You know, when I was a little girl, after I had already lost my arm, I thought about what my own kids would think of me. I worried they would be embarrassed that their mom was different. I was afraid they wouldn't want me to be around their friends because they were ashamed I only had one arm. This is how my thoughts worked. It's how they still work. I'm always living in the future and always living in the "what am I gonna do 5 years from now when such 'n' such happens..." It's not such a great way to live because we don't know the future and we have no control over it. I actually think God keeps handing me life's lemons because I just can't let go.
After I wrote my accident story last year, I let go of a lot of my self image issues. A LOT. I stopped walking around, worried people would ask me what happened to my arm. I finally stopped letting it control my life. I started letting my right arm show in pictures. This was fucking huge, y'all. I was pretty proud of myself, I let go of something I had held onto for 19 long years.
Even though I had let most of it go, there was still that wonder in the back of my mind, "what will Kaleb think and will he be embarrassed in front of his friends?"
I know this is silly. I know it's silly because if one of you were telling me this, I'd be all, "girl, please, kids don't care about that, you're his mommy, he thinks you're perfect and that's all that matters." But some how, when you're in the middle of the insecurities, you can't tell yourself shit. All I can tell you is, it's true, I care about what people think and it's not my proudest virtue.
What's really stupid though, why do I care what kids think? Why am I worried what Kaleb's friends will say? I worry about that because I want Kaleb to feel like he fits in. I want him to feel like he's normal like every other kid. I never had that. I was always the different one. I was ALWAYS the tall one and then I quickly became the one with one arm. When you have the personality and the tendency to just want to fit in, being different is such a bitch. I hated my childhood because of this. I hated that not only was I bigger than everyone else, I stood out like a sore thumb. I even wanted to change my name to something like 'Jennifer' or 'Ashley' just so I'd have something that was like others.
Fitting in and wanting to be like others is something I'll always battle with. I feel like I had just gotten over the "I look different" thing and then Charles died. Now, everywhere I go, I'm the 30-yr old widow who also had a tragic accident when she was younger. I can't get away from it.
For about 2 weeks now, every time I go to pick up Kaleb from daycare, all the other kids (who are a tad older than K) run up to me at the door and say, "you have 1 arm???" Basically, I'm pretty sure it started with the oldest kid there noticing and the others just followed suit. It's just what kids do. So now, it's like a habit or routine for them to say that.
As soon as they start, I always look at Kaleb to see what he's going to do. He never pays any attention to it. He's far too worried about getting his backpack and getting to go home.
Today, when I got out of the car, they all saw me through the window and they must have told him something about my arm because the minute I walked in he said, "Mommy!! You have owie?!? One arm??"
I was totally blown away. I mean, I guess I shouldn't have been but it was the first time he noticed and he was like, "holy shit, you kids are right, my mom just has the 1 arm!!"
As soon as I confirmed with him that he was correct, he backed up into me and pointed at the other kids and said, 'this is MY mommy! My mommy! Kaleb's mommy!" with a huge smile on his face.
I'm at a place in my life where I really feel God is testing me. It's not a bad thing, per say, but I really feel like he's trying to teach me lessons and seeing how much I can take. There are some days I feel an unreasonable amount of unfairness in my life and I feel overwhelmed, but not today at 5:20 p.m.
Kaleb showed me, that despite me imperfections, despite our disagreements at night, despite the fact his mommy is different and feels like she's got a spotlight on her at all times, despite all that, he was proud to call me his mommy. I know we have a long way to go, I know he's not old enough to understand what "fitting in" means, but today, I was "Kaleb's mommy" and he wasn't about to let his friends say any different.