A Mother’s Confession

Yesterday continues to haunt me.  It was a day filled with annoyances, irritations and frustrations.  No, there wasn’t a singular event or episode responsible for my sour mood.  But there I was, mad at the world and swinging at anyone who dared to come near.  The casualties?  Those closest to me, of course. 

Fortunately, my Husband was far away.  (No doubt, he will claim he wasn’t far enough away.)  And my daughter is too young to remember her Mother being cross and short-tempered.  (At least, I hope.) 

It started with my Husband leaving us.  He had to go on a business trip.  Yes, I expect that from time to time.  Indeed, I even welcome such travel at times.  But I do not sleep well when we are apart.  To make matters worse, that evening glass of wine that just might allow me to drift into a peaceful slumber is off-limits when he’s out of town.  After all, what if an emergency occurs and I need to drive somewhere.  You understand.  To make matters worse, our daughter has been sleeping soundly through the night, while I lie awake tossing and turning. 

Add to my insomnia that fact my iPhone has decided to die a slow and untimely death.  It was purchased a year and half ago and shows only the Apple logo against a black screen.  Truthfully, sometimes there is a red or white screen and sometimes the logo is obscured by lines of code.  Not a good sign, I know.  My iPhone is my MagicJack–how I call the States without incurring international fees.  It’s also my access to news, weather, Facebook, Whatsapp, and iMessage.  It’s my camera.  It’s my address book.  It’s my e-mail.  It’s my translation services.  It’s my GPS.  It’s my entertainment.  And it is my phone.  Since its demise, I’ve been unable to ring to make a doctor’s appointment, send Happy Valentine’s wishes to friends via text, or call clients.  (We don’t have a home phone; my office phone doesn’t work.  Really.)  Perhaps, worst of all, I’ve learned that my iPhone has become a security blanket of sorts.  I’m nervous driving without it.  After all, what would I do if I were to get into an accident?  Now, that’s academic as I’m without any of the contact numbers I would need to call (e.g., base police, my husband, my insurance company).  Indeed, I don’t even have my Husband’s telephone number memorized.  (Yes, I remember, he’s not on-Island, so what difference does it make, right?) 

Aside from being sleepy, isolated, worried, and unproductive, my mind largely is elsewhere at the moment.  I’m thinking about loved ones who I miss and care for deeply, wishing I could be closer to them, even if just for a moment.  I’m thinking about my clients who are being transferred to attorneys with little experience, as I’m preparing to leave my (volunteer) job by the end of the month.  I’m thinking of our son waiting for us in Korea.  And I’m thinking about where we might be called to next.

For me, this was the perfect storm.  Patience?  Ha.  Kindness?  Not so much.  Love?  Not so sure.  After asking [S] not to touch my computer, I told her not to touch my computer.  And then I reprimanded her for, again, touching my computer.  The computer that was trying perform a factory reset on my iPhone.  Yes, she started crying.  Then she started screaming.  Having no patience and feeling exasperated, I thought the unthinkable:  You don’t have enough love or patience to be a Mother.  Minutes later, after arguing with my Husband about whether he was listening to me, I had a similar thought:  You don’t have enough love or patience to be a Partner. 

In that moment I understood why people walk away from it all.  They don’t think they are good enough, strong enough, kind enough, loving enough, patient enough, understanding enough to be what they have to be or to do what they have to do.  They think walking away is easier.  And maybe it is. 

Personally, I was horrified by my feelings.  But as certain as I am that I love my family, I am equally certain that I questioned whether I’m able to be the wife and mother my husband and daughter need and deserve.  Being able to articulate my feelings made me understand that I’m far from the first mother or spouse who has wondered about her adequacy to fill the venerated family roles of comforter and caregiver or questioned her ability to be her best self at all times.  Still reeling from the emotions of yesterday, this morning I considered what I need to make me the best partner and mother I can be.  It when then I realized, a working iPhone would be a good starting point. 

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