Not to stop loving someone. Not to stop giving to others. Not to stop being a giver instead of a taker.
I felt like this after difficult child daughter's beating, COM. Once the extent of the damage was known...I don't know how to describe what I was feeling. It was about what was right and what seemed so wrong. It had to do with faith, with my once upon a time belief that if I just held faith with what I knew to be right, things would right themselves.
I lost all that.
I lost my faith, lost whatever it was that had kept me going, that had kept me believing life was good and the world was basically working as it should, whether I could understand it or not.
I lost all that.
There was nothing left for me to find a solid place to stand up from.
So, I decided to say "yes". Whatever was coming next, whoever I was asked to help, any way that I could do my own little part to make it better ~ that's what I decided I would do. It was like a rebellion, in a way. It was like, in those places I had any influence at all, I would do a right thing, a good thing.
I didn't have the energy left to feel defiant, even. It was all very quiet.
And do you know, the strangest, most incredible things have come into my life from that simple choice to change what I could.
the phone flashed that Shreveport Louisiana phone number and I answered it.
After we have been traumatized and retraumatized, the hurt and shock get so compressed that we can be hit, left standing, and somehow...answer the phone. Like it was nothing, nothing at all, to receive a call from our own child, in jail.
I was warm with him---no time to "decide" how to be---I was just in the
I am glad, COM. It is so rare for us to have those times with our difficult child kids when, taken by surprise, we can just love them.
I am glad my natural instincts were warm.
I had intended to
take that call but inadvertently and ironically, I hit the wrong button and itwent to vm. I told him that. It was the truth.
The next minute, the phone went dead.
So, your son's first concern was not that he needed something from you, but whether your feelings for him had changed.
That is an important piece, I think.
I don't hear worry or resentment for your son in this conversation, COM. I hear you blundering around a little over your lack of perfection, and then telling the truth without guilt or apology.
Just like a real person interacting with another real person.
These are such huge steps.
The President told a
story about a 24-year-old young man----my son's age-----who died that day carrying people up and down the stairs of the South Tower and helping
people find a way out.
I would hazard a guess, knowing the quality of your spirit from your posts to us, that your son would have done the same in that situation, COM.
There is a thing I learned from my daughter when she was on the streets. And even, from things people have told me about my son. (For instance? Someone named their son after mine. What in the world....) Our children, who seem like such out and out losers to us, are acting in and upon the world in ways we know nothing about. There are people who trust and look up to them. There are people for whom the fact that our children have lived made all the difference. Because we feel responsible for where they keep putting themselves, because we are the ones who see them at their most selfish worst...we really have no idea who our difficult child children are. Not who they are to their friends, or to the people who find themselves walking the same paths our difficult children walk.
It was such a weird thing, to understand that about my kids. They seemed like such bad people. They were running with such bad, scary people. They had everything in the world I never had and threw it in my face.
But...their hearts are decent.
It was the strangest thing, for me to realize that.
I met a homeless woman in her sixties, the day I scooped difficult child daughter out of there. She was toothless, and so happy and gentle and kind. difficult child had told the woman her mother was coming. The woman waited with difficult child until I arrived, took the two bucks I gave her like it was a million, and zipped off to the liquor store, happy as a lark.
It was surreal.
difficult child daughter's first boyfriend (OH MY GOOD LORD) could not read even enough to fill out a job application. (Not that he ever filled one out that I knew of.) He had been diagnosed dyslexic when he was little. Never believing he would have the capacity to read, he never tried, and was never expected to try.
The diagnosis was wrong.
difficult child daughter taught him to read. Between bouts of binge drinking and beatings and jail, she taught him to read.
And he was proud COM, so proud of himself, when he could read.
There are other stories, similar stories, for both my kids.
So...I don't know what I am trying to say exactly, except that, while our difficult children are such huge disappointments in almost every way that matters to us...their hearts and characters seem to be in the right place.
Your son would have saved those people too, COM.
So would mine.
It's easy to say, why can't our difficult children live lives like his? Doing the right thing.
I feel this too. Especially for the difficult children who refused education and who might have gone on to invent that crucial something that would make all the difference.
Your difficult child is young, COM. He is where he needs to be, for now.
It's as you posted earlier: None of us knows what is coming. The other side of that, I am beginning to believe, is that none of us knows what is really happening here, at all. Street morality is stringent and immediate. How does that old saying go, something about honor among thieves? It's a different kind of morality, for sure...but I don't think either of our kids are heartless or cowardly or cruel.
I am glad you responded to him with warmth, COM.
The world is so cold. There are times when we have to be cold with the kids for their own sakes. That is what detachment is about. You've done that. He knows, and you know, that you will stand up for yourself and that you expect better from him.
It was a gift that you could be warm to him, just this one time when there was no harm in it.
My first thoughts were harsh in comparison. And then sad.
I am so sorry this is happening, COM.
this is an emotional day for me and I'm just trying to accept that, too.
I think part of what is happening for you now COM is that it is out of your hands. There is nothing you have to do, nothing you can do. For this little piece of time, you are allowing yourself to feel the things that would have defeated you when, for your son's own sake, you needed to be strong. The feelings are coming now that would have made you too weak to turn your child away when that was the right thing to do.
Now that you can, COM, now that your child is where he is and there is nothing you can do, you are facing those feelings you repressed without flinching.
It is what it is.
It is very hard.
But you are handling everything well.