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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Get My Freak On

I will never forget my first meal after giving birth to my first son. It was 4 a.m. and the nurse brought be a package of Graham crackers and a small container of peanut butter. I hadn't eaten in 22 hours, and anything I had eaten previously had been thrown up. 

I ripped open the package and devoured it, dropping little crumbs all over my newborn's head.  I then ate the peanut butter like it was going out of style, even using my finger to scrape out the tiny bit I couldn't reach with my knife, or truth be told, my tongue. It was so graceful to watch; I'm sure.

When my blood sugar finally leveled out, I began to try and feed my son for the 3rd time since he was born. It wasn't easy, he knew what he was supposed to do, but I was still trying to figure it out.  I had to put my nipple in his mouth, and I used my finger to get his tongue down so I could put it in there.

He too ate like he had never eaten before, come to think of it, he hadn't. When he finally finished, the nurse came in to take him to the nursery so I could rest.   Don left to take a shower at home, and I began to fall asleep until I was hit in the face with a punch called worry.  It occurred to me that my baby could be allergic to peanuts, and I had just poisoned him.

I frantically hit the call button for the nurse, called my husband, mom, sister, anyone and told them what I had done. Mind you, I had absolutely no basis to think that he was allergic to peanuts.  

By the time the nurse arrived, I had already gotten my freak on, and she assured me that Parker was just fine.  And he was. Looking back, I created something to worry about because everything just felt too perfect.

I may also mention that I have a major issue with anxiety. And I'm a little bit of a freak.

Fast forward 12 years to last week after Parker had a horrible night at lacrosse practice.  I had been working late all that week, and I already felt like I had been neglecting my children. He asked to speak to me in our bedroom, and as soon as I shut the door he fell to the bed sobbing.  I tried to figure it out, but I didn't know what was wrong. I asked if someone had said something to him that made him feel so terrible.  

I could here the bass start in my heart to Missy Elliott's song "Get UR Freak on."

Watching your child in emotional pain, may be one of the worst feelings ever imaginable. It's a punch in the heart that you can't stop and with every beat, it hurts just a little bit more.  He couldn't articulate why he was so distraught. So just like I freaked when I thought I had accidently killed him with peanut butter, I went into freak mode. If I had a transcript of all the texts I sent in the next 5 minutes, it would be amusing, to say the least.  I contacted his coach, my friend who is a father and familiar with lacrosse, my brother and that was just the first minute.  I wanted to know if anyone knew what was said to him to make him feel this way.  And more importantly, what I could do to fix it.

We sat on the bed and although since his birth he has gained 110 lbs. I still held him like he was that 9 lb. baby.

When he calmed down, he finally explained that he was the worst on the team and that he wanted to quit. 

Oh God, haven't we all been there.  I have wanted to quit so many times, but not with anything athletic; it is always with something academic.  When I don't feel like I'm smart enough, or I don't want to embarrass myself in front of a group of people with my lack of knowledge of things that I should just know.

But one thing I will never even think of quitting is being his mom.  And biologically it isn't an option, but metaphorically, mother's quit on their children all the time.

I wanted so badly to ease his pain and tell him it was okay to quit. That I'm fine with his quitting, but I couldn't do it.   These painful moments are what are going to make him a stronger kid, a stronger man, and stronger person.  I can't let him see me give up on him.  So I told him that wasn't an option.

I then shared that I took my college Algebra class 3 times before I finally passed. 

I don't know if he was listening, but through his puffy eyes, he told me he was going to go upstairs to his bedroom. But before he did, I read him a few of the texts I had gotten back from the people I had text ambushed.  When I finished,  he had already fallen fast asleep.

I may suck at math, but we all have things we are good at, for me, it is freaking out. 

The next morning I found him at the breakfast table, hair a mess, eating a bagel with peanut butter ironically.  I hesitated to bring it up, but I asked him if he was okay. He glanced up with sleep eyes and asked what I was talking about.   I reminded him of our conversation, and he said, "Oh that? Yeah, I think I was just super tired."

He was just tired.  And now I was because I didn't sleep well because I was too busy getting my freak on. But not a good kind of getting my freak on, the bad mother kind.

He had already moved on, or if he hadn't, he was choosing to power through and for that, I was as proud of him. Almost as I proud as the first time he figured out how to eat, even that took us a few times to figure it out.

I will gladly rip myself into heart shaped pieces if it helps makes him feel whole.

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