Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Echolette, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking a lot about Headlight Mom's posts about good is really great to be reminded that this is not all one sad negative slog..for most of us, if we try, we can come up with some good memories...even if it is just the memory of hope and optimisim when the kids first came into our lives. Thich Nhat Hahn talks about watering seeds..that our minds are like gardens, we need to water the seeds of the healthy plants and beautiful flowers we want to grow..and starve the weeds and badness that we don't want to take I feel that seeking out the sweet memories and moments is watering the good seeds, helping them take root, so our mind-garden (whoa!!! look at Echo getting all mystical!) is happy, and beautiful.

    on that note.

    I had a dream a few weeks ago that I got a do-over with my son. Nothig went back in time...I was as I am now, the other kids were as they are...but..I got him back, just him, at age two..all pudgy and laughing with his round face and grabby huggy little hands. In the dream I knew I was getting a fresh start...there was no sensde of criticism, like "do it right this time, darn it"...more..just a new sense of hope, that once again I would do the best I could, and maybe, just maybe, it would be better this time. It felt kind of sweet, and hopeful.

    and it reminded me, that he was a sweet pudgy laughing baby, and that that brought me joy. I can work with that memory and release the rim of sadness around it, and just remember the joy.

    on the other side...I remember that it was his very laughingness that made the pediatrician look at him sideways...she knew there was something wrong...I didn't. Yet. Funny that the thing I thought was joy was a a sign to some one with more experience. But that is gave her warning, and then me warning, so we could start the dance of trying to be there for him, to try to shape him. We started early, and we did what we could. I try to remember that too.

    Watering the seeds. Letting the weeds shrivel and die. I wish to be happy. I have happy memories.

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  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Echo, I like that dream. Hang onto the good feelings from that dream.

    They are real, too.

    Like you said, there have been good, happy times...moments...maybe they have been fleeting and not as many in recent years as we would like, but still...

    Sometimes I watch husband and his interactions with his daughters. One lives three states away and they talk sometimes by phone and we see her a couple of times a year.

    One is still in college and they connect more---he's paying so that is necessary, but he doesn't see her an awful lot.

    Maybe this is how it is supposed to be, when things are normal. easy child and fiancee live here and I talk to him periodically...maybe once a week depending on circumstances. Or the need to talk.

    I talked to difficult child last night via FB message, a few back and forths. All well here, how about you? Nothing substantial.

    Maybe this is normal. I don't know.

    This weekend, easy child talked to me about the upcoming wedding, the fact that they aren't going to have a minister or priest officiate because they are "probably agnostic..." We talked about it. I felt tears come to my eyes but I tried not to go there. I do want him to be able to be honest with me, but wow, that was hard to hear.

    Then he said he wasn't planning on having difficult child stand up with him at the wedding. That was harder to hear. "Well, we haven't been close."


    There is no ideal scenario. The fairy tales and movies and romance novels aren't true. There is no white horse and Cinderella ending.


    Maybe...we are to find moments of happiness, instances of hope, and relish the moments when just for a minute or two, life feels like it's all coming together perfectly.

    We can't know joy without knowing pain.

    I don't know. Saturday, after the conversation with easy child, I had to turn inward for a while. I took a nap, and then I was better. I felt wounded. Yesterday, telling it to a friend, I felt the wounding again. So, I'm being kinder to myself right now. Lots to do, but I'm taking my own pulse and just being a little nicer to me.

    Warm hugs to you friend.
  3. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member


    Always so good to see you. The dream was a gift. And, the remembering is so important. We live/deal with what is present, and we need to remember the sweetness that was. And, it did happen.

    COM, I understand your ughs. After all the ugliness that husband and I have experienced with difficult child, it may hurt the most that there is no relationship with his siblings. That is kinda the final straw in facing what is. If THEY do not feel the connection, then UGH. It is like the last litmus test. And, it is painful to know. It would be so wonderful if they had some sort of relationship. With our other two, it was not just what difficult child did to husband and me; our other two also suffered from his decisions and words. Yet, the three grew up together and, as youngsters, had so much fun.

    We have photos to prove it. Huge grins all around. They laughed and played, drank hot chocolate together, laughed more. And, now it is dissipated.
  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Dreams can heal us, can sometimes teach us to see true things we have forgotten. (Or that we have buried, so we can punish ourselves with brutal efficiency, hoping the gods will change things for our children, I suppose.)

    It isn't so much about a do-over I don't think, Echo. I think these kinds of dreams are how we forgive ourselves.

    This is sacred ground Echo, and I am so happy for you. For all of us, really. We do love our children. There was just a thread about that, somewhere.


