My kids are growing up. I know it’s inevitable, but I want time to stop. I know there are many parents that feel that way, but for me it’s heartbreaking.
You see, I missed out on a lot of precious time with my kids while they were growing up. For the past 10 years it seems like I’ve been inside a hamster wheel of being sick, getting hospitalized, becoming well, getting sick again, managing it at home, getting well, becoming really sick, going away for treatment, getting well, etc. For the past 10 years, most of my energy has gone towards managing my illness. My kids, unfortunately, just received the leftovers.
Don’t get me wrong, I gave my kids as much attention as possible. I loved them as much as possible. I just feel like it wasn’t enough. I feel an immense amount of guilt as well as sadness that I wasn’t there as much as I wanted to be.
My kids assure me that I am a great mom and even though I get sick, they always know I will get better. It seems like they know this better than I do.
I try to remind myself that I still have time. My son is 16 and my daughter is 13. In reality though I only have a few more years before they will both be out of the house and off to college. Thinking about that makes me want to cry.
I am more stable now than I’ve been in a while. I still have episodes, but they are shorter and not as severe as in the past. I wish I could turn back time and really be there for my kids. Now, I look around and my kids are off with their friends, studying for school, going to activities, or spending time alone. I look around and they’re not at my feet looking for attention. I miss them.
I’ve talked with my therapist and she says that they still need me, but in different ways. It’s still important that I am there for them. I agree. There are still parent teacher conferences to go to and band concerts and dance recitals. There are still times I need to take them to the doctor or bandage cuts. There is still advice I can give and curfews to enforce.
So what now? I try to schedule as much time with them as I can. We saw a movie together last weekend and try to have dinner together every night.
I also realized I need to change my lifestyle. All the time I’ve spent on trying to be well, I’ve missed out on having a life. My kids are still more important than anything, but I need to start learning who I am outside of them. I need to get back to work and develop or resume some hobbies.
I can’t turn back time, but I can continue to go forward being the best mother that I can despite having this illness.