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The little boy who washed ashore, trying to escape violence and fear with his family.
The father who thought that when one son was alive, went swimming to another son, only to find him drowned, and when he returned to his first son, learned that now both sons were dead.
The girl who was raped and then her elite perpetrator was convicted of a lesser offense. We should be celebrating that he was held accountable at all, I suppose, which also make me want to cry.
The deck, in general, stacked against the veracity and character of women, simply because we are women, simply because our credibility is always at question. See any domestic violence case news coverage, there are so many to choose from.
You know, some of these tears are for sorrow and pain. Others are in frustration and anger. I’m so upset and it’s okay to be upset, I suppose. This world is awful. Why do I even bother? Why do I even have hope?
Yesterday, DD2 told me “I’m dumb.”
A couple of weeks ago, coming home from her dad’s house, she started crying, telling me that when “Daddy gets angry” with her, “he calls me dumb.”
I gave her a big hug. I told her that was definitely not a good word to use, and that when people are angry, they can sometimes say mean things, but it doesn’t mean it’s true.
Lots of hugging and more blubbering ensued—relief (maybe?) on her side, inside tears of concern on my side. I made a note of this and let the play therapist know.
Cut to yesterday, when the girls came home from dad’s house, DD2 repeated, “I’m dumb.” Like it’s no big deal. Like it’s normal, a fact.
I said, “Honey, I don’t know why you’re saying that, but I think you’re really smart and if someone is calling you dumb, you tell me right away!”
She repeated, “I’m dumb!”
I said (realizing after the fact, not the best thing to say), “gosh, I know you just came home from dad’s house and I hope they aren’t saying that over there."
Then DD1 jumped in all defensive about it, “oh no, mommy, if daddy said that, he was talking about if maybe you hit your head, you could get hurt and get dumb.”
So I responded, “well, the most important thing to know is you are both smart and NOT dumb.”
I realize that there are many possibilities about what they’re telling me—perhaps they’re hearing things at dad’s house, then interpreting them, then I hear them, then I interpret them. That’s advice from the play therapist, to take a step back, and at the same time, to remain vigilant. And I do take their reports with a grain of salt, my DD2 is excitable and much more inclined to fantasy play than my DD1 who is so staunch in her seat in reality and the concrete world, it’s kind of amazing.
Yet at the same time, I think—am I doing enough to help them? Is just being positive and upbeat enough? We say it is, we moms co-parenting with someone who used to abuse us. I believe it on my good days. I know I can’t control what happens at his house, I can only control what happens at mine.
I know I have to be “the good parent” who puts the kids first. Do you ever feel like you’re doing everything you can think of, and it’s still not enough?
On some days, I feel oh so strong. On other days, I just feel like crying. Especially because I feel so powerless to change the very big things that are wrong in the world, I at least want to change the things in my little world…