So I just finished watching the season finale of This is Us and it made me think about how I was the engine in my family too.
If you haven't seen it or don't watch it a quick non spoiler version - Rebecca (the Mom) is in a small car accident and ends up in the hospital for a single night. In the wee hours of the morning Jack and the kids show up because they miss her and can't function without her. Jack tries to explain to a nurse why she should let them go see her even though it is not visiting hours and compares their family a car, Rebecca is the engine and without her nothing else works. The nurse lets them go see her even though it isn't visiting hours yet.
They talk through out the episode about how she is the Mom who knows and gets it, about how she used to do the little bit more so that everyone knew they were loved. I think in many ways that was me too. I so wanted our little family to be something my children would remember and I worked so hard to make sure that they got love notes in their lunches, did crafts, tried new things, travelled and got all the things I never did like a Mom who listened and volunteered at their school
I thought I had done a pretty good job for all of them. I tried really hard to make their world a happy place because I knew how crappy it had been for all of them.
Then a year and a half after Kate moved in I got sick, I have a long list of autoimmune issues that have forever changed my life. In 2015 the day after Kate's 9th birthday my car was rear ended and the result was a mild traumatic brain injury that effects my daily life and as a result my kids lives. I am not physically the same Mom I was in 2008 when we started being a family. That means I have a lot of guilt about not being able to do the things with Kate that I used to do with her brothers and wish I could do more.
There are a lot of layers to that guilt but it is also about me letting go of what I thought I would be at this point in my parenting journey. I am not that person and I can't go back to doing many of the things I used to do but my family is also not what I dreamed it would be.
I wish we could just wrap things up neat and tidy like they do in 50 minute episode on TV. Instead I wander through my days wondering when something is going to make burst into tears because I miss my boys or when my body will hurt so much that all I want to do it stay in bed and hide from the world.