March 7, 2011

Seeking a Cease Fire


That sums up my weekend in its simplest form, although I wish it really were as simple as a word that I could type out, then hit "delete".  No, that came out wrong.  I don't mean I want to delete my teenagers.  I just want to erase all the shit that comes along with them that makes being a parent such a crappy job sometimes.

I'm sure my own parents are sitting back with a glass of wine, laughing, thinking "Yup, this is payback."  I know I wasn't the greatest kid on earth.  I remember once my mom even told me that I wasn't "her favorite person" when I was a teenager. Wow, that's nicer and more diplomatic than I think I could be right now. Of course, that was when I was in my 30's and the scars of my hateful self had all healed for her.  I think.

But after all was said and done, this weekend, after battling with both my boys about doing dishes and taking out the trash, it came down to Matt and me, like it always does, butting heads over so much more than chores.

This is the kind of day when I talk to his dad.  I talk to him every now and again, when I think he's missing out on something he ought to have been a part of.  When it's something good, like something Matt does that I know would have made him proud, I talk to him with a little kindness.  I tell him things like,

I'm sorry you're missing this.  I wish you could be here to see the wonderful things he's doing and the young man he's become.  I wish for both of you that you could share this moment.  I'm so sorry that you felt you had no other choice, that your heart was so heavy that leaving him was all you could do. 

But on days like today, I'm less likely to be kind, and more likely to let the bitterness from his death overwhelm me.  I'm more apt to say things like,

Damn you. Damn you for leaving him, and leaving us to pick up the pieces of your mess.  We didn't deserve this.  Now we're here, wading through the wreckage of your untimely and selfish departure, trying to survive this pain and all the questions that will never be answered.  You're gone, and in part because of that, we are hurting each other in ways that mothers and sons should never do, because both of us are angry at you. How can I forgive you? 

I know my issues with Matt aren't all due to his dad. Of course, as the ex-wife, I'm supposed to say they are, but I admit we have done our own damage that Kenneth had no part of.  Perhaps we're no different than any other mother and child, struggling to find their own unique connection that leaves them both content and secure.

Someday, I would like to hope,  Matt and I will find a connection that is more like what I believed mothers and their sons shared.  Someday, we will stop being at war with one another, whether he lives here, or far away from me.  I have to believe that, right?

Sometimes, our only mode of transportation is a leap of faith.


  1. One day this will all be but a memory you talk about over dinner. I know it is hard to think of it that way when you're in the middle of it, but life and time and healing tend to be funny things.

  2. My oldest gave me a hard time after his Dad and I divorced. He was 12 when we got divorced, and it was rocky until he turned 18. But, it worked out and now he's 38, a good son, a good husband and a good dad. So hang in does get better.

  3. I read this last night and have been processing it for a while. There's no good answer or advice here, not that you were looking for any. It just breaks my heart to hear about it.

    I have a friend at church who's daughter has suddenly gone off the deep end. The sweet, darling, charming girl is rebellious and angry and raging and depressed because her father is being deployed to Iraq in three months and two of her best friends just lost their dads in war. So yeah.... she had a right to be angry and sad, but it doesn't make home life any easier.

    The teen years are a phase we just try to get through, to get our kids out the other side with as little harm as possible. The good thing is, they come out the other side, and usually they come out better than we expect.

    Hang in there!

  4. I am glad we had the chance to talk about this a little the other day. You're doing fine, Tam. Trust that.