The hardest part about having a parent who is so sick is the nonstop battle that you mentally go through. The battle between the Little Girl Jenn and the Mom Jenn. Both want to be in control. Both want to have their way and do what is best for everyone involved. Okay, so maybe Girl Jenn is a bit more selfish and really only wants what is best for only herself. Who can blame her?
Everyday I have been sitting beside my Mom’s bed and either talking to her or reading or just sitting there holding her hand and just being with her. Every part of my day and night revolved around schedules. Schedules of who would be at the hospital at what times and who would be at home taking care of the younger children. Personally, I wanted to just stay at the hospital all day. I hated when my shift was up. It was draining and it was mentally exhausting, but I was there with my Mommy. That is all I wanted. But, I had to share and take turns with my sister. (Being the younger sister I was able to pout enough to be able to stay longer on most days.) As you can see, Little Girl Jenn was in charge. Even when I was the person in charge of the younger children, I was still mentally with my Mom.
The amazing thing about Clint is that I never once worried about how the boys were doing at home. I knew he was taking good care of them. When we talked at night, never once did I have to ask about problems or snags in their day. When we talked, I was able to just lean on Clint and draw strength from his love and support. Mom Jenn was off duty. When I spoke to the kids, they told me that things were going well and they sounded great. I knew they would be fine.
But let’s face it. Over a week and a half with their Mom gone under such “scary” circumstances is bound to take it’s toll on young kids. I knew that it was going to be soon that Girl Jenn had to hand over the reigns to Mom Jenn and I would have to go back home to my family. After talking to Zarek and hearing how he was beginning to struggle at school, at soccer and at home, I knew the time had come to return to Dallas.
Little Girl Jenn finally realized she had to let the Mom Jenn take over. That night I sat beside my Dad and cried like the little girl I felt I was at that moment. I sobbed and told him how much I didn’t want to go and how hard it would be to leave Mom and just rely on phone calls from them to hear how she is doing. Dad just let me cry it out. I pulled it together and called the boys to let them know that I would be coming home the next day. They were overjoyed to know I would be home.
The next morning, I went to the hospital to say goodbye to Mom and let her know I had to go back to the boys. She cried but said it was what I should do. (Well, actually she nodded and squeezed my hand. I knew that she of all people would be the first to tell me that I needed to get my ass home to my children where I was needed.) Then she gave me just what I needed with a strong (for her weakened state) “I love you.” I did great. Until I walked out of her ICU room. Then I lost it and sobbed. The nurse was amazing and just hugged me and told me to call the hospital as many times as I wanted to check up on her.
I am back home now. I can see that it has helped Zarek quite a bit. I can see it made a difference for him just to have me home. I know it has helped Brandon (even if he is too cool to tell me or let anyone know that he actually is happy having his mom back home). And I know it must be a great load off of Clint’s shoulders to have me back so he can hand over the Mr. Mom role. He has been amazing through all of this. Truthfully, the best part of being home is letting him just hold me so that I can let go of the fear, the pain and the pressures that I have let build up throughout all of this. My rock.
When I left, Mom was off of the ventilator and her numbers were looking better. She was still in ICU (so therefore critical) but she seemed to be doing better. Breathing was hard for her, but she was doing it. Two days after I left, she is now back on the ventilator, her kidneys have had a bit of a set-back and she is sad. My heart is shattered. And scared. And torn.
In all honesty, I have to tell you that the Little Girl Jenn is pissed to be back here in Dallas. Every night she cries. Every morning in the shower she cries. Every chance she gets she begs Mom-Jenn to go back to Houston to be with their Mommy. Let me tell you, Mom-Jenn is getting weaker and weaker in her resolve to stay put. The truth is, she wants to be back in Houston, too. I want so badly to go back to Mom. I don’t want to be the Mom here. I don’t want to be responsible. I don’t want to think about homework, soccer or housecleaning. I don’t want to make sure the pantry is stocked and the kids have lunch ready to go. I don’t care right now. I want to go be with my Mom. That is all I want. And right now I am sad and depressed that I cannot be there.
Is that completely selfish? What kind of Mom am I that all I can think of is leaving again and letting my boys stay here and cope without me around to help out? What kind of Mom doesn’t want to be a mom right now because all she wants to be is a daughter with her own Mom and helping her Dad stay strong and not be so alone in the big house? What kind of Mom cannot even find joy in her own children because she is too sad and scared and depressed? What kind of person am I?
Like I said, the hardest part of having a parent this sick is the nonstop battle that rages within your mind and heart. For the record, this sucks.