    Yep. Turns out I had it on my bulletin board. MWM wrote it. I paraphrased it, and here it is:


    My dang genetic mess...beloved child.

    That is all I wrote down. But do you see the similarities? If we can stop hating ourselves because of what has happened, we can forgive; we can reclaim love and loving as the vibrant action verbs they were for us, when we were young girls, when our dreams had such power.

    We have been so afraid, I think, so self-protective through these horrible years.

    Perhaps you are coming through it, now.

    That is my fondest wish for you, Echo.


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  5. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Wow, how deep! Love it.
  6. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Yes, sometimes I think we hold the hope that this is all a myth, that in reality things are fine, our kids are close, that we are making things up, worrying unnecessarily, catastrophizing. When some one chimes in independently "well, we haven't been close" is a new wound.

    He should have some one he feels close to stand up with him. We must honor that truth in him. I know that you know that growing up in a house of addicts makes being honest and clear very difficult. He is having an honest moment. I am happpy for him in would be so easy to fall into the illness of the shared family secret. "of course all is well at home! of course my brother is my best man." He is not going there. He is well. He is being true to himself. Bless him.

    I think this is the least for me. To hold the shining moments. To pause and breath them in. To move forward through the rest of life, and to pause again as opportunity presents itself..which it does, over and over again, every day.

    It was a gift. I still have a feeling of warmth when I think about it.

    Yes, there is a strong sense of healing around it. I have not fully forgiven myself...perhaps I should not. But I can learn to live with what was and what is. And I can remember how loved he was. That was real.

    Thank you, Cedar. That is like a soft warm cloak for me.

    I actually find it kind of a relief that his siblings feel no relationship...almost as though they escaped without too much injury. I hope that they don't have the raw wound that I do (although I think his twin most certainly does). Weirdly we all move on as though I only have three kids. That has become the norm. He wasn't invited to his dad's wedding two months one even told him. We aren't bringing him on the family trip to his twin's ex, his new wife, my SO, and my other sons and I are all going.
    It is what it is. It is what feels like the thing to all of us.
    Years ago his psychiatrist used to is SO important that he retain that close conncection he has to you, Mom! It felt like a scary burden to me then...and now it makes me kind of mad that he placed that on me. I did retain that connection, out of love and duty, for years. It didn't help him or change things. It hurt me. Now the little thread of connection is what it is...intermittent. On my terms. But present. It is good enough. For now.

    That is a thing I know to be true. No mud no lotus. No left without a right. One is the face of the other. If you accept that there is a right then there must be a left. If you accept that there is joy there must be pain. I accept joy.

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  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Forgiving ourselves is an act of humility. That is what I have found. I needed to acknowledge my powerlessness.

    And ineptness.

    And failure, and the grinding pain that attends that.

    And I came through it so amazed Echo, that I had been through all that. That these things really happened to me. That this really was how it all came out. I have gone through a time of naming my story an ugly one.

    And it is such an ugly story, all the things that have happened to me, and to my children.

    There is so much that is ugly, there.

    But that is where forgiveness for myself was.

    And behind that Echo, like right immediately behind that, was a cherishing of myself and a gentleness and a kind of acceptance I had never imagined.

    It made me cry for myself, for my sadness, for my losses. I had never cried for me. When I cried, I had cried in rage, or in frustration, or just an overload of shock. I had never really acknowledged how lonely I have been through this, or how deeply tired I am.

    An ugly story.

    Mine is an ugly, ugly story.

    But see me standing up, see me doing what I can, and falling in love with myself for my bravery in the face of it, for my refusing to turn away or pretend ours is a pretty story.

    See me, loving all of us, anyway. Not defiantly. Not any more. Ours is an ugly story. But those are my children, my people. I have been fortunate to have loved so deeply, to so completely have that kind of joy in my life.

    And there I found forgiveness.

    It had something to do with not judging myself ~ with sort of crashing through the belief that I was someone who should have been able to do this better. It had something to do with that. Loss of hope, that was in there, too. I hear myself all the time now saying, "I don't know. I just don't know." Not I will find out or I will take care of it or anything like that.

    I wish I could describe it better.

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  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow, all of you are amazing. I wish I could do what you do...look back and smile at the memories. I have TONS of memories about my own he ran off the airplane when we first met him and into my arms and called me "Daddy", how he was such a funny and intelligent delightful to be well he played sports and how excited he'd get when he did something amazing. But...that's about all I can write about him that is positive. If I go on, I see the glint in his eyes and his beautiful smile (he is a VERY handsome boy and young man)...and his younger son, who I have only seen pictures of, looks just like him at that age.

