Not in the "Oops!" kind of way.
In the way that my sister has a massive issue and is not currently present, leaving my mom and me to pick up her slack as a parent (and I call her a parent loosely as she has been in and out of my niece's life since birth).
When she is here she is good. She hasn't ever been in it 100% but she's made some effort. Thankfully my mom has custody.
But this time is different. This time has been the worst. And while my mom is frantically trying to save my sister I have been expected to stand in as "Mom."
I am seldom asked to pitch in, watch my niece, take her to ballet, bathe her or feed her. My overzealous nature to want to help has put me in the position where it is now expected of me.
This is not to say my mom is not playing an active role at all. She is. But I feel as though my life has been hit by a tornado in the name of Reilly.
I love my niece dearly and we have definitely formed a stronger bond these last few weeks. She needs someone to look to for comfort, for attention, for care, someone who won't leave her feeling abandoned. Kiki to the rescue!
This is not the way I intended my life to go. I never wanted kids and here I am raising one. Let me tell you raising a child that isn't your own is tough stuff. Add in the emotional factors of what she is dealing with at the tiny tot age of four and some days I feel I am wrestling a bear. It can be impossible. And it leaves us both crying melted puddles on the bedroom floor.
Something I have had to come to terms with is that I have chosen this life, in this present moment. I may not have asked for it. I may never have seen it coming. And truth be told I don't have to do it. The thought that this innocent child has been through enough and is going through enough compelled me to do the only thing I knew to do: step up.
I'm finding that most people in my life don't understand that. Friends and family alike have left me feeling abandoned when I really need support the most. If I'd ever had my own kid would they have tossed me aside? Or is it the that because they don't/won't try to understand my situation in the slightest that they feel it's best to back off?
I can't get up and go the way I used to. Plans break. I fall asleep by 8:30pm. Saturday mornings are spent at ballet and getting a toddler ready for school in the morning means no late nights during the week. But when did my life become about pleasing anybody else?
Taking care of myself has become secondary. While I am still pushing myself toward accomplishing my goals in an effort to make a better life for myself, things like going out or even going to the gym have fallen by the wayside. I work two jobs and help to raise a child. I am about to enroll in school and possibly take on a third job. What more does the universe want from me?
I am by no means complaining. I don't know how to do this parenting thing. I never wanted to.
But when I hear that little pipsqueak voice calling out "Kiiiikiiiii!" I know what I am doing is right. And that makes it worth the sacrifices and the struggles.