That is what I have called Son #1 throughout the years.
He has always seen right and wrong vividly.
Fair and unfair.
He has been my crusader of justice.
He gets this honestly. I have always been the same way. I have always wanted what was fair. I remember as a child never being able to reconcile that sometimes things just are not fair. Good does not always triumph over evil. And no matter how much I shout it from the mountain tops - I won't change it.
As an adult, I've created a home conducive to fairness. With the five kids - I always tried to keep a balance that no one ever felt slighted. This began with the fact that I have a step daughter. I have spent my life being sure that she felt included - never excluded - and that she knew she was as much a part of our family as my own four children. One of the ways I incorporated that was when we named our four children. The first three were boys were all named with the same first initial beginning their name. When my daughter was born, rather than keeping with her brothers'' initial - I named my daughter with the same first initial of my step daughter - born 15 years before my daughter. Keeping things fair and balanced is not an easy job but one that is important to me.
Important to me because the world does not work that way. I wanted there to be somewhere that my children could count on the "just" to take place. Somewhere that good would prevail.
But the truth is the world doesn't make the same allowances that I have. Life unfolds as it does - it takes no ones feelings into account. Things just happen. And we are left to deal.
My third son has a moderate language based learning disability. I have homeschooled him his entire life. When he was in 5th grade I took him to have a neuropsychological test done. After schooling my other three children, I knew that something was unlike the others. At that time, the doctor informed me of his issues. The doctor also told me that my homeschooling him allowed him to learn more than he would have ever absorbed in a normal school setting. She told me that had he attended regular school, he would have been a C or D student. Getting by. Flying below the radar. With no one really noticing what was happening. He would have been considered - acceptable enough to not give special attention to - but not anyone who would have been considered a bright student of great achievement. She hugged me and told me that I had given him a chance in the world. She encouraged me to continue homeschooling him. Not to give up. That he would make it. Because I loved him and no one wanted his success more than I would. No one would believe in him like I had.
That statement could not be truer.
For all mothers.
No one wants the success of their child more than their mother.
Sometimes our love just isn't enough.
My eldest son is 17 years old. A few years ago our pediatrician told us that she believed he had finished growing. He was 5 foot 2 inches. We chose not to embrace her opinion. We remained optimistic and hopeful that she had miscalculated. But at 17 years old my son is 5 foot 3 inches tall. There is nothing we can do about it. Everyday he deals with a world that does not accept a young man of his age and height. Every day he deals with the prejudice that exists for those of a shorter stature. I don't think there is anything more difficult for a teenage boy to deal with. Over the years, I have heard him say painful things. "I'll never get a girl. Who will want someone as short as me?" It is heartbreaking. I've watched him be treated differently by the other boys - because he is smaller. Somehow I suppose they have deemed him inferior. Because the world expects height. And with that height - strength, athleticism and leadership are all encompassed. It is wrong but there is nothing I can do - other than parent him with all of the wisdom and compassion that fill my being.
My daughter is now learning that life is not fair. That sometimes hard work doesn't pay off. That sometimes things happen and you just don't know why.
Last week my mother in law passed away. My daughter's grandmother. Due to the family crisis, my daughter needed to miss 3 days at her professional ballet academy. During her absence - life moved on without her. She returned to school to learn that solo parts for the winter performance had been given to the girls who had taken some private lessons with the teacher. She was disappointed. She immediately said, "I don't understand. What happened? I am sad." She knew it was unfair. I knew it was unfair. But there was nothing I could do about it.
To make matters worse, there is a dance in one of her classes that was already choreographed with her in the front. When she returned to class, she had missed some of the new choreography the day that her Grandma had died. But rather than the teacher spending some time to teach her the new part, she said, "Maybe I should put someone else in the front." Then my daughter was moved to the back and another girl placed up front.
I asked her why she didn't speak up. I asked her why she didn't remind the teacher that she had missed that day because her grandmother had passed away. I asked her why didn't she tell the teacher she would learn the new part and be ready to perform in the front.
But she just shook her head and said nothing.
She was defeated.
Her confidence shaken.
It isn't fair. There is nothing she nor I can do.
And she knows that.
She knows that she just has to suck it up.
I've talked with all of my kids about continuing to work hard in spite of limitations. Son #3 will be going to high school next year. He will be out in the real world receiving his education on his own. We've talked about his options. But the bottom line? The chips will fall where they may. I have prepared him as best I could. Son #1 will graduate from high school this year. Next year he will be headed to college. How will his height impact his upcoming young adult years? I don't know. He will need to learn to manage whatever happens. It is his life to live. Daughter will need to be tolerant and patient. Accepting of the decisions made. She will need to continue to work hard. Learn all that she can. Hope that one day the opportunity to perform the solo or be in the front row is presented to her once again.
In the meantime, as their Mom, it is terribly difficult to watch the unjust events unfold. But it is beyond my "Mommy Powers."
As I spent the last few weeks with my father in law as my mother in law fought her battle, I heard his words over and over again. He is still saying the words - even after her battle was lost.
"It just isn't fair."
And it isn't.
But that applies to everyone in life.
So all that I can do is invoke what "Mommy Powers" I do have. The ability to love my children with every fiber of my being every moment that I am breathing. To provide a home that feels safe. Secure. Completely supportive of them. Loving them exactly as they are. Accepting them entirely. Knowing that everything out there that has passed them by is missing out on something amazing.
That is what family does. That is what home is. The place to be who you are. To lick your wounds in private. To heal your soul. Until your spirit is ready to go back out there and take it all on again.
Because it will happen again.
But it's okay.
Because there is always home.
Even at 42 years of age...
I know that.
I've got my Mom.
The morning after my mother in law's funeral, my husband and I were talking. He said, "She always made it okay. With her I knew that everything would be fine. I could always call her. I can't believe that I can't call her anymore."
I think that is what he was trying to say. He had lost his unconditional love. The one person who had always made things okay when life wasn't fair.
Isn't that what Moms do?
Make us believe - that it will all be okay.
Moms see their children through eyes that the world just doesn't look through.
So even if it isn't okay anywhere else in the world-
Mom's heart is home.
And in Mom's heart she believes in us.
And when Mom believes in us -
Everything is okay.