I think one of the most powerful feelings I’ve had after all of this ‘tragedy’ (I’m sorry, that word has ceased to have meaning to me. Now it just seems like a really strange jumble of letters,) – the strongest feeling I’ve had is that Rory’s death should not make parenting harder.
I can’t tell you how many well intentioned messages I’ve gotten from very loving humans that make me think this point is absolutely missed. Parenting was already challenging. Raising children was already hard. Being a good mom was already a full-time job. Losing Rory wasn’t supposed to make that harder – for anyone. Including me. Including YOU.
It wasn’t long after Rory’s death when I realized that I couldn’t keep saying “yes” to everything.
“Your brother died, yes you can have cookies for breakfast.”
“I would feel bad if you died and I always said no, so yes you can play video games.”
“Absolutely we can go to the store and buy a toy. Life is short.”
People. That lasted a week.
We still have to parent. We still have to survive as parents. We still have to live within our ability to handle the bullshit-slinging around the house, all day. Every day.
We still have to clean up the messes, and deal with the sugar highs and the crashes, and the world wrestling federation style smack-down that happens when video games are on for too long.
We still have to be able to enjoy our kids.
I’m learning very intentionally, now, how to draw compassionate boundaries – both in my relationships and in my parenting. Much kinder to have a boundary and stick to it, than to FTFO (that is “freak-the-fuck-out”) when you realize all of your limits have been crossed, all your buttons pushed.
So many people have been changed – in a beautiful way – by the passing of Rory. I find it to be an incredible part of his legacy, and I’m so proud that something lovely has come from his loss. But don’t let it make parenting be harder. Rory was sweetness and joy and light… but he was also a toddler that pushed boundaries, and threw glasses of water off of the table, and whacked his siblings with sticks. Hard is still hard. Life is still life. And that is okay.