Yesterday was every inch a typical Monday. Craziness with school, with the kids, with everything. You know, ugh fahking Mondays. Compounding it, we had to go to the big city to pick up my car. On the way home, it was just me and Joshua in the car. We talked a little while about things of great importance on the way home. I had just given our decision regarding his abuser's future to the attorney and I guess I was just feeling a little melancholic, a little angry, a little stark-raving-mad. My precious monkey had not had a nap, making him a little angry and a little insane too. We were quite a pair. But still, we talked about airplanes and "Bubba" and daddy and cows (editor's note: NOT his mother, actual cows) and friends and music.
I remember having talks with his brother like this, on long rides home from somewhere. Stomp wasn't as verbal as Joshua is, but I always understood him. It's part of my job as, not just a mother, but a mama. You see, I've been thinking a lot about mamas these last couple of months. I know a lot of people who fit the role of mother and of mama and of how different we can all be but how well we can all come together. Joshua's trauma and pain was brought on by somebody who was a mother, somebody who wanted to be a mother to him but who ultimately would never be his mama. Maybe that's why she did what she did. I honestly don't know and I don't think I ever can know. Because I'm not a mother, I'm a mama with a mama's heart.
Having a mama's heart means: loving your kids enough never to put them in danger, loving other people's children and putting their needs ahead of the needs of adults and ahead of selfish desires and impulses. It means snuggles when they're sick or sticky and stern talks when they're surly and stubborn. It means hugs when they succeed and when they don't. It means sleepless nights and a thousand tears shed over how best to protect them. And, yes, it means guilt when you realize you can't protect them from everyone.
Right now, there are a lot of people feeling guilty that Joshua got hurt, including me and his daddy (don't worry y'all, there'll be a post about "father"s and "daddy"s too). The only person who doesn't seem to feel it is the one whose fault it actually is. We all know logically that the statement about abuse is true: "it is nobody's fault but the abuser's". That doesn't mean that everyone who loves Joshua doesn't feel at least a little guilty for not being there. I smash mine down with a giant hammer and tell myself that I tried to protect him. I knew she wasn't right. But the law isn't built to protect children. It's built to hide bruises and to acknowledge cover stories. And I suppose she skates off again this time. But, she'll never get another swing at my kids again. Their mama and daddy will make certain of that. .