This is for the momma at the end of her rope. The one who has reached rock bottom and isn’t sure there is a way out of the pit.
Three years ago I was in that place. This week, through a series of posts, I will be sharing with you the story of how I hit rock bottom and how I ultimately discovered the way back up. The story originally took place over three days, so I will publish it in three posts. I am actively praying for any momma who is in that place. May my story bring you comfort and hope in your journey.
Part 1: On Wounded Knee
It was a Thursday morning. My daughter, who is a close resemblance to many of my personality traits, tripped on a sidewalk the prior evening and scraped her knee. At the sight of blood, she realized that her knee was severely damaged and likely to fall off. At least, I gathered as much because that’s the way I would have felt in such a situation at her age. What else was there to do but scream and cry at the excruciating pain?
However, even I wasn’t quite prepared for how dramatically her knee had been injured.
I spent all day, as graciously I could, navigating the waters of the wounded knee. I let the girls watch a movie much earlier than usual so her knee “could rest”. I empathized when the change of bandages brought fresh blood and tears. I held her hand as she hopped from room to room on one foot.
Eventually, she graduated to limping tenderly, and I was full of gratitude for the improvement.
The whining, however, was grating on my nerves. Every moan, groan, and whimper was causing my body to tense up, and I could feel the anger simmering. I needed to get out of the house and get my body moving to relieve some of the tension.
My daughter, on the other hand, resisted the idea of any sort of movement. Climb into her carseat? Are you kidding? Such an effort was quite likely to end up causing her knee to make contact with the car, or the seat, or the air, and thus the whining amplified.
I was aware of my anger enough at this point to know that I needed a change of scenery in order to maintain my sanity. I pushed back on her push back, and we eventually made it to the gym for my Zumba class.
In the end, even Zumba wasn’t going to be enough of a release for my anger. Matters had only just begun.
Our outing had merely intensified the pain of the knee. The ride home was full of wailing - despite my personal protests. Logical explanations with an appeal for my own emotions were not going to deter my daughter from her main objective to protect her knee at all costs. My plans were hindering her plans.
Getting out of the car and into our house was a complete disaster. Her cries and screams became increasingly more intense and my patience was rubbing ever thinner.
The trek involved some stomping and sputtering and huffing on my part. Another day, I would have separated myself and turned the tv back on, but I couldn’t right then because circumstances were escalating:
My other daughter had a minor accident that required attending to.
The child with the wounded knee was screaming bloody murder, so I rather forcefully placed her in her room so I could clean up her sister. The screams remained panicked, and when I re-entered the room, I had an unpleasant discovery awaiting me. My daughter was standing in a puddle of urine, because, I would later discover, she couldn’t use the restroom without sliding her shorts over her dilapidated knee.
I quite literally lost all of my marbles.
Y’all, I had it. I was done. My limit had been reached. She screamed, I screamed, we all screamed for something other than ice cream. I yelled at her to clean up, she refused, and I marched loudly into the other room. It was a BAD day.
Eventually, maybe an hour later, everything and everyone was cleaned up and my sweet little girl was magically happy again. I was not. I sat on the floor and bawled my eyes out because I felt like a failure of a parent. I had screamed at my child and thrown my own temper tantrum. Somewhere in that awful mix of events, I had kicked a wall. I was convinced my parenting was going to scar my children for life and I was the worst influence on the face of the planet.
I needed help. I clung to the knowledge that I was scheduled for a counseling appointment the next morning. Perhaps there was hope for me yet.
In part 2, I’ll share the details of that counseling session with you.