Monday, April 9, 2012

The Best Laid Intentions...

...can go oh so wrong.

I did not have a happy high school experience.  Many of my fellow students back then would be shocked now to hear me say that.  My children confirmed today that I talk of my Army years a lot, but rarely talk about my school years, unless I'm recounting a fond memory from band...and even those memories are colored with a lot of bullying I was on the receiving end of.  This is because my Army days were the first time since early childhood that I'd been happy...truly happy.

Much of the turmoil came from within my home.  Things were rough back then...financially, emotionally, mentally.  I was developing the traits of bipolar, but didn't understand what was happening to me, and I tried to deal with that as well as with a dysfunctional family.  I got pretty good at "putting my best face forward," and hiding the reality, as well as hiding FROM the reality.

Because of that, I determined when I held Jared the first time, that he would NOT go without if I could help it...that I would do whatever was necessary to make him and any later children be able to look back on their childhood fondly.  I got derailed along the way...I bungled my first marriage and quit when the going got tough instead of sticking it out and trying to make it work.  I was unmedicated for most of that time, and prone to sudden outbursts of crying or temper tantrums.  Once I married Justin, things stabilized.  He didn't understand the bipolar disorder, but he tried to.  He encouraged me to seek treatment, to stay on my meds.  He's helped me.

I said I wouldn't make the same mistakes my parents made.  I would make my kids be happy if it killed me.  Things went pretty well at first, then I somewhere along the way got derailed again.  Things got bad after the liver cancer...I was a productive, good worker one day...went in for surgery the next day and when I finally got out of the hospital months later, I was disabled.  I've remained disabled, albeit with "good days."  Even though six years have passed, I haven't gotten over it.  I haven't made the adjustment *I* need to make.  I've tried, but failed miserably.

Today I realized I've also failed my kids.  In trying not to repeat my parents' mistakes, I've made some pretty monstrous ones of my own.  Justin is a good disciplinarian...I'm not.  He's firm but kind with the kids...I want to give them the world.  I want to be the "cool mom" and the fun person to hang out with.  I discipline when I have to, but I rarely have to anymore.  This, however, has made me appear weak to my kids.  I rarely get true respect from them.  I'm talked to in a manner that Justin would NEVER be talked to.  There's absolutely no respect there...and its my fault.  It really is...there's no one else to blame.  I created this atmosphere, this permissive behavior.

And now I'm reaping what I've sown.

My biggest fear is my children being grown, and looking back on their memories of me with disgust and frustration, and in trying to prevent that, I've encouraged it.  Its time to get harsh and do what I didn't want to do but should have done 18 years ago.  Maybe the youngest will still benefit from it. 

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