I hate counselling days.
I shouldn’t say that. I like them, because it’s a positive step towards making my family better, but it’s a painful and draining time. I talk to my own counsellor and of course, the Texan about these days and they tell me I don’t need to feel guilty, that I’m doing a good job, I’m doing all I can, but I can’t shake the guilt.
When my marriage broke up, the girls didn’t go through the whole “We want our family back together” phase. I never understood why until during a counselling session, my eldest said calmly “because Daddy beat you up Mommy. He used to swear and call you names. We liked the quiet.” My heart broke, because I had hoped I had shielded them from all of that, but apparently, I didn’t. I guess because I never went through this with the divorce, it’s hard to go through now, especially when they say “But you didn’t fight. Everyone was happy. Why?” and my explanation of sometimes people need to go and it doesn’t make them bad, they’re still the wonderful person that they knew, it’s just that they moved on. But, this brings the unbearable sobs of a little girl who desperately wants “her” version of family; something that reminds me so much of my own childhood, only the man I sobbed for was dead. In this case, the person she sobs for is the role model that she chose, not the one she was afforded at birth, which I guess is what makes her pain so much harder for me to bear. This is a child who feels like her extended family doesn’t care for her, has on again/off again issues with her own father and saw someone that she loved as, in her words, “the best man in the whole wide world.”
So, the sessions are filled with the tears, the begging, and the pleading to call him! In her mind, if I tell this person that I still love them, even after all of this time, that she and her sisters love him and want him, he will realize he still wants to be a part of our family and come “home” because she believes that he never stopped loving her mom (the idea that he doesn’t love me anymore sends her into hysterics, because that means he stopped loving her) and she believes with all of her heart and soul that he is good (believing the goodness in the people that she loves, even if they give her no reason to believe in them, she’s her mother’s daughter) & everything will work out, because despite her moving into her teens, she’s still a little girl @ heart & believes in love stories & dreams. As always, my refusal is followed by the question of why don’t I understand that she loves him, why won’t I admit that I still love him, her sisters need him, don’t I see how sad they are? (Truthfully, I didn’t right away. Between school and my job and my own struggle to move forward, I didn’t always see how much pain they were in, which adds to my guilt. The Texan tells me it’s normal, moms always think kids are more resilient than they really are) But, for the last few months I have and it breaks me to hear my smallest child tell me Jesus will find her little friend and sobs when I say she’s not coming and my oldest’s hysteria during counselling sessions, pleading for me to bring back the person she claims she loves most in the world, for the man she believed loved her most in the world and was going to be with her forever, just like he promised and it would all be fixed if I would just pick up the phone and tell him.
I hate hearing them say “We’ll do _____ when Blank gets back,” only for me to gently remind them that he’s not coming only to hear the tears again and “But he came back before. He loves us, he promised he would always come back,” rinse and repeat. So, I do all of the things I need to do, counselling, the communication journal, exercise and athletics. I spend as much time with them as possible and do all I can to help make it okay, but once they’re in bed, the guilt comes back because I let someone into their lives and now they feel like their family is lacking without two people and nothing I say makes it okay.
The Texan suggested I start writing about this because she thought it might help me let go of some of that guilt by learning that I’m not the only mom who feels like she’s screwed everything up, as well, writing is good therapy for me, it’ll help me release some of that guilt. She says sometimes you just need to do something and for me, that something is write, because I can’t just sit @ home at night and call up my other single mom friends and say “I broke my kid” and cry. It’s not constructive and I need to be doing something constructive, so I write about my journey through life while helping them. It’s sort of therapeutic, to admit that my family isn’t perfect and that things need improvement and that I’m not the only mom in the world who isn’t perfect and sometimes is at a loss. It helps me realize that I’m just a regular mom trying to do the best she can, which helps me try harder in the morning. People say I build up walls, I don’t tell people what’s going on & I need to be more open. Perhaps that’s what my friend was thinking when she suggested that I incorporate this into my writing. Transparency & a way to allow people in.
So, I don’t hate counselling days. I hate that they’re needed. I wish I could just wave some kind of magic wand and make everything bad go away, just like every mom. I know I’m doing what I can, just like every mom & I hope for the best for them, just like every mom.