Today was one of those humbling days where mother guilt and shame was an all consuming ocean. I think I took out one of the all time greatest prizes for the mother of the year award!
I often share about the richness of navigating blended families. How it’s messy and hard and beautiful all at once. And how even though I have the best intentions things sometimes go wrong. And today they did big time.
Our precious first born began flying alone last year. Up until that time her dad or Grandma had always collected her and flown with her. The decision to fly solo came from Pearl. She decided she could fly more often if she flew as an unaccompanied minor, the flying budget allowed for more trips, so a new chapter began.
I often say motherhood is one giant invitation to let go. Today was a fine example of that.
Each and every time Pearl flies alone I have to make friends with my greatest fears. One is that if the plane crashed she would not have anyone to hold her and love her as it went down, the other is that someone wouldn’t be there to meet her at the other end.
One of those fears came true today.
Through my own mistakes I had her arriving home at 1pm on the 11th January. We have been driving from Perth in WA constantly the past week to ensure we were home to meet her. We had made it as far as Gatton and this morning while we were out with Robs parents a text came through from Pearls dad saying she was on the plane safe and sound and all was well.
Lightning bolts of shock and horror…….
All was not well in my world in that moment.
I was three hours from my baby who was due to arrive on the Sunshine Coast in one hour. I wouldn’t be there for her, no matter what strategies I came up with. Being kind to myself in the midst of that raging ocean of shame was no easy task.
I felt immense shame for my mistakes. Awe at how I actually confused things. Shame for letting her Pearl and her dad down. Shame at myself because if he or anyone else had done the same I would have gone off like a frog in a sock because my safety buttons were so triggered. I felt shame that he was being kind and helpful on the phone when my tolerance of someone else in the same situation would probably be non existent. It wasn’t a pretty or comfortable. I was in a grand funk.
My first thought was to seek help. I rang a dear friend on the coast repeatedly until she answered. I told her of my predicament and asked her if she could get to the airport in an hour? She was on board in a heart beat. I rang Pearls dad back, he was still at the airport, they got a message through to Pearl on the plane that someone else was picking her up and we went through all the security processes of changing such things. It was time for a deep breath. Safety needs met. Shame waves free to unleash their full force. (It was more a tsunami!)
How do you be kind to yourself when you are in the midst of such an ocean.
Prayer and one simple breath at a time is my only answer.
Bless my dear friend for her kind support. She video called me so I could greet Pearl as she landed. I apologised to her explaining how I had made a mistake and I was so very sorry I was not there to meet her. I showed my vulnerabilities. I told her how I missed her. (This trip was the longest we had ever been a part and I was stretched even before my crisis.)
Bless her heart, she told me it was ok, she loved me anyway and that she was so excited her best friend was there to pick her up.
I love the community we live in. I am eternally thankful for the kindness and support that exists. Today reminded me to keep trusting life, there is always someone willing to support and I was reminded it really does take a community to raise a child.
I bow to Pearls other family for their patience and compassion with me and my mistakes. I pray for humility to grow my tolerance and compassion to all.
Life is messy, hard and beautiful.
Lets be kind to ourselves even on the hard days. And lets be honest, I am pretty sure none of you have left your child in an airport and scheduled yourself to arrive 3 days later.
Bless us all!
All my love and frailties,