If you met me today, you would say that I was a fighter. A strong woman who won’t take sass from anyone. Such was not always the case. I suppose I have always been competitive. In fact, I’m Sure I’ve always been competitive both with myself and others. We may be friends, but if you play a card game with me the gloves come off! 😉 Fighting however is a different matter altogether. Being sexually abused stunted my growth in so many ways.I didn’t get the chance to learn to fight small skirmishes and build my stamina over the years. I lost the first battle. A huge battle. And the scars went to the core. Instead of coming out of it with my fists raised to the sky I learned to contract into myself. Curl into a little roly poly until the danger passes. If fighting and losing was going to hurt that badly then why do it at all.
Then I had my son. There’s something about holding a tiny defenseless baby that smells like heaven.Instinct and love tell you that you must do whatever it takes to protect this child. That’s what ‘good’ parents do, right? What if you don’t know how to fight? What if the idea of it grips you with terror? If my son asked me how I learned to fight, I’d tell him this:
From the time I was pregnant I fought the nausea, the weight gain, the labor pains. When they let me take you home, I fought the panic that I had no idea what I was doing.
I warred against insecurity, ignorance, and impatience.
Croup, ear infections,and teething became my world and I fought for sleep.I wrestled to comfort you, quiet you, soothe you to no avail.In the morning I went to work and fought to stay awake.
I fought to maintain your home in the face of my divorce and when your father threatened to abduct you, I fought to hide you and keep you safe in my arms.
As a single mom I struggled to support us, to find time with you between jobs, to make sure you felt loved and not left.
School was hard for you and I campaigned for your education, to understand you, to support you.
They diagnosed you soon with ADD and then with Bipolar disorder and I rose up against dread. I battled to get appointments, good doctors, the right medications. I pushed against their assumptions of your bleak future and counter argued with hope.I devoured every piece of information on mental illness and armed myself with knowledge.
As you slept at night and I sat by your bed and cried. I fought the fear that I could never be worthy of being the parent you needed. I cried out to God for the strength to be your champion.
I waged war with broken school systems and burned out teachers. I stood strong during IEP meetings and counseling sessions. I became the parent who wouldn’t take back down because of bureaucracy.
I fought bad influences and bullies. Internet filth and video game overload.
In the most challenging combat I put myself as a barrier between you and your stepfather’s cruelty. Some battles I won, but too many were lost. Paralyzing fear attempted to keep me down but with each encounter I slowly learned to stand for us.
I endeavored to discipline you, teach you , love you, protect you. Sometimes; many times; from yourself.
I fought my own demons and dark.
I went to war on my knees in fervent prayer. Over and over and over.
I fought against you. You fought against me. And sometimes, we fought together.
When you became my prodigal son I fought to teach you responsibility, accountability, consequences. I fought to be a good parent (whatever that is)
You pulled away and I fought to be part of your world, to let you go without losing you, to accept your differences, and to make you know that my love was eternal.
Fighting for you gave me strength. Praying for you deepened my faith. With every blow I landed for you another one of my own demons went down and I found my armor, piece by piece. My son, I know I gave you life, but you gave me back mine.