That Question: “What Am I Doing Wrong?”

I had to hear it through a half-dozen other mouths before I realized it’d been in my head first, and for possibly years.

“What am I doing wrong?”

It’s the mother whose child isn’t sleeping, and the wife who’s husband isn’t emoting, and the daughter who’s father is still in rehab and the twenty-five-year-old who is still in the same cubicle, with the same title, three years into her job who are all saying it.

Haven’t we all said it? When was the last time you did?

We brought our second two children home from Uganda (which meant we were now parents of four) and this question roiled around in my head at 11 pm, just hours after another child’s meltdown. This was the first time they’d known the safety of a Daddy’s strong-arms, but my husband’s arms still seemed to feel anything but safe. This was the first time they’d known family dinners and full bellies and rhythm, yet here I was staring at their sobs and asking that question: what am I doing wrong?

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