wings and things

Being a mother

on October 22, 2012

Until five years ago, when Anthony’s health began to deteriorate dramatically, I think I was a pretty good mother to Ming. I kicked the football with him, played games with him, listened to his young teenage philosophies, rescued him from a school he hated and attempted home-schooling, took him to a psychologist when he became depressed, watched Black Books and The IT Crowd with Ming and Ants so we could all laugh together. But at the same time, things got much worse in terms of Anthony’s health and Ming and I began to share the ‘night shift’ of helping Ants to the loo, sometimes 3-4 times per night. I only asked Ming to do this once a week but it still took its toll on him emotionally. For me it took its toll physically and I ended up in hospital for a week with a severe asthma flu caused, the drs said, from exhaustion and sleep deprivation. It was at this point that my job at the university began to curl away from my grasp because, as soon as I was well again, I had to become a fulltime carer for Ants and the rest is history.

Tonight, Ming and I had another horrible row and we talked around in circles until I finally hit the nail on the head by asking him if his anger and frustration might be because I had stopped being a mother. He hesitated before saying to me that it had all been Dad, Dad, Dad, for years.

Oh the heartache of realizing that this beautiful son of mine/ours stopped being a child at around 14 because I unwittingly stopped being his mother and, instead, kept asking for his help with Anthony. Of course he was never neglected or unfed or abandoned. Of course he was adored, appreciated and cared for, but my preoccupation with Anthony’s deteriorating health was all-consuming and, yes, Ming is right – it was all Dad, Dad, Dad, until tonight. From now on it is going to be Ming, Ming, Ming.

63 responses to “Being a mother

  1. adinparadise says:

    It must be so difficult for you to share yourself out fairly, when Anthony needs so much care and attention. I’m so glad you’ve realised what the problem is, and it’s not too late to rectify it. πŸ™‚ Lovely photo of you and your dear son.

  2. Mmm, that sounds good but what about You, You, You? Don’t lose yourself.

  3. and so life moves on as it should–it takes work to get at the core of things

  4. I understand where your guilt (if I may use that word) is coming from, and I appreciate your commitment to Ming, Ming, Ming. But don’t be so hard on yourself. Life happens, certain family members need more attention than others and it is a good lesson to learn to care for them – even for a 14 year-old. Families stick together and care for each other.

    Just my 2 cents – hope you don’t mind. ❀

  5. viveka says:

    Julie, that was what I thought was the problem for him … of course he should be Ming so long as possible, but he didn’t want to let you down. Good luck to you both .. he are such a handsome young man – if I had been 42 years younger .. I would been on a flight.

  6. Northern Narratives says:

    Years from now, he will think you the best mother in the whole world πŸ™‚

  7. bulldogsturf says:

    Julie whilst looking after and getting Ming right, please don’t forget about Julie, Julie, Julie… your own health and happiness is as important as theirs is… if you go down now then they have nothing, please remember that… you have to be healthy and happy to look after them… you still come first… something happens to you… they have nothing… sorry to say that but it’s true….

  8. terry1954 says:

    I hope this helps Ming. You two need to stick together!!! He needs you and you need him

  9. sbcallahan says:

    just don’t forget you you you

  10. cecilia says:

    Good girl.. but be gentle, don’t scare the poor fella.. now off you go, out to dinner the pair of ya! His choice, mama’s wallet.. works for my kids!! c

  11. FlaHam says:

    Julie, This brought a tear to my eye it was such a heart felt post. I have never had to deal with what you have dealt with. So I have to use my imagination, and it’s a picture of many levels, but LOVE is always in the view. You have an extreme amount of strength and love in you and Ming is so lucky to have you as his mom. I am sure you will continue to be supportive, and I know neither Ming or Anthony will suffer. But my dear, through it all you need to remember you. Please take care, Bill

  12. niasunset says:

    Good Luck to you both, I can almost understand you, but think of yourself too. Ming has a wonderful mother and friend but you have a wonderful son too. Blessing and Happiness to you both. Love, nia

  13. tersiaburger says:

    Children are selfish. You did what you had to do… We have no control over the cards that we are dealt. It is so easy to place blame… You did what you had to do. If you had deserted Ants Ming would have hated you for that. You did your best. You cannot do more. Please do not beat yourself up! Be as gentle with yourself as you have been with your son and husband! Cyber hugs and good wishes to you.

  14. dogdaz says:

    We don’t always get the family we want but we get the one we need. There are many things Ming has learned from his family, though sometimes not easy lessons. Looks like you are a thoughtful and caring Mom to me.

    • jmgoyder says:

      His rages always shock me so I need to develop a new way of reacting or else not reacting ha!

      • dogdaz says:

        We have one of those. Sometimes it is just really hard and no matter how motherly or wise you are, they will go through what they go through. Many kids grow up in a home where they have to help, or they totally, take care of a sick parent. That is life. Keep being the caring a person you are and set your boundaries around his rage.

