Yes, you read the title correctly: I am a childless mother. How is it possible? Well, insight from both a priest I met (for the first time) over the weekend AND from someone who knows me very well have helped me figure it out. Now, I have to decide whether it's a good thing or not, and where I have to draw the line.
If you've read my blog for a while, you know that I love to take care of my family. I took care of my father for years up until he passed away this summer. I've continued taking care of my mother who is still in denial of my father's passing... and refuses to get help for her denial. Recently, I've had several people tell me that the "spark" is gone from my eyes... that there is only sadness, even when I try to be optimistic. Both the priest (who's name I don't remember; he's new to the nearby parish) and the person who knows me well pointed out something to me: I am a parent to my own parents. Not only that, but I've neglected to take care of myself. As the priest told me, after we got down to everything, I have been the parent in my family since I was a child. I've taken care of them whenever they've been ill or unable to take care of themselves or myself. In fact, I learned how to cook/feed myself (at age 4-5) and wash the dishes by hand (at age 6-7) because they were unable to help me with those specific things when they needed to be done. That's all I've ever known... doing things for them that they couldn't. Though I haven't been able to financially take care of them (though I have helped with that as well), I've taken care of them every other way... including emotionally. I am not complaining that I've lived my life this way; nothing makes me happier than being able to help others. The fact that I've been able to do everything I could for my parents makes me ecstatic.
I don't mind giving up things for others' benefit. It's in my very nature take care of others - ask my friends, they'll say I'm very "mothering" - otherwise I won't be happy. While that is true, I do admit that I've been given up a lot that I do, sometimes, wish I could've done. I wish that I could've gone straight to college after high school. If I had done that, I would've gotten my B.A. years ago. I wish I could've gone to university in England, as was the original plan a couple of years ago. Those are my two biggest "regrets" though I honestly don't regret giving them up. By my staying at home for as long as I have, I've been able to help out my parents with things they couldn't have done otherwise.
I'm not saying that I'm unselfish. Oh, no. Like everyone else, I do have my selfish moments when I don't want to do something so I don't... or moments where I just want what I want and I don't want anyone saying anything about my decision to do it. No one's that perfectly unselfish, especially not me.
Recently, I've been given the opportunity to study, and possibly work, in a different country (though I will keep details under wraps for now). I don't really have anything holding me back... except my mother. My mother is such a wonderful, giving person that many people take advantage of her. I have to put my foot down and/or deal with it because she's too nice and can't bring herself to do it. I know she's able to take of herself, but I still feel a sort of responsibility for her that it makes me really think about whether I will be leaving Los Angeles (and the U.S.) or not. It's my selfish wants (and, ultimately, it would good for me, not only career wise but it will make me even more autonomous) vs my not too selfish wants of taking care of my mother (who often puts me on a guilt trip when I mention leaving). As I said, I really don't mind giving up leaving this heck hole that is known as Los Angeles to take care of mother... but is it time to leave the nest and not worry about how she'll do by herself?
The priest advised me to go. He said that I should take care of myself and do something for myself for once. Mom agreed... but not before giving me another guilt trip about leaving her by herself... with no family around... living by herself... she "can't live" by herself. *sighs* Do I do something for myself and go to this new country and university or do I continue being a "mother" to my mother? Where am I going to draw the line to end this cycle? This is going to give me a headache until I make my decision... and it's not going to be pretty because I'm the most indecisive person you'll meet. *sighs* lol.
Sorry for semi-venting here. I normally don't do this but I needed it out of my system. Maybe some of y'all have some advice that would be helpful in my decision. Anything from the Bible that I've overlooked that will help me with this? Seriously, I'll take good advice right about now. :)
Alright, this nerd needs to stop blogging and go back to the wonderful world of math. And, yes, that was written with sarcasm on my mind. lol.
As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :)