I reflect on this question from time to time, and when I do I often find that I compare myself to my mother. Don’t get me wrong: This is not a mom-bashing blog post in any way. My mom, who I know will read this because I have the great good fortune to still have her in my life, is and was a terrific mother. She is a main reason why I have pushed myself as hard as I have to become who I am. I love you, mom, and appreciate all that you have done on my behalf.
Back to the question at hand.
Last night was Buffy night at home. This means that the girls and I settled in with a season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and immersed ourselves in the characters that are now old friends for us. I had a bunch of work to do, so I had my laptop glued to my lap and was quietly working while we watched, enjoying just being together. We have no real rules about being together except that it is not alright to disrupt others’ enjoyment of a movie or other show by talking, standing in front of the TV, etc. Electronic devices are totally alright (go ahead and throw stones if you want…they can’t hit me through the internet and this is my blog, my rules). This is how we relax together.
Some times I wonder if my children perceive me as a sort of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde person. As a general rule, I am rational, smart, logical, affectionate, and happy. With my rheumatoid arthritis and its comorbid anxiety disorder (which I think is my evil twin), I know that my moods can be a little unpredictable. When I’m in pain — that never comes with a warning and always strikes out of the blue — I can be pretty shouty and negative. I feel awful when these events occur because my rational mind knows that I am not that shouty, negative person that emerges at those times. However, my rational mind gets hijacked by my amygdala and I cannot be my usual self when I experience the pain and anxiety that occurs. Hence, the Jekyll/Hyde concern.
My kids (and husband, too) have adapted to this weirdness in me and are compassionate. This usually makes my rational mind feel worse when I’m in an RA attach because I feel as though I am hurting them inadvertently by something that, despite my best efforts, sometimes eludes the medications and my long-practiced coping strategies. A couple of nights ago, I had a terrible RA flare-up that made me unable to lift more than 4 ounces, and they made sure that I was comfortably resting and quiet to alleviate the pain as much as possible.
So again I ask the question: What kind of mother am I?
- I am like my mom in many ways, but I am not her in many other ways.
- I am affectionate and loving but also unpredictable and moody
- I am smart, caring, and generally reasonable, but have a disease that impedes those abilities intermittently.
I am me. Flaws and all.