The Selfish in the Selfless.

A disclaimer:  I am leaving the comments on for this post because 1. I could use the kind words right about now and 2. I think there are other people who can relate and should be allowed to find comfort here.  I am moderating the comments though, and if you say mean things to me I will merely not hit publish, and while I might get to read your unkindness, the rest of the world won’t.  So, in other words… don’t bother.  

There have been a few things going on at FullPlateManor.  They’re big things.  And, they’re hard to explain without writing a book.  Some of them have to do with the fact that our kids are growing up.  Some of them are what I would consider normal adolescence.

Some of the other things are decidedly not normal, well, not for other families.  Early this week, I purchased plane tickets for Dolly and I to fly to Boston to meet the Cardiothoracic Surgery team there.  Today, I got an email letting me know that the surgeon we had hoped so desperately to meet won’t be in at all that week.  72 hours after I purchased plane tickets just to meet him and actually grown the huevos to GO.  You see, I’ve been stalling.  Now I’ve done it, and he’s cancelled!!!  Oh.my.God.  I had a moment of quiet hysteria this morning, one where I told myself that if I went ape on the staff at the hospital it would only mean that I would be labelled as a lunatic and would likely affect Dolly’s care.  I don’t want to be that mom, you know, the one the nursing staff flips for during report to see who gets saddled with her.  I want my daughter to be the one they fight to care for, because as a nurse, I know how much that means to her recovery.  So, I frantically Facebook messaged every mama I knew would understand, took a breath, and finally… calmed the freak down.

I did confide in our Cardiologist that I had woken up several times over the past few weeks in a cold sweat about what is to come for Dolly.  Are we making the best choice for her?  Will this surgery make her life easier in the long run or are we absolutely wrecking her quality of life because WE want more time with her?  Am I being selfish to hurt her so badly so that she might live longer?  Because I want her to.  I want to see her take ballet lessons.  I want to watch her learn to swim, to see her go to her first dance, to watch her get married, to see her grow old and grey.  I want that for me, because I am too weak to imagine going on in this world without her.

It seems selfless to fly across the country to take a chance on a surgery that may leave her with her native heart, but it is truly rooted in selfishness.  I want her to be better.  I want it for her, but I want it for me too.

I am truly selfish within what only appears selfless.

There is another girl who appears on the advocacy page of this blog who has become a major topic of conversation in this house.  It looks like she has cancer.  A cancer that is likely curable in the U.S., but one that is not in China simply because she has no mom or dad to pay for the cure.  Conversations of her have opened the door to conversations about just how much we as a family can, and should, take on.  I want to take on more, FPD is hesitant, one of our children is flat out scared.  While helping would seem selfless, is it selfish for us to adopt again?  Heck yeah.  Every single time we do, it’s because we want to call that child ours.  Mostly, because I want to call that child ours.  I drive that train in this house.  FPD would have been happy with one kid, or three kids.  He’s happy with nine kids.  Will he always be happy with adding more?  I don’t know.  Maybe I push too hard.  I always consider the impact on my children, or I thought I did, but maybe I’m losing perspective.  All I know is that when that face appeared in my email,  I wanted to be their mom.  I am selfish.  I could have sponsored that child.  Or, I could simply stop looking.  I could unfollow every waiting child advocacy group I belong to on FB, I could cut ties with the adoption community, I could shut that world out completely.  I don’t want to.  I wanted to have a huge family.  And, I don’t want to shut that door.

It seems selfless to parent nine children who might otherwise not have parents.  I want them to have a mom, but I also wanted to be that mom.

I am truly selfish within what only appears selfless.

This is what I wrestle with daily.

–FullPlateMom, who occasionally wonders if she’s driving that train right off a cliff.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    I love your heart. I love that you stop to think about these things and I even love that you struggle with them. You know I would never want you to feel bad or selfish, but the fact that you do is yet another testament to your amazing love for your kids. I know you think you’re just a regular mom. You are a regular mom. But you’re a regular mom whose deep, deep passion for and commitment to her kids (even the ones who aren’t hers just quite yet) is the kind of passion and commitment that every mom should have and sadly, not every mom does. You have my prayers and my love during this time – and always. You are such a blessing in my life and I know that you know if you need me I am here. If I could bring you wine and a hug right now, I would. But I know FPD has you covered for both.

    Like

  2. Sandy Kreps says:

    Oh dear friend….I could have written that post myself!! I love your heart, I love your passion, I love your family!! Please know that you are not alone (((HUGS)))

    Like

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Hi, quick note from a lurker.
    There’s nothing wrong with enjoying doing things for others. I think that we’re supposed to have fun (well, maybe not always “fun,” but you know what I mean) when we go the extra mile for another person. Especially when that person is a child. Doesn’t have to be either/or.
    Good luck with the scheduling,
    E

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  4. Thank you for the kind words everyone, both here and sent to me privately. I never want anyone to think that we charge forward with any decisions around here without wrestling with them heavily for a long time first. We’ve often been told we make parenting this many children look easy. I’m just trying to make sure people understand that it isn’t always. We struggle like any other family. This is a place for honesty. Thank you all for understanding.

    Like

  5. Molly says:

    My friend’s daughter just had open heart surgery at 4 at Boston Children’s. She was born in Ukraine. If you want my friend’s email or facebook info let me know! Her blog is http://luckytolovelyla.blogspot.com/

    Let me tell you, being in that hospital and seeing how they handled everything, I was really impressed. They are GOOD. Really good. So many hugs to you. SO MANY.

    Like

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