Ok, so I’ll be honest here… As I was reading ROOM and the horrors that Jack and Ma have to endure I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what I would write about here. We’re not supposed to do a straight book review at the From Left To Write book club but rather a post inspired by the book. I’m not sure what’s inspiring to me about a story told by a five year old boy and his Ma about living in an 11’X11′ garden shed, prisoners of Old Nick, who kidnapped Ma when she was nineteen and held her for seven years before Jack and Ma attempt a daring and frightening escape. I’m not saying the book is bad. Quite the opposite actually. The book is BRILLIANT and HORRIFYING and CREEPY and you should totally go get it and read it for yourself.
However, I’ve never been in a situation like Jack and Ma were in. I’ve never been held against my will in an 11X11 shed and raped almost nightly for seven years. I’ve never had to escape anything before (unless you count Jury Duty and the time my mom and I went to go see a photographer out in Hauppague for my wedding and almost didn’t make it home, but that’s another story).
So I missed the call for posts, NOT INTENTIONALLY but I’m kinda glad I did. I was still unsure about what to write about when I finished the book yesterday. So I went to FromLeftToWrite.com and read everyone else’s posts hoping to get some ideas… And oh boy did I! I especially liked the one about the beeps. And the one about glass houses. Go read them. You will not be disappointed.
Anyway, after Ma and Jack have escaped the confines of Room and Old Nick, they are plunged into a world that Jack has never been exposed to. Ma is judged for every choice she’s made regarding her confinement and the birth and rearing of Jack. I certainly believe that she did the best she could with him considering the circumstances. (you try being held prisoner and then find out your pregnant by the bastard that kidnapped you and tell me how good you do.)
I’m always afraid of being judged. I’m always worried some well meaning stranger will look upon my child’s behavior in a store as if he is being abused and call CPS to take my children away. I think it’s a self-esteem issue with me. I’m worried that I’m not good enough, or not doing it right. I try to emulate the people I consider to be “good parents” only to find out that my kids need something different and we can’t make it work at that time. My friend Emily over at Mamasick.com tells of a incident that happened to her when a well-meaning daycare worker called CPS about a program that offers help to parents in need and the case worker took it as a complaint and took her son away from her.
I was talking to another friend on the phone the other day and they were complaining about how their son was having issues getting on the bus for school. I offered that they need to be a little tougher on his as he needs to figure this one out himself. “Don’t do everything for him, or he’ll wind up like my son, completely helpless.” I was making a joke. The response on the other end of the line was “Well, look where it’s coming from.” So it’s my fault my son is completely helpless, is it? It’s because I didn’t raise him to be independent and self-sufficient. Thank you sir, may I have another?
How about worrying every time my son goes to school that he’s going to tell his teacher about something stupid I said or did that’s going to cause the teacher to call me in (happened last year) or contact the school psychologist (hasn’t happened yet, hopefully never will).
I know I’m not the best mommy in the whole wide world. I know there’s lots of room for improvement in the parenting department, but I’m raising two healthy, happy kids in a loving, safe environment, and I’m doing the best I can. Doesn’t that account for something?
This is an original ROSCMM post and was written for the From Left to Write Book Club. This post was inspired by ROOM by Emma Donoghue, a copy of which I received free from the publisher for the purposes of this book club, and no, you can not steal my content unless you specifically ask me for it first. It’s called copyright, yo.
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