When Bad Things Happen To Good Mothers
s of The Addict’s Mom: When Bad Things Happen To Good Mothers Written by Sherry Schlenke, the mother of a child, now deceased, from the disease of addiction You are a good mother. But bad things happened to you. Things that occurred no matter how good you were/are. Things that you didn’t cause. Things that you cannot control. Things that make you hang your head in shame. Things that cause you heartache and deep pain as only a mother can feel. Things that you cannot cure. Things that cause tears to roll down your cheeks. Things that you are keeping bottled inside. Things that you are afraid to reveal to your family, co-workers and friends. Things that shattered your life dreams and goals. Bad Things. But you ARE a good mother, as you will realize: Did you get excited upon the joyous news that you were pregnant? Did you eat healthy and go to your doctor appointments when you were pregnant? Did you take your large, choke-inducing pre-natal vitamins? Were you nauseous all day, did your feet swell, did your back ache, but did you go to work to save money for the baby? Yes you did. Did you carefully choose the nursery colors, paint, furniture and theme? No lead in the paint? Soothing colors? Happy images? Musical, magical toys? Yes you did. Did you labor to birth your baby, crying in joy and in pain, falling deeply, impossibly in love with your baby when he was placed in your arms? Did you look into his big, doe-eyes, realizing that you had never, ever felt a love for anything or anyone as you felt at that moment? Yes you did. Did you feed your baby? Rock your baby, sing to your baby? Keep him warm and safe in your arms? At night, did you walk the floors with your crying baby, gently soothing him, careful not to disturb other family members? Just you and your precious baby, in the quiet of the dark night? Yes you did. Did you take pictures of your baby? Did you show off the pictures to others? Mail copies to friends and families? Did you write his milestones in a baby book as the years passed? When he rolled over, spoke his first words, ate solid food, took his first steps, was potty trained? Did you take him to the store for his first shoes? Little, leather tie shoes with a soft sole so as not to damage his tender baby feet? Yes you did. Did you worry about your baby? His diaper rash? His runny nose? His pain from teething? His tummy ache from colic? Did you put cream on his rash, rub his gums with medicine, wipe his runny nose, apply a bandage to a boo-boo? Did you read him a bedtime story every evening, tuck him in bed, and kiss his little cheek? Did you tip-toe into his room after dark, making sure that he was breathing, watching him sleep, falling more and more in love as the years passed? Yes you did. Did you take him to play-dates, to the mall, or to the park to ride a carousel? When he was ill, did you take him to his pediatrician? Did you hold his hand and wipe his tears when he cried? For the beginning of the school year, did you buy him new school clothes, let him choose a lunchbox, a backpack, a pencil box? Did you cry, amazed at how the time is passing, and take his picture on the first day of school? Did you watch him climb the steps of the school bus, waving at him as the bus pulled away, hoping that he has a wonderful day? Did you go to every single back-to-school night, meet his teachers and wish that they would love him as much as you did? Were you proud when the teacher placed a check mark next to “advanced level,” “shares with other children,” is a “joy to teach?” Yes you did. Did you set an alarm every morning, pack a snack and lunch, sit next to him in his bed, gently rub his shoulder, whispering “good morning?” Did you kiss him, hug his warm little body, and rejoice in another day with him? Did you choose his school outfit, careful that every piece matched? Did you sit with him at your kitchen table, helping him with his homework, his book reports, or writing a Valentine for every child in his class? Did you, exhausted from your long day, rush to the stores after work, buying materials for his science project, his reports, his class parties? Did you volunteer for the PTA, chaperone field trips, act as room mother? Did you help make his costume for the school play, and attend the performance, clapping and cheering even if he sang off-key, or forgot his lines? Did you take him trick-or-treating, holding his little hand so that he would be safe? Did you decorate a Christmas tree, buy gifts from his Santa list, and stay up late wrapping presents? Did you make a fuss over his birthday, and take pictures of his smiling face as he opened gifts, blew out the candles, played with his friends? Yes you did. Did you hang his drawings and finger paintings on the refrigerator, praise and gush over them as if he were Picasso? Did you take him to scouts, sports, music, art class, the orthodontist? Did you, over-worked, and bone-tired, sit in your running car, waiting for him to be finished? Did you buy prom clothes, a bboutonnière, a corsage for his date, carefully chosen to match her dress, and take pictures of this wonderful occasion? Did you carefully press the pictures of his life events into a family album? Yes you did. Did you set chores, curfews, house rules? Teach him table manners, Social skills, to be kind, understanding, and tolerant? Did you teach him the difference between right and wrong, ethics and morals, and to be a productive person? Did you emphasize the importance of an education, of hard work, of being responsible? Yes you did. But then did the days become frightening? Did the nights become unbearable? Did you worry constantly about his grades, friends, social life? Did you hold your breath when the phone rang? Did you wait by the door when he missed curfew? Did you notice the subtle changes in his personality, his personal hygiene, and his behavior? Did his group of friends cause concern for you? Did you meet with his teachers, talk to his physician, take him to therapy, and question him? Did you pay for his rent, treatment, court fees, bills for car repair and insurance, cell phone, and groceries? Did you do without in order to support him? Did you deny the reality, agonize, weep, walk the floors, grind your teeth, toss and turn in bed, and go without sleep due to the constant worry? Did you become secretive, fearful, jumpy? Did you withdraw into yourself, into his world, becoming obsessed with curing him, with saving him? Did you set aside your work, your spouse, your other children, your family and your friends to focus solely on him? Did he scream at you, abuse you, disrespect you, frighten you? Did you tell him of your love, of your commitment to his recovery, of your determination to help him? Did you permit him to return to your house, into your loving embrace, time after time, when he relapsed, when he broke the house rules, when he committed crimes? Did you love him to the core of your being, despite his actions? Yes you did. Because even though bad things happened to you, your love for this child has no conditions, your love has no limits, your love for your baby will endure until your last breath. Because you are a good mother.