The illusion of choice.

We’ve been dealing with a lot of professionals as of late. I’ve had my annual physical, Diva has had multiple check-ups, and Little Man has had to get new assessments at school and privately. Every time they hear our story and/or meet the kiddos, they gush about how wonderful we are, how amazingly generous.

I hate it.

I don’t hate their kindness. I hate the way it sets up a false illusion of choice. After hearing this repeatedly, I catch myself at home, wondering – Why did we do this? What did I think I could do? Who am I to think I can help this kid? Why choose this for myself, for my family? It’s a bad place to be. It’s a place of despair, of lack, of believing that there may have been another way, a better way. That there may have been a better family, a better mother, a better place for this to happen. Except, even if there was something “better”, it doesn’t matter. This is now. This is where we are. This is our family. There is no other way. There is no better mom. There is only Little Man and me, Diva and Husband, shining the light of hugs and laughter on to the darkness that comes with such intensive trauma.

Besides, what else could we do? The moment we saw their picture, it was decided. I can’t describe the feeling in the same glowing terms that my Husband needs, the way he fell in love with their smiles. I was awkward and unsure. From the beginning, my “mama bear instinct” told me that something was off in the description, that things would be harder than we knew. But there was never the possibility of saying no. What would that mean, to say no to two children who had been waiting for a forever family for months? What would that mean, to deny the Universe’s signs and signals, the conspiracy to bring the four of us together, here and now? What would that mean, to turn our backs on these two? It was impossible. There was never any other choice. 

Even now — we could use respite, I guess, if we could find someone. (Most respite providers in the past have refused to have Little Man return after a day or two.) We could hospitalize him. He’d meet criteria pretty much any day of the week. Most people would have hospitalized him multiple times by now. Or disrupted. Things would be easier at home. Calmer. Quieter. I would fall asleep easily again, the way I did on his last hospitalization, waking up refreshed for the day. He’s my child, my son, my darling, though, even amidst the screaming and destruction. And he’d be alone. He’d believe, in his heart, that he had been abandoned again. So, what choice is there? 

There’s no choice. I am tired and worn, both understatements of the year. I am also in love with his curls, his brown eyes, his laughter, his jumping up and down in excitement. I love rubbing his back as he falls asleep and watching the same episode of Curious George for the 100th time. I love the way he feels the world with his whole body. The idea that I could choose to be anything else, to be anything other than his mother… It’s a joke, a cruel joke that only increases pain and doubt. I am well aware that Little Man is going to have multiple hospitalizations in his life. I am well aware that he may not always be able to live at home. That’s the future, and this is now. Right now, I love this boy. That is my choice, and it is the only choice. 

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One thought on “The illusion of choice.

  1. Hello there. I was just passing by and looking at your blog again when I happened to come across this post. I’m not a parent so honestly I cannot begin to imagine just how difficult things are for you raising children with trauma, but I just wanted to say that I admire how dedicated you are to raising them. Even though you may not see it, I believe that you are doing a wonderful job at raising them as best as you can and I think you and your husband will be able to overcome any obstacles you may face while raising them. I’m sending you and your family positive thoughts. 🙂

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