“I wish I had more time.” “I thought I had more time.” Basically, my parenting life to date. I wish I had more time with Jackson. Yup, there I said it. I have mom guilt most of the time. I work too many hours, too many days, too often, and too hard. I love my job. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And I know I am teaching Jackson more than just being a working mom. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have the guilt of wishing I had more time in the day to be with Jackson. Thankfully he has an incredibly awesome dad, who is there for him more than I am. At least for now. But that is not the point of this blog. The point of this blog is this:
“I thought I had more time.”
I know I have shared this poem on here before, but it is worth sharing again.
The Last Time (author unknown)
From the moment you hold your baby in your arms you will never be the same
You might long for the person you were before
When you had freedom and time
And nothing in particular to worry about
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before
Days will run into days that are exactly the same
Full of feedings and burping
Nappy changes and crying
Whining and fighting
Naps or a lack of naps
It might seem like a never-ending cycle
But don’t forget…
There is a last time for everything
There will come a time when you will feed your baby for the very last time
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child
One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down
And never pick them up that way again
You will scrub their hair in the bath for one last time
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone
They will hold your hand to cross the road
Then will never reach for it again
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this
One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus” and do all the actions
Then never sing them that song again
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.
The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times. And even then, it will take you a while to realize.
So while you are living in these times, remember there are only so many of them and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.
I have experienced plenty of the “last times” with Jackson over the years. Hence why I thought I had more time. Because they snuck up on me. I didn’t see them coming. I didn’t want to admit they were happening. But I have fed him his last bottle. Rocked him to sleep for the last time. Carried him on my chest for the last time. Carried him period for the last time. Had skin to skin contact for the last time. The hard part, I know there are more lasts coming. Some day, it will be the last time I read him a bedtime story or he wakes us up in the middle of the night. I just don’t know when those lasts will be. And that is the hardest part. You wake up one morning and those moments become a last without us ever knowing the last time we did it was going to be our last. Hence, why I feel I thought I had more time. But there is more…
So when I heard those six little words come out of Jackson’s mouth. I wasn’t ready. I thought I had more time. I thought I had more time before he said “You are not my real mom.” I know deep down in my core he only said them to get a reaction out of me. Just two days prior he told me that the world’s best mom was Heather, his birth mom. Well, I did have to agree with him on that one though! She made me the mom I am today. I wouldn’t be able to even hold the title mom, whether “real” or not without her. So, yes, Jackson I agree she is the world’s best mom.
But I would be lying to you all if I stood here and told you those six little worlds didn’t break my heart into a million little pieces. Whether he meant them or not. Whether he understands what he is saying or not. Because deep down inside, I question daily whether or not I am good enough to be his mom. Remember, the mom guilt I mentioned above. Yeah, it’s real. But more than that, is that what he sees when he looks at me, wishing I was someone else. I know not to think these things and I know he didn’t really mean them the way I took them. But I also know this will not be the last time I hear them. Somewhere inside of me, I thought, well maybe, if we do a good enough job he will just always know we were meant to be his parents and he will never say those words to me. So much for wishful thinking! Maybe I will only hear them this one time. Then again, there will be more times just like it. Maybe I will be better prepared in response.
In any event, I know, he is only five years old and is starting to question his identity and figure out who he is. I know this. We studied this. We knew this would come. This is the age when they start to figure out identity, family connections, etc. This isn’t new to me. What’s new to me is I thought I would have had more time to be prepared for this. He is only five. But then again, how do you ever prepare yourself for it? So my advice to you mommas out there that might hear “you are not my real mom.” Find someone to talk to. Find a support person. Find a support group. Find someone that understands. Find someone who has adopted children to talk to. Because no matter how much you tell me that it will be ok, or he only said that because he was angry, or he doesn’t really know what he said, it’s not helpful. I know those things. I have read numerous books, articles, etc., on adoption and adoption-related issues. I know. But what you don’t know is that even though you know those things and you know those words weren’t meant to hurt you, they still do.
Essentially, I wish I had more time and thought I had more time but will utilize the time I do have to treasure every day that I get to be Jackson’s mom, real or otherwise.