The Muddy Carpet

Parenting and Love Never Ends

I always wanted to be a mom. I had great difficulty becoming one. My body just wouldn't accept a tiny being that wanted to gestate and grow inside of me. That's why I view my children as gifts from God. They are miracles for me. Their entering my world completed me in every way.

Fast forward 16 years and I 'm sitting in my living room...looking at mud soaked into my carpet. My children are presently away and I shake my head at the three, hairy beasts responsible for the physical destruction of my carpet. I then look into my soul and realize that this muddy carpet describes how I am feeling about myself as a woman, a single mom and a person that is constantly trying to figure out her niche in life. No matter how many times I think I am tidying up our lives, something comes into our day, week or month and spills grimy, dirty mud upon us again. It's not so much the mud on the carpet that upsets me. It is the struggle to keep my life clear of clutter and unneccassary junk that seems to load me down.

Much of my life has been spent trying to raise two people so that they will become happy, well adjusted adults. There have been hardships we have all had to deal with. My awful marriage and tumultuous divorce from their father wasn't fair to them and they suffered a kind of pain that I was helpless in being able to take away. I knew that it changed them in a way that I had never wanted them to experience. Their vision of security and bliss was a lie in their minds and these two abstract nouns didn't really exist. This has been an ongoing mess that I still feel incompetent in being able to clean up for them.

I have tried for years to keep the "house" clean. The house being their perceptions of life in general. I so wanted them to see the painted, evening sky and take in the miracle of it. I wanted them to feel a soft breeze on their face and realize that love can touch us in the softest and most invisible ways. I wanted them to know that whenever their mother appeared to be struggling, it was my own attempt to find a bit of sanity in this world.

Now, I sit and stare at my muddy carpet; the third day of it and I find it hard to find the strength to dispel of the grime. My children, growing into young adults themselves, are finding all too soon that people and situations that they encounter don't have an explanation. They are seeing that their mother is breaking under stresses beyond her control and they have realized that their father; no matter how much their mother has tried, will never show any grace or kindness where she is concerned.

I didn't know parenting was so difficult. Keeping everything tidy and keeping the stains at bay. I cannot bring myself to muster up the strength to clean this damn carpet. Staring at it makes me feel helpless and a failure. I never thought that I'd be raising my kids on my own. I thought love and encouraging words would lift my children up and save them from falling into the cynical, mind stealing nuances of life. As protective of my kids as I have been, they view things with a negativity that knocks the wind out of me. My son believes that happiness is unattainable. My daughter creates an image in her mind that I am often the enemy. My relationship with them teeters between the unknown and my fear that I am not saying or doing enough.

This filthy carpet beneath my feet is a symbol of my inability to instill within my children the carefree, innocence that I had hoped they would maintain longer than they have. No matter how much I interject myself into their life, and attempt to influence their choices and decisions, it seems that my attempts to keep a clean house are futile despite my perseverance.

I am struggling with how to handle this time in my life. Letting them go so they can spread their wings and me sitting in the nest, knowing that they will fall and get injured and there isn't much that I can do to help them. I only hope that they will always know that I am their home with carpets that will always need cleaning. That home is my beating heart that will always contain room for them; despite the stains that life leaves in their own house.


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