fucking up

“You fucked up”. “You are a hypocrite”. “You crumbled when things got hard”.

Hard things to hear from your child.

But that’s me today. Reading those words on a screen, published to lots of people – crying like a baby.

Like the baby that he was – what seems like just a few months ago. The baby that was screaming on the floor at 10 weeks old after being thrown there by his angry and frustrated father. The one that I picked up and cried over with the same terrified intensity – because I felt it too – not as much as him – but I felt it. What felt worse though as I realized what had happened that night, was the voice inside my head that said “you really fucked up this time”. It was true. His father reminded me of it as he stepped over and past us to get out the door to go back to bed. If I hadn’t have asked him to get up with the baby, he would never have done it. It was true.

Of course, the great blaring fact that still remains all these years later is that no matter what the reason…nobody should ever throw a baby across a room.

I was 19. How I had arrived in that position is complicated, but if the full truth be told, the roots go back thousands of years. Regardless, there I was, kneeling on the floor, a puddle of blackness that I could have never imagined. I was too weak to stand, or even move much, so I scooped my baby up into my arms, put him to my breast and just rocked him there on the floor, on my knees, telling him over and over “I’m so sorry honey” “I’m so, so fucking sorry””I love you. I LOVE YOU. i LOVE YOU.”

I slept on the floor that night with him at my breast. “How will I ever un-do that?” I kept waking up sporadically with the thought repeatedly through the night – a question I continue to ask myself still to this day, usually around 4a.m. when I wake up with a racing heartbeat.

Today, thirty one years later, with many, many fuck-up’s in between – what I’ve come to, rather than spending any energy on defending myself, is – I accept it.

I accept the fact that I fucked up. Not only on that night, but so many other times too…

I did so many things wrong.

I’d give anything to do it all over. And for sure, I’d do it differently. Of course I didn’t want to – I wanted to do everything perfectly and NEVER fuck up. But I didn’t.

I also wish that I didn’t even have the desire to defend myself now, but I do – and while that feeling is still there, it tells me that I’m far from being the person I want to be. It tells me that my ego is still strong and fighting. It tells me that I haven’t surrendered yet – I haven’t surrendered fully to life and the deep dark places that you end up in sometimes. It tells me that I’m still more human than I want to be.

I tell women that I work with that the preparation for being a mother is the greatest and most challenging thing you can do. And the best way you can do that is to love yourself. Our kids learn by example. Every time. So, if we want to teach our babies in utero that they are loved, we must nurture and care for ourselves. If we want to teach our kids how to bake bread, we let them watch us do it over and over until they start doing it. And maybe one of the biggest things we can teach our children – is that they are going to fuck up. Probably a lot. It’s what we all do.

So today I say “I fucked up”. A lot. Probably this blog post is a great example of that. And there is no “but…” – no redeeming, enlightened conclusion to any of it. A simple, pure admission of a true fact while staking a small tattered white flag in the sand.

What remains though, through the blame, the anger, frustration, guilt and pain – is a love that is so intense that through the distorted thick veil of tears, I still see my son as beautiful and amazing – and feel the deep love that I have and will always have for him, in the same way as when I used to kiss his little cheeks, whispering over and over while rocking him to sleep as a baby – “I love you sweetie…forever, and ever, and ever….”

 

 

 

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