As he lay there sleeping, I can’t help but wonder, what does he dream about? What does he see when he closes his eyes? What does the world look like from his perspective?
What do I look like from his perspective?
I hope he sees how hard I fight each and every day to get through everything. He’s the reason I have to fight. I hope he sees how hard I try to be the best I can be. I worry that he will remember my flaws more than anything. I worry that he’ll remember the swollen scars on my arms from my low moments.
I worry that he’ll remember being locked together in my room because the house was so out of control and unsafe.
I hope he will know that though I have done so many things wrong in my parenthood journey, my intentions have always been good. Growing up, being with my mom felt like the safest place in the world. All the bad dreams and monsters ran away as soon as I was with her. I hope I’ve done that. I hope I’ve given him that feeling. That safe, secure, protected feeling.
It made me feel so strong, and so loved.
I’ve often wondered why I can’t do that too. Why I can’t feel that strong and powerful connection to scare away all the bad, scary stuff. I think my bipolar disorder has taken a lot from me. Whether I’m in a hypomanic episode, or a depressive episode, it affects the way I can manage my relationships.
It affects how I can respond to people, and how much of myself I can give.
I worry that because of these pieces of me, he won’t look back and remember me chasing the monsters away. What if, when he looks back, he remembers that I was too busy fighting my own demons, I couldn’t fight his too? I’ve tried my best always. But, many days I’ve fallen flat on my face. Is that what will stand out? Will he only remember the bad sides of me? Will he ever be able to remember how much I put into every single day? Will he look back and cry, remembering all the darkness I carried around with me?
Have I clouded all his days?
His eyes flicker and I’m brought back to the wonderment of his dream. What brings him peace and happiness during rest? What is he thinking? Is he happy? Please don’t get me wrong, I love him with every ounce of my being. I love him the best that I know how. I connect with him the best that I can. I do my best every day to hide my battles so that he can’t see them.
I will admit though, some days I’m just too tired, and my monsters come out for what they think is play.
What it really is though is a deep, dark, gloomy feeling that sucks all the joy out of me. Can he see that? One those days, I try to be extra bright. I try to shine a little brighter, and love a little harder. I’ll do anything I can to spare him from my darkness.
As he turns his head, his mouth forms a small smile.
It looks like he has a secret. I’m afraid that I’m not enough. I’m afraid that the monsters that will haunt his childhood are actually the ones I tried to hide. Being a mom with an invisible illness is hard. I suppose anyone could say “well life is hard” but that’s just not what I mean. Loving another person that much, while you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not worthy or deserving of such a special relationship.
It’s hard to know what neutral ground is for me.
Sometimes I look at him, and I’m completely overwhelmed with emotion. “How could I get so lucky? I have the most amazing little boy.” It’s hard to know if I’m in hypomania, or it I’m happy. What is happy? Is there a difference between hypomania and happiness? Does he notice the difference?
What does my invisible illness look from the outside?
Sure, it’s invisible in the obvious sense, but in many other ways, it’s not. Does he notice? Will he remember? He slowly rolls over and pulls the blanket over him, and I smile to myself. Regardless of what he remembers, or doesn’t remember, I’m doing my best every single day. That’s all I can do. I fight my demons, and love as hard as I am able to, each and every day. He get’s everything that I have. I hope he remembers that. I hope he’ll know I tried.
I put my hand on his back, and feel his heart beat.
I know I’m the luckiest person alive to be his mommy.