I try not to get too far ahead of myself. I don’t like to think too far into the future because it causes major anxiety and self consciousness. I have long term goals and I am very much a dreamer, but I prefer to keep myself planted as closely to the present moment as I possibly can.
So when my mom started talking about ten years from now I started to get a little skittish. She began the conversation with how old she will be by then, continuing on to how old the girls (my nieces) will be, and then comes the bomb: “At that point things are going to start falling more on you.”
This momentarily paralyzed me.
Not for the fact that this thought had never entered my mind. It is with me in nearly every decision I make about my life and my future. To hear it coming from someone else though, actualizing the thought and reality, terrified me.
I’m not ready!
My situation is somewhat unique, although sadly not uncommon these days. Due to circumstances outside of our control my mom and I are raising my two darling nieces, ages 7 and 1. And even though I have chosen not to have my own children, I do love parenting these two little ones, watching them evolve as people and being a big part of their everyday lives. For not wanting to ever be a mom I do love and appreciate my role as a “parent.”
This is not an easy situation to be in. It seems like just as we start to gain some footing there is another wrench thrown into the wheel. It is highly unpredictable. But we manage. We do the best we can, we love as much and as hard as we can, and we do it because we are family.
It has been my goal for a few years to be the main caretaker of Reilly, my eldest niece. She and I have this intense bond and anyone who knows of our relationship would attest to that. So needing to have a plan, stability, and a means to get by have been at the top of my list. I knew I needed to be able to provide for her and give her the best life possible within my means. It felt manageable and inspiring.
Then along came baby and everything was turned upside down, especially because of the situation from which she came to live with us. It has been a rough few months for me. My depression was raging for a long while. The intense motivation I had at the beginning soon crumbled all around me leaving me exhausted, bitter, and out of sorts. Only recently have I been able to really face the situation head on and begin to make peace with it.
I want to heal the broken parts of me so I can be better for these kids. And coming to grips with the reality of being more responsible for these two precious lives is a heavy weight on my shoulders. I often wonder how I will ever be able to do it and God forbid I have to do it on my own… I try not to let my mind wander there.
Thirty three is inching closer and closer with each passing day, and I am so far from being “there,” from feeling “ready.” I am the type that likes to be prepared ahead of time for everything. So the thought of being mostly, or solely, responsible for two more lives is freaking me out!
And I know this is exactly what parenting is all about, but it is completely different when you are planning for and wanting it than when it is thrust upon you with absolutely no warning.
I constantly wonder, will I ever be ready? What are my next moves? How do I prepare for this?
I have absolutely no idea!
All I can do is my best though, right? I have to keep these kids at the front and as the reason for nearly everything I do. And head toward the future face forward.
Is that how this parenting thing goes? Am I doing this right?