I can’t breathe. My heart is broken… shattered, really. For 21, almost 22 years, my life has been largely defined by motherhood. I have devoted my life to being the best mom I know how to be, even in the midst of some less than ideal circumstances. We never had much money. Instead of taking a “career path”, I chose to be home with my children. It was my hope to instill in my children the values of hard work, respect for others, love of family and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I tried to teach them to value people over possessions.

Of course, along with trying to be a good mother, I tried to be a good, godly wife. I failed. I didn’t respect my husband. At times I probably hated him. Mostly I was just frustrated with him. I felt voiceless, so I yelled constantly. You know what? If someone isn’t going to listen to you when you speak to them in a normal voice, they sure as heck won’t to listen to you when you’re yelling at them in anger.  Eventually we divorced. As much pain as a troubled marriage causes kids, I think divorce causes them more, even when they see it coming. It stinks.

So I was no longer a wife. But I was still a mom. Having children taught me more about the depth of true love than I could ever imagine. It gave me a deeper understanding of God’s love and God’s sacrifice for us. I can’t imagine not being a mom. I can’t imagine not loving my children. I would fight to the death for them. I would sacrifice anything for them. I’ve had to make some really, really hard decisions to benefit them; decisions that probably seemed very harsh and unloving to them at the time. The thing about decisions is you can’t unmake them. Once you make a decision and act on it, it’s done.  I wonder frequently if I’ve made the right ones.

As I see my teenage/young-adult children struggle, I wonder what I could have done differently. What could I have done better? I’ve had the chance to be a wife again. My new husband tells me I’m a wonderful wife.  However, since I’ve gotten married my children are leaving, and not in the “I’m going to college and pursue a career, building on the foundation you’ve laid for me” kind of way I imagined for my children. They’re leaving in the “I don’t like the changes that have occurred. I’m depressed and gonna make some bad choices that will rip your heart out and reject all your values” kind of way. I’m just left wondering why I can’t be a good wife and a good mother at the same time. I’m angry. I’m hurt. I’m scared. I wanna fight for my kids. I don’t want to lose them. But I don’t know who or what to fight, or how.

On a positive note, my oldest (who is now out of her teen years) is coming back around. She survived. But not without bumps, bruises, and scars.

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