Monday, August 19, 2013

And the Party's Back On...For Now

Okay, for the umpteenth time I have written a post that turns out to be untrue.

It's not that I'm a liar. Or being "writerly" and making stuff up. It's just that my boy changes moods like a teenage girl changes clothes: frequently, and often for no discernible reason.

Hey -- is that why they call it a "mood disorder"?? Huh. Who knew? ;)

So I either need to wait a day before posting doom-and-gloom status updates, or I need to qualify them with "wait a day or two and things will be better."

The day after the episodes I described in my last post, Benjy was happy and even CHATTY on the phone. (All you readers who are parents of teenage boys will understand why I put "chatty" in caps.) And he continues to do well, as far as we can tell.

We miss him so much, even though our house is noticeably less stressful now that he is not in it. Doesn't that sound awful? Man, it sure feels awful when I say it. It makes me feel like a horrible mother -- callous and self-serving.

I am not either of those things, which is why the feelings bouncing around inside of me are so damned confusing.

How can you love a child as much as I do mine and feel better when your home is no longer his? This might make sense if he'd gone off to college at 18. But he's 13, a young 13. And one day we just let him go.

But that sounds all wrong. It IS wrong. We helped him go to a place where he has half a chance for happiness and success. And you know what? It seems to be working, apart from a relatively few moments of sadness on his part.

We had our eagerly anticipated bi-weekly visit with him on Saturday. Apart from a panic attack in the car halfway through (Ben, not me) it was wonderful. Just wonderful. He has grown in so many ways, I cannot believe it.

But Lars and I have to deal with his absence and it is harder even than we thought it would be. Last night we had a rare evening out, just the two of us. Oh, it was lovely. We felt young and happy. The last time we'd been at that restaurant Saskia was a very new baby and we thought I might get a job offer from Columbia University. (We were obviously mistaken.) We dreamed and planned and thought we might live in the Manhattan neighborhood my family settled in when they fled Germany in the 1930s. Washington Heights. We thought we might be able to afford it there, and besides, there is a wonderful, beautiful park overlooking the Hudson at the end of my Grandmother's street, Fort Washington Ave, and I always loved that place as I was growing up.

The dinner was great, but sadness crept in and we had to force it back out. We just plain miss our boy.

Funny how plans get derailed. The Scottish poet Robert Burns said it best:

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

I love that to Burns, a little field mouse was worth a poem. (Then again, he also wrote a poem about a louse he observed on a lady's hat at church. So you know...) I think there's a lesson in there somewhere, something about the value of those small things we tend to think are unworthy of notice.

I think there is a lesson to me in that, for sure, as I try to figure out my life going forward.

Readers, I think I will be blogging more about me in the near- to mid-future. I won't forget Benjy, no fear, but my own path has taken yet another unexpected turn. It's called fibromyalgia. I've mentioned it more than once before, and I am trying to master it. If I can't do that, then I will have to learn to live with it on mutually congenial terms. I am trying to figure out a path to physical and emotional wellness.

Anyway, here is a little parting gift, a  memento from our visit with Ben on Saturday:

I only put this in because you can't see his face. I love the colors in this photo. It was really like that -- a clear, bright, vivid day. The red building is Benjy's house. I think what I captured here was a pause in his Frisbee toss with Lars. A few minutes later he walked back to his friends and we were on our way. If we have to leave him behind I am glad it's in such a beautiful place.

Ben, I know you won't read this but my heart is so full of love for you it seems to take up all the space in my chest. Be well, my darling boy. Be happy. You are so loved. xo Mom.

1 comment:

  1. Don't beat yourself up for feeling a little relief. Trust me, I know what it's like to feel like a horrible person because I wanted, no - I NEEDED relief. Desperately. I loved my Mother, I still do and always will. When the cancer that we had been fighting for 6 years went to her brain a second time and she became even more irrational and abusive toward me (this was just after the Lupus diagnosis, and I hadn't been able to walk without a walker or crutches for 3 years due to a knee replacement that had 'off' day for the first surgeon, necessitating 2 more total replacements; 15 procedures altogether that has left me in constant pain), I remember after one of the daily trips to radiation treatment standing in my hallway silently sobbing. I was waiting to clean up after she was finished in the bathroom, and thinking 'What kind of person am I that resents my own Mother? That will be relieved to not have to lift her in & out of the van, schlepping her wheelchair everywhere when I can barely walk myself?! I'm. So. Tired.' And I was tired. Tired of cleaning up her 'accidents', tired of being constantly berated, tired of being 1 of 4 children with nobody offering any help at all. When she died, I forgave myself. After a long time of beating myself up. What stands out very clearly though, still, was that day in my hallway - thankfully I had a friend over who just held me & let me cry it out. You are doing the most selfless thing you possibly can for your beloved boy, and you need to not be so hard on yourself. Easier said than done, I know all too well, but it really is okay to be relieved. Put extra energy into Saskia and Lars, and YOU. It's really okay.