  15. susielindau says:

    It is never too late! Beautiful photo of beautiful people!

  16. victoriaaphotography says:

    In no particular order I think it should be Ming, Anthony, Julie OR Julie, Anthony, Ming.

    There’s 3 people in this family of yours – all 3 of you deserve equal time and thought.

    Perhaps you don’t need to put Ming first, you just need to equalise the time between all 3. Now that Anthony is ‘living away from home’ so to speak, this should be easily done.

    It must have been hard for Ming to understand that in all the recent years it HAD to be about his Father, because his Father needed constant care 24/7.

    Deep down, I think Ming understood that. He just didn’t like it.

    (Just as I didn’t like my own Mother’s absence at a time when I needed her in my teenage years).

    Despite being 18, perhaps you could shed some extra special ‘Mothering of Ming’ now (just not all the time though, as you need some ‘me’ time too).

  17. artsifrtsy says:

    It’s so good that you hear Ming and understand the validity of what he is saying.

  18. Judith Post says:

    It’s a miracle if you can be all things to all people. When our older daughter rebelled, we “lost” our younger daughter for a while, because she was sick of all the drama with Holly. Can’t say that I blame her. But we balanced things out eventually. You and Ming will too.

  19. This sounds like a real breakthrough!

  20. dcwisdom says:

    Oh my gosh….my children have said the same thing, only I dedicated myself to helping my mom with Dad. My children got the shaft from me and also the “privilege” of helping them, too. I can see, in retrospect, the time I lost with them; however, they gained a new knowledge and respect of “ministering” to the sick and needy, even though the “sick and needy” were their family. Ming will also learn a great lesson in all this. He’s probably jealous of the time you spend with Anthony instead of him, so making time for Ming and his interests is good. It will also be an outlet and great fun for you. Go for it! Allow yourself to have fun with your son, and find those great times in life amidst your sorrow. XO

  21. I can imagine that it became all about Ants slowly and you wouldn’t have realised it was happening at the time……….I think that is just normal……… yes now it is time for Ming to be the centre of your attention for a while anyway then it will go back to Ants then back to Ming that is just the way life is…………

  22. Oh, yes, resentment starts at home! Its so easy to lose sight of things when one person requires all your attention. I know that when my son was 14 he most needed his dad. Luckily he had him. I can’t imagine how difficult this has been for you both. What an AHA moment for you. So good that you have this honest and open relationship. It must’ve been very hard to “lose” his Dad at such a time and then to have you occupied 24 hours a day caring for Ants. I do see good things for you both as Ming gets older. I’m sure you are a wise and wonderful mother.

    • jmgoyder says:

      I am trying not to feel guilty about how I’ve let him down and trying not to make him feel guilty now that he is letting me down – not easy as you well know.

      • Don’t feel guilty about doing what you had to do! It’s hard to step back and see what’s going on until you have time.

        My sister got very sick as a young child and received special treatment from that moment on. I don’t know if mom ever felt guilty, but I remember some of the resentment us other kids felt. I’m afraid maturity and time (on Ming’s part) is needed here, though I am sure your relationship will be stronger after all is said and done.

  23. Robyn Lee says:

    Oh Julie ~ this is heart wrenching to read. It is good — it may not feel good – but I can see it as a wonderful new beginning for you and your boy. I believe that wounds can never be healed if they aren’t brought into awareness…. and I know you and Ming took a huge step today. Sending you a giant hug dearest friend ~ Robyn x

  24. How beautiful that you can both talk so honestly together about your feelings and needs.
    That’s real love!
    Blessings and hugs to you

  25. jmgoyder says:

    Sometimes too honest – haha!

  26. I’m sooo glad to read this! I hope you can mend your relationship with your son soon. You want him to be around you in your old age, right? πŸ˜‰

  27. elizabeth says:

    Praying it all goes well for you both Julie. None of us are perfect. You are a good mother and wife. I’m sure Ming and Ants both know you love them dearly and are being pulled apart by their needs. Teenagers have a tough time with emotions at the best of times and I’m sure Ming is frightened and angered by what has happened to his Dad and you my dear friend are the strong tower that keeps each of them safe as well as the family unit. So yes, you must be exhausted and even confused at times as to which way is best to go; but as others have said, please be as kind and patient with yourself.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Thanks so much, Elizabeth. Lately I have been weakened by Ming’s anger so I lost my strength – but it’s back now – yeeha! Thanks so much for your encouragement and generous comment!

  28. spinalcolumns says:

    This really touched me thank you for sharing this!

  29. In their heart of hearts, every child feels their parents failed them at some critical stage. And no doubt it is true. But we are not perfect being and we don’t live in a perfect word. We make do. As you did. Ming was wishing for a world that didn’t exist where his father was well. Not fair to blame you. You had to deal with reality. All that we owe ourselves and our loved ones is give our love and try our best. You did your best to balance what was needed for him, Anthony and yourself (I hope). Ask Ming again in ten-fifteen years and I bet he will have a different perspective.

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