Just a Mom

How old were you when you decided what you’d be? How did you know? How long did it take for you to reach that goal? If you didn’t reach it, if you have not reached it, are you close to it yet?

I knew I wanted to be a mom. I wanted to be a loving, faithful wife, who would nurture her husband and children. You know that old song by Destiny’s Child, ‘Cater to u?’, that is who I was going to be. I was going to make my man happy while he made me happy-obviously. 😉

I have always loved the Bible and have always been a bookworm. So even while in those days I read fiction and novels, I also read the Bible. And the Bible told me to be meek, humble, calm, quiet industrious, loving, and to be a servant mom. For my ninth birthday, my father gave me a book that added to the idea. Very old-fashioned book about womanhood-from puberty to marriage. How to not to sit on a boy’s lap and how to be a submissive wife. I lapped it up. I was going to be the type of wife who’s always tidy, welcomes her husband with the newspaper, takes his shoes off for him, rubs his feet, and has happy children who gather round his armchair smiling happily while he reads after his hard day at work.

Yes, the book glossed over how hard MY day doing MY work would be. And that MY work doesn’t have an ‘end.’

At age 10, I read about an abandoned baby that was left in front of a door. The mother had left a note in the baby’s blankets, expressing her heartache at not being able to care for the child. It touched me. I wanted to be the mom a desperate woman would trust. I wanted to be the mom that could take care of that precious baby. When my parents visited people whose daughters had babies, those babies always found themselves in my arms, being rocked to sleep even it wasn’t actually nap time. I didn’t say I knew much about babies, I just wanted one! I practised for the day I’d have my own baby. My own adopted baby. I loved all those babies and I knew I’d love a baby whose mom couldn’t love it the way she wanted to.

Years went by. My husband was NOT the type that wanted to be catered to. From age 13 I had collected recipes of different dishes and I had kept them, adding to them every year… Till I went vegetarian then vegan. I started new collections after that. But while he enjoyed eating, my husband was not a ‘newspaper after work’ reader. Nor did he want me touching his stinky shoes and feet. Nor did he want me massaging his feet.

But he DID want to adopt! So, after becoming a mom to two biological children. we did.

Here I am today. From a husband who had initially only wanted one adopted child… Period. Yes. He ONLY wanted to adopt. And only one child at that. We have six children. We had compromised on two. One adopted, and one biological, because I had wanted to experience pregnancy. Events conspired differently and here we are with two teenagers, two adopted children with special needs, and a set of twins. One of whom has special needs and one of whom also has her own problems and will require surgery in three years’ time when she turns five. Can’t say my house is boring.

And I homeschool the entire bunch. With all their varied needs. Age groups-very different. Abilities..interesting. Global developmental delays, ADHD, autism, probable FASD, visual processing disorder, auditory processing disorder, low muscle tone, sensory processing disorder, speech disorders…

I’m a mom. Just not the mom I planned to be. I thought I’d have these perfect (ie. easy to educate, well-behaved) little children who would read and understand ‘appropriately’ for their age. We would use a normal curriculum and proceed normally through life, and one day they would all leave the nest and I’d be able to relax at last and not be a mom, but be me. Just me. Missionary me. I had it all figured out. I was going to use my psychology qualifications to help women in need either in an NGO or for free. That’s not what has been promised me though. We know for sure that one child will never leave. Will most probably never have a job. Hey, won’t even write exams… Unless a miracle happens, another also will not. And one other..I don’t know. As my husband said, “Maybe she can be a cashier. Anything that won’t tax her brain and make her feel bad. Or I’ll take care of her. She won’t need to finish school, and won’t ever have a job.”

I’m the kind of mom who successful psychiatrists in private practice also doing community work with the under-privileged have asked, “But how do you do it? How do you manage? Your job is difficult! How do you cope with it all? How do you teach them?”

I will password protect those posts. The ones with the reality of special needs-the disorders each specific child has and how it impacts me and them. But because I want to help others navigate what we here in South Africa have, and want to know what others in my situation are doing, or just because I have readers who are genuinely interested and care, feel free to email me (The email address is on the ‘about me’ page) and get the password. If you are not horrible as heard through the grapevine or experienced by me (Like those people who hate that we have adopted children), if you’re not just a curious gawker, I will give it to you.

I still love the Bible. I no longer read fiction. But I love the Author of the Bible more than I ever did before. The Potter has moulded my life and sent it in a direction I never planned on. I hope when all is said and done, He will say “Well done, good and faithful daughter. Enter thou into the REST prepared for you… I will take care of your children here where everything is perfect for them. It’s time to be you. Just you.”

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