    The thing is, for me I can't think back about the memories. It hurts too much and gets in the way of now and today. If I focused on him I would regress so I don't think about him when I think of old family memories. It's like he wasn't there.

    You are all so brave. I just can't...I can't...I can't....but I'm glad your memories help you and give you peace. If I go there, all my progress shoots down the drain and all I want to do is I can't...and I don't.
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  9. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    my heart goes out to you. YOu always sound so tough and in control in your posts...and I know you have a loving and seeking heart underneath.

    Please do protect your progress. For me, allowing the memories has come slowly, through a lot a lot of focused meditation, through letting in little tiny chinks of memory that set me back...and finally, sometimes, they are a little gift to me. I don't want you to think this happened freely. Also...I have only the one difficult child (the others cause me plenty of heartbreak, but we have normal relationships). I have had more opportunity to be refreshed, to find resilience.

    No need to go back to memories that undo you. You need at all.

    Hugs to you, warrior mom.

  10. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Strangely I find the good memories the hardest to think about. I remember him, aged 1 or 2, a blond bundle with a cheeky smile and a hug for everyone. I try and follow a timeline from that to the unhappy angry man that he has become. It makes no sense to me. I don't know where the line is, the line that goes from 1987 to 2015. I can't trace it in my memory. There are blanks of incomprehension.

    If I only had bad memories then maybe I could understand it all better.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Echo. Well, I am strong only because I take care of myself. Since there is no point in going through my photo album and looking at Goneboy, I don't. I gave him most of his pictures anyway. I tend to be now-oriented. There were many red flags I missed, and if I went back I'd have to admit THAT as well. Life took us where it was supposed to go and for me it is best to stay in the present and interact with the people in my life who want me in it. Now I think it is harder if you have no other children. I don't know what I'd do if that were my situation. But I decided early that I wanted many children just so that I WOULD have a family, even if some fell by the wayside. Living in my family, you think that way. You don't assume you will all be a tight loving unit forever.

    On a funny note, if I think about Bart as a child all I see are other kids getting hurt around him, the day he deliberately stomped on a little gir'ls hand and laughed (and her mother screaming at me), the trials and tribulations of school and the day he decided to moon a passing car and it was his sixth grade teacher. He is actually doing much better now, in his thirties, than he did when he was younger so in his case I don't feel sad going back. I feel relieved that we're not there!!!!
  12. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Echo -- Your post moves many ways. Your dream is definitely a gift. Dream memories, dream possibilities, dream what if's, dream fantasy -- all can be dream healing. Sounds like yours was.

    It is crazy, isn't it? All that crazy, harsh stuff really did (and still does) happen. However, all that beautiful stuff really did (and may still whatever small doses possible) happen. It's ALL real. It's often been so easy for me to have the bad overshadow the good (the bad can be so loud it drowns out all else for a time). Over the years, I find consciously seeking gratitude helps me retain any iota of good I can find (and sometimes I really have to look! LOL!).

    But, as I believe every life matters, has value, and even has beauty.... I choose to continue to look for the value and beauty in every life. Maybe I'm still naive. But I still believe it's there -- in every single one of us. And that perspective also helps me heal whatever has felt lacerated inside of me. Time, space, boundaries and balance (of perspective) always help me heal. Despite the gaping chasms of rough spots, I'm still (and always will be) glad to be his mother. Not sure it made him any better of a person (fingers crossed), but being his mother has helped me be a better person -- stronger, wiser, more perceptive, more compassionate, more grateful.

    For me, gratitude is the name of the game. It may not change any circumstances, but it will always change my inner landscape for the better.

    Echo --- I just re-read your post and can see that laughing, pudgy baby you describe so well. Although I'm sorry there were such big issues later (or even then), I'm glad you have that moment. Those moments are precious and sacred...........and FEW.

    I look at it this way........ On my deathbed, which image would I rather be holding onto? My son's ugly moments or his beautiful moments? I choose the latter............... with boundaries.........BIG boundaries. But I still maintain that the 2 can co-exist. It's not a crime to love. It's a gift. And, likewise, it's not a crime to have BIG boundaries. That's a wisdom.

    Echo --- I just love how your dream didn't contain any sense of criticism of yourself. How very healthy your inner landscape looks! That's wonderful! Healing AND validating!
  13. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    MWM -- I just re-read your posts, too. You have a big, big heart and I admire your candor. You are wise to take care of yourself (we all need to). I think you're pretty brave, yourself. :)

    Cedar -- I don't know all of the specifics of your story. But I enjoy your heart and humor so immensely. It's funny, whenever I see a profound post from you I think, "Yep! Cedar DOES 'conversate' exceptionally well!