Sure, our situation with Matt is painful. Or, in more appropriate and accurate vernacular, it just plain sucks. Every minute of it, all the time, it's here. He's not even here; he doesn't call or visit; there are very few reminders of his presence left in our house. I have completely converted his room to a playroom for the younger kids. Everything he owns is gone. He's gone.
And yet, everywhere I turn, he's right here, with me. He's ten or six or even 14, sometimes, making me laugh, invoking pride, coaxing love. I long for him, but not in the way a mother longs for her son to return to childhood. I don't wish he were little again, I wish he were here now. Whatever is happening in his heart is out of my reach, and I must remind myself of that, every day. I am constantly saying my mantra ~ this is not about you, this is not because of you, this is not within your control. Sometimes, I believe it. Other times, I wonder how, why, did this happen if it wasn't my fault? I'm his mother, aren't I? Didn't I say I judged the Columbine mothers?? Didn't I actually make that comment: "how do you not know your kid is hoarding automatic weapons under his bed? "
I'll tell you how you don't know. You just don't. You pay attention more than you think you should, you evesdrop and monitor and look and listen and pry and do all the things you swore you'd never do to your kids; you get involved in school and care about their grades and try to know their friends. And somehow, despite it all, they still grow up. They still have minds of their own and plans of their own and dreams you will never quite understand. They struggle with issues you only vaguely remember and that, quite frankly, seem trivial to you now. They fall in love (for real) and they hurt and they fear - and most of the time, while you're checking their MySpace page and doing urine tests, they just want to tell you how that all really feels.
But I wasn't listening. That's not really my fault, that just makes me a mom. A regular, caring, involved mom who doesn't know how to talk to a teenaged boy, on his own terms. Crazy how completey normal that sounds, isn't it? I'm not sure I've ever met a mom who can. And so our kids go out there, as we so boldly and blindly lead them, and they make their own decisions, regardless. Even, I think, when we truly believe we've got them going in the exact direction we want, they're not really going that way at all.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard, If it were my kid...I'd ground him I'd kick his butt I'd send him to military school I'd talk to him I'd get him in counseling I'd make him work around the house I'd I'd I'd I'd I'd.....and you know what? I did. I did all of it. I did it until he hated me and disappeared. Would I take it back? No, probably not. I didn't do anything wrong, I just didn't do it his way.
So here we are, and yes, this can be all-consuming if I let it. I miss him at times more than I can stand; and, admittedly, most of the time, I'm glad he's gone. It's so much more peaceful here and the atmosphere is so much less volatile. It isn't ugly anymore, even though I traded ugly for silence. And the silence allows me room to think and grow and learn from this, to see Jack in a different way, to work on my family from a different perspective. It doesn't eradicate hope, by any means.
And, like I said, there's more. There's so much more than this; the good in my life is so abundant and so worth the gratitude I try to show every day. So maybe it's not that I'm in denial, or avoidance, as it is that I'm just refocusing on the positive.
Sun. Iced tea. Visits from old friends. Firepits. Cute sandals. Gladiolas. The Jonas Brothers.
See? It's almost all good.