Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Normal Incompetence

This blog is useful. Yes indeedy. Because all of you, I'm sure, will understand the emotion behind this post.

I can run a code. I could, if forced to, put in a chest tube, intubate, throw in a central line. I've delivered over 100 babies and I've taken care of countless numbers of people in the ICU. I can and do coordinate the care of patients when they are circling the drain. I can and do make life and death decisions every single day.

But put me in the room with my 4-year-old and I'm weak. He throws a tantrum (or eight) and I break. I yell. I threaten. I have no control over him, and no control over myself. I've never hurt him, but that's because I put myself in time out when things get really bad.

Yes, I occasionally lock myself in the bathroom to get away from my son.

Today, while sitting on the toilet in my locked bathroom, I thought, "What am I doing bringing another child into our family?"


After I typed the above, my phone rang. It was my adoption coordinator. I think perhaps God dialed the phone for her. I told her about my day and my feeling of utter incompetence. And then I wept on the phone with this woman who has the power to make our adoption happen or not.

She said I'm normal. She said she's glad to hear that I'm scared and feeling overwhelmed. The adoptive parents who have it all together, she said, terrify her. Like the mother I want to be, she soothed me with her kind words and lifted my spirits.

I'm normal. Incompetent, but normal.

So I went to peek in on Son, who is asleep in my bed. Angelic. I lay next to him and he snuggled in, his hot breath brushing against my neck.

And as I type the second half of this post, I'm starting to feel better.

Normal, if you will.


  1. I used to think the playpen was for the mother to climb in so that small child couldn't get at her....

  2. Treasure this moment in time. If you do, I promise you, that you will look back on it with fondness.


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