrying about everyone else’s happiness. This summer he’s going from one camp to another, without Doug or I there to keep an eye on him. He’s growing and changing so rapidly that I don’t want to look away from him, but I do.

Amy is reading at an advanced level. She is bright and funny. She’s also stubborn and has an extremely short fuse when things frustrate her. I need to spend all my time teaching her patience, calm and flexibility, but I don’t.

Evan is completely out of control. He looks at you with his bright blue eyes, grins and deliberately defies you. He will completely destroy a room and before you can raise your blood pressure, he shouts “hug” and gives you a giant squeeze and a sloppy kiss. He needs to be potty trained if he is going to start preschool twice a week this fall. It’s way past time to teach him to control that weapon of his. I am making zero progress.

I bounce from one child to another so rapidly that I sometimes forget what I’m doing. I want them all to feel loved and important. I really do recognize their individual personalities and strengths. Yet, I feel like a complete failure and hypocrite. My mind is always on Tommy. Evan is the most dangerous child. Noah is the most fragile child. Tommy is the one I constantly worry about. When things are going poorly for Tommy, I worry. When things are going good for Tommy, I worry more. There are ten billion things going on in my life right now. All I want to do is plan Tommy’s graduation. It’s like the finish line and the starting gate all in one. I am thrilled and horrified. I mentally accuse myself of making this our family’s graduation and triumph when it’s all Tommy’s efforts. I justify that after graduation, my focus can be more on the other children, but I know that won’t happen. It’s not that I love Tommy more, it’s just that he needs so much more. He always has. I just have to find a way to give the other children more without giving Tommy less.

One thought on “layers of guilt

  1. Cathy – You are a great mother. You are one the best mothers I know. You give your children so much love. Please don’t ever doubt that.


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