One of my best and oldest friends sent me this e-mail today:
“Because I was mothering for such a short time and so poorly.”
Is that really what you think? I can’t help but think that, though the outcome was bad, you were an amazing mother to those kids. I really, really think so.
And I really thought about it before writing her back:
I guess my overwhelming feelings of failure concerning the whole thing and the fact that I still keep getting beat up on by their CASA worker’s attitude that we are Bad For The Kids is coloring my framing of the whole experience too much.
I feel on the one hand like I often did a bad job and on the other that I didn’t know any better and was acting in good faith. However, I still feel like whether it was out of ignorance or whatever that we often escalated situations that could have been resolved better and that maybe my own feelings of needing respect and feeling put upon often led to me not being as charitable toward Prince as I would have been to another person.
I sometimes needed to be right more than I wanted him to be okay. The real curse here is most people don’t get to be this reflective about their parenting until 10 years after the fact when everything has already worked out okay. For now I feel like I made mistakes and it remains to be seen whether either of those kids will be okay and I feel at least a little responsible and a lot guilty about that.
But thank you. It’s a lot harder to be easy on myself.