I am not a good mother. I’m not. I hate to burst your bubble. I hate to tell you something you don’t want to know. But it’s true.

I. Am. Not. A. Good. Mother.

I try. God, how I try. But it’s so hard. To say that Gavin can push my buttons without even trying…is an understatement. Then when he does try to push my buttons…it’s enough to drive me insane. To say that I’m stressed out and over-whelmed…is a gross understatement. To say that they all try to push my buttons…it drives me to the brink

I love Gavin. More than life itself. I love all of my boys. I would go to the end of the Earth for them. (You know if the Earth weren’t round and had an end. But I digress.) I would give my life. They mean everything to me.

There are days when I am absolutely certain that God placed me on this Earth to be a mother. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be in life. From the time I was a “tween”, I knew I wanted to be a mother. I wanted a house full of kids. Back then I never thought about “special needs” children. I was going to have a house full of perfect little red-headed, blue-eyed children. I was going to be Super Mom.

Now. Well, now I’m not so sure about why God put me here. I know that tween from way back when had absolutely no clue. Not about numbers. Or needs or the ability of one woman to be all things to all people. There are days when I am reasonably sure that God messed up. I wasn’t meant to be a mother at all. I wasn’t meant to have a Special Needs son. Let alone two of them. IF I was meant to be a mother, and I’m still sure that I was, then someone some where has the children that were meant for me. God has screwed up in a major way and given me someone else’s children. He meant to trust someone else this much. Not me. “God never gives up more than we can handle.” Well, he didn’t mean to give me so much. Surely, he meant all this for someone else. There are days I feel this way. Days I believe this way. Days when this is my truth.

I should probably attempt to explain. I know this isn’t coming out right. I’m probably sounding more like a “super whiny mom” and less like the “super crazy overwhelmed donkey-on-the-edge mom” I feel like. Let me try to explain it again.

In actuality my truth is that I’m over-whelmed. Gavin is exhausting. There are mornings when he comes downstairs and looks at me and I’m exhausted because I can see it in his eyes. I can see that he’s not in a good place. I know how that is going to effect everyone’s day. This look in his eyes and this truth exhausts me.

Gavin is creepy. There I said it. I don’t like it. It’s certainly not a statement I’ve ever wanted to make about any of my children; however, it applies. He does creepy things. Rob says that the creepy behaviors have started since he’s entered puberty but that’s not true. He’s always done these things to me. I can remember a time when I had him in the cart at Wal*Mart. I was pushing the cart through the store. He reached up and grabbed and tweaked my breast. Then he gave me the smarmiest grin. It turned my stomach then and it turns my stomach just thinking of it now. He was 4 years old then. He knew what he was doing. Now as he’s entering puberty I’ve watched him grope others – male or female he isn’t particular at this point. So far it’s only been family members. I don’t know if that’s because they are the only ones easily accessible or what. He’s left me out of it until the other day. We had picked him up from school as a family. I left Rob and the Boys in the car while I went into the school to pick him up. While I stood talking to his teacher, Gavin came over and nudged his head under my right arm – much like a cat or dog does with your hand when they want attention and you are “ignoring” them. Then he nuzzled my right breast. I was humiliated, grossed out, shocked. What was I supposed to do with that?! At school no less! Do I take him aside and humiliate him in front of everyone, which promises a horrible night. Hands down. I was screwed. So I did nothing. I stood there. Frozen. Looking at his teacher – just as humiliated and frozen. We stood there. Trying to talk. Looking at each other. But trying not to. I tried to nudge him away. He finally caught on and moved. Then we left.

The relationship I have with Gavin is not what I want. I want to be able to snuggle him and hug him. I can’t do those things because he takes them too far – each time, every time. I don’t even know which family he believes he lives in anymore! Just last night he was gathering his clean pajama’s together to get ready for his shower and this is our conversation:

Gavin: Mom, can I have a hot shower tonight instead of a cold one?”

(Whawhawhat?!?!? I swear that I do not give any of my children cold showers/bathes. Really, I don’t.)

Me: Gavin, what are you talking about??? I always let you feel the temperature of the water first. Have you ever actually taken a cold shower?!

Gavin: No. I just don’t want to.

Me: But. You said. (insert me stammering like a fool)

(This is the part where I engage him in frustrating conversation. I shouldn’t have. I knew I shouldn’t have. But I couldn’t help it. I was trying to get answers. He’s the only one who can give them to me. So I tried. I ended up making my migraine worse.)

Me:  Gavin, what’s going on? First, we are starving you. Now we make you take cold showers. What’s going on with all this?

(Back story to the starving comment: Yesterday, he had just finished breakfast then all three boys had killed a pack of graham crackers when maybe a half hour 45 mins later he came over to me and said, “Mom, oh never mind.” When I asked him what he had wanted he told me that he was going to ask me for a snack but he knew I wouldn’t feed him so he changed his mind.

(Yes, that’s right. I don’t feed him. I admit it. It’s bread and water if I remember to feed him at all. (That’s some heavy, duty sarcasm there, folks. Just so you know.) I do actually feed Gavin. We feed him a lot. We also have to be careful because he does not possess the skill set to self-regulate. So when you and I eat and our stomach signal our brains to say, “Hey you, you’re full!” His stomach either doesn’t send that message. Or if it does send the message his brain doesn’t receive it. So he keeps eating until eventually he vomits. Then he will keep eating until eventually he vomits again. Do we see a pattern here? He’d just keep going because he cannot self-regulate and tell when he is full. So Rob and I play that role for him. We work with Dr. H and the food pyramid to be sure that his dietary needs are met. And we watch what he eats, how much he eats, and when he eats – as much as we can anyway, when his PICA is active and takes over we obviously have no control over that. So I didn’t want anyone to worry. We most certainly do feed Gavin. I swear to you all.)

I just looked at him, completely dumbstruck. I seriously couldn’t believe that he was standing there, claiming that we don’t and wouldn’t feed him. Unbelievable. I told him so. When I confronted him on why he would say such a thing? His only response was, “I don’t know.” Niiiiiice. So my son feels we starve him. He doesn’t know why he feels this way. Only that he does. Can’t wait to see the fall-out from these random statements. Oy.)

Gavin: I don’t know. ….. I just don’t know.

Me: Gavin, please. I need to know… I don’t want you to feel like… We try very hard not to be… OH! I just can’t find the right words.

(Insert me feeling defeated.)

Gavin: Bad parents?

Me: Wha-wha-what?!?!

Gavin: Bad parents? You feel like Bad parents?

Me: No, I don’t feel like a bad parent. I know we do the right things. Dr. H says we are doing the right things. Dr. R backs us up. Patty backs us up. All of your doctors back us up and supports us! They wouldn’t do that if we were doing the wrong thing. I just don’t know how I feel.

Gavin: Oh. I just thought you might feel like a bad parent. That’s all.

(I’ve resigned at this point. He apparently feels we are bad parents who don’t do enough. While I’m sorry he feels that way, I don’t agree. I know we do right by him. It may not be cake and candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But we give him what a growing 10-year-old needs. We love him. We care for him. We make sure his needs are met. So I gave up on the conversation.)

Me: Gavin, is this water hot enough for you?

Gavin: Yes, that’s Hot.

Me: Good. Please take your shower. Wash and rinse your hair. Wash and rinse your body. Turn off the water. Please, please, please, be sure to DRY everything off – including your hair when you get out of the shower.

Then I left the room. I was done. I had a pounding, raging migraine. I was crushed. It hurt, a lot, to learn that Gavin felt we were taking adequate care of him. It hurt even more to realize there was little to nothing we could do to change his mind. Most moments with my relationship with Gavin are painful and crushing. No mother ever wants to hear the things I’ve heard about my son.  “There’s a very real chance he could be a sexual predator if we don’t curb those behaviors NOW.” or “You have plenty of time but he just needs to function enough to live in a group home and hold a part-time job somewhere – like the Photo Department at Walgreens or the Circle K.” My little boy who could have done great and wonderful things is now sentenced to work at the Photo Department or the Circle K. This too, breaks my heart.

These little things. Things I don’t often share because they are dark and painful. Things that are not pretty. They are my truths.

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