I sometimes feel like I'm living in three worlds, but never firmly in any of them.
One is the life we had before the accident. Three silly little boys with plans for at least trying for a fourth sibling, but happy with the family we had. Two parents, muddling through work and family, but in sync with what we wanted for our lives and those of our children. We often make decisions with this world in mind, not wanting our boys not to have the life we wanted for them. No wanting them to hurt for decisions K and I made for our family. Decisions they had no say in, but which affect them intimately. I wistfully linger in this world when I can. Not very healthy. Comforting in some ways.
Another world is a combination of the life we wanted for our family in the future, and one in which the girls merged into our life seamlessly without the pushing away by the girls or constant reminders of our loss. Sometimes in this one, we feel like a "normal" family without tensions, grief and K, the boys and I feeling like our family isn't good enough. This is certainly a fantasy world. In it, M has no learning disabilities or ADHD. E lets herself be loved by all of us, isn't so judgemental and relaxes her emotional walls. Other times, the girls aren't there at all. Another little brother fills their place at the table. We still love the girls, but aren't responsible for their daily care and bearers of their pain and anger.
Then there is our present reality. Two tired, tired parents. Five active kids. Life is busy and hard. Something is always being left undone. The house is messy, disorganized and in need of repairs that we don't have time or money to fix. The logistics of managing our household is a nightmare. The kids are all so needy. We are all still adjusting to what this new family is. In general, though, the kids are happy. We have many moments of joy and fun. There is a lot of laughter in our house. K and I work in varying degrees of effort on making our marriage work and being all that we can for the kids. We are giving them a stable, loving home.
The stress of this life pushes my mind and heart into the other two worlds. Drifting into those worlds makes accepting our daily life as our reality difficult. Rather than giving me moments of hope, acceptance brings me dread and worry. And sadness. I'm working on finding ways to anchor me more in this world without keeping me mired in the stress and sadness.