After thinking about it overnight I decided to post a longer version of this. Some of you might find some comfort in knowing more of the story and in knowing you are not alone in your own various struggles.
Sometimes we write to try and explain the unexplainable, like why bad things happen to good people. We tell stories about imaginary kids living imaginary lives that no would really want to live. And when someone asks us why, we have no answers except that was a story that kept talking to us until we shared it with the world. Sometimes we make things up because if we told people they really happened no one would believe us. And sometimes we DO make them up. But sometimes they are real, too real to admit they are true, so we write them down and pretend they happened to someone else, to imaginary characters.
As a parent, from the day they were each born, I tried my best to keep my two children from harm. Sometimes it even worked. For years, every Labor Day, I donated money to the Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy. I started in 1979, the year my son was born. My husband would go off on a hunting trip and I would snuggle with my son on the couch and watch the show. I held my healthy baby in my arms, so grateful, and gladly gave my credit card number to the lady on the phone to help Jerry’s kids. 24 years later, when that same son was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, I felt numb. But I went to work doing my mommy job, guiding him when he wanted guidance and listening to him rant when he wanted to rant. I had wanted to keep him from harm but I couldn’t. And when (for safety issues) he had to leave a job he loved and go back to college for retraining, I wanted to rant and rave at anyone who would listen (and a few who wouldn’t) about the unfairness of it all. Genetics aside, I felt like I had failed as a mom. I hadn’t keep my son safe.
My daughter was born three years later and as different from her brother as two siblings could be. He was the introvert, content in his small circle of friends. She was the extrovert who had to go everywhere with everyone. She never met a stranger and whenever anyone new moved into the neighborhood she was the first one to know all about them. When she was mad, everyone around her knew it because she wore her heart on her sleeve for the world to see. Her emotions went miles high and miles deep. Keeping her safe was a full time job and over the years we have ranted and raved with and at one another. But even when she makes me crazy, I’ve never stopping believing in her ability to do whatever she wanted to do, even when, as she has many times, she stopped believing in herself.
But she’s all grown up and a mommy of her own now and I can’t keep her safe anymore. That’s a hard one for me. Genetics, sometimes a twist or lack of something in your DNA can give you a battle with something like MD. And sometimes it gives you other demons to fight. The kind you can’t see.
So sometimes, we write. We tell stories to help heal a nameless hurting child because we cannot heal our own children.