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Many people assume that when your children become adults that your job is ‘done’ but I have come to learn that you are never ‘done’, this job doesn’t have an end date.  Nobody tells you this when you sign up, you go through all the ‘normal’ phases of raising children, toddlerdom, preschool, school plays, dances and recitals, cuts and bruises or broken bones, bullying issues,  the know it all, challenging and dramatic teen years, into early adulthood where you spend time teaching your children to face the world alone.  By then they are usually between 21-24/25 and all set to go right?

Wrong, not always.  Retirement might be next on your agenda but worries and concerns of your now adult children are never far away and the truth is that if you had ever yearned to have children from the time you were a young teen and already had picked out their names or prayed that you be blessed with this almighty responsibility then when that miracle happened you spent every day of each pregancy praying for five fingers and five toes, these children have been in your mind and vision for decades sometimes before they were even born so by the time they reach adulthood,  its not so easy to let them go…

The very best scenario that can happen is that you love them with all your heart and bestow onto them good values and lessons on thinking for themselves. Society dictates they then must move on.  In our day it worked beautifully because our mum’s draconian rules drove us crazy (or mine did anyway) and it was easier to move out on our own, you could walk easily into jobs and rent was so much cheaper.

Its such a different world these days, jobs are harder to come by (I definately know this to be true) and most jobs now are casual, contract or fixed term, hardly a foundation to keep a mortgage going or pay for escalating rent and even if you could afford your own house or unit, you definately need a partner to help financially. As for that perfect little world, its becoming rarer and rarer to find families staying together.  So… where do adults tend to go if partnerships break, jobs dissapear and families separate, more than often back to Mum’s place, mainly because its a place to recover, heal and get themselves sorted again but also because it will forever be everyone’s safe haven, its the first place you head to for comfort.  Your mum is the beacon in times of trouble and the one cheering the loudest in times of joy. And that comfort is never far away because its ingrained in mothers to protect, care and love.

There has been times over the past 4 years of searching for answers with Matt’s health I have questioned did I do something wrong?  What did I miss with his health that could have made things better? I have been criticised for ‘smothering or being too soft’.  I make no apologies for the mother I am as I have realised that the reality of life is, that sometimes the universe has other plans for you and guess what? When that happens you need to adjust your sails if that child free retirement plan has not eventuated just yet. But that is what we do isnt it – adjust the sails, step back and keep trying to get to the direction we are all heading for.

In our case our son Matt would like to be out of home officially back in Melbourne but is unable to right now due to health issues preventing him from working more hours. But today I feel hopeful. Today Matt and I went on our second visit to a beautiful naturopath nearby who is treating Matt’s chronic fatigue. What a relief it is to have someone after 4 years say – ‘yes its a wonder you are functioning Matt’. ‘Your body is fatigued and not working like it should but I do have a plan for you” ‘This is not something you are doing or not doing, and it will take time.”

Matt turned 24 this week and I know he is very dissapointed on how his life has halted.  He keeps comparing himself to others his age or younger what they are doing, what we did at his age. As a mother of course this breaks my heart. Matt is still recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well as debilitating eye conditions and the depression of not being able to do what 24 year olds do but our new natropath has given him hope, hope that he will get better and lead the life he dreams of and until then I will stay right by his side because my first job as a mother is to protect and nuture unconditionally until the time is right for him to leave and live his own life.

Anxiety and depression are crippling to those suffering chronic conditions such as CFS.  I dont believe our health professionals deal with this stigma very well judging on the maze of doctors and professionals we have seen who just let us walk on out of their doors without any follow up, I find it absolutely amazing.  The only people who have helped us to date have been people outside the mainstream western medicine. Toby Morrison has and continues to provide support through his self founded program with the CFS Health centre   Toby was the first person to acknowledge Matt’s condition and provide support and now our new Natropath who seems to be on the right path to getting Matt well again.

I know Matt’s health issues are not his fault, I know they are not my fault but both of us over the past 4 years of searching for answers have questioned this time and time again. At least for now we have a plan and lucky for us its nearing winter so we can build Matt up with stews, casseroles and soups. In fact his dad is trying out his first Pea and Ham soup for dinner tonight.  Matt needs lots of warm foods to build himself up.  Not once in 4 years have we heard this, Matt has been trying to eat healthier with salads etc but they are not what his body needs to begin with. We now can implemnent a nutrition plan as a family so it involves all of us because Chronic Fatigue affects not only the patient but the carers as well, its a team effort.  We are Matt’s support group, its not something he can manage on his own just yet.

I believe that we are never given something we cannot handle and I am a survivor who just keeps on searching for answers which I know we will find.  So when people ask me now if I have children at home I say proudly yes, as I know, we are a big part of Matt’s journey to help open the door to the rest of his life.  That day is coming I am sure of it. The other thing I am sure of is that being a mother never stops. Expecting a mother to stop ‘mothering’ is like asking you to cut your arm off – its a part of you and always will be and this honour I have been bestowed with will stay with me forever. And I know I wont stop searching for answers to help get Matt better because that’s what any mother would do…