Mother and Son

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As my youngest rolls into his third decade on this planet, I can’t help but wonder where the time went.  It seems like just yesterday that you were doing laps across the front yard in your pull ups pushing your Fisher-Price Bubble Mower.  Now look at you working proudly as an auto technician living at home paying your rent and keeping your mother good company

The boyhood years were wonderful, watching you play in our country yard, solo or with your big sister.  There weren’t very many neighborhood children, so you had to be content with those imagination fueled joyful destinations like your custom-made tree house or the immense hole that you dug in the faraway parts of our backyard; perfect for contemplation. You spent all day long there in the summertime and in the winter would come and place your chapped red cheeks in my hands to warm them up while you cried after being out for too long until your little hands were frozen. This became routine in the colder weather.

The hardest times were after the divorce combined with the bullying and cruel years of high school.  Those moments when I questioned your behavior…was it normal teen, depressed, bipolar?  There were pressures from all sides, including inside. Take him to the counselor because of his anger, his lashing out, his verbal abuse his violent actions.  Come to find out you were merely speaking a different language because you didn’t know how to say, “I’m hurting, I’m angry, I’m sad,” and I was so busy trying to overanalyze that I wasn’t able to hear, wasn’t listening.  Until that night in the garage when you yelled profoundly, finally getting through, pleaded with me to understand, and slowing down, I did.  The night that I finally stood still long enough to see what the world was like through your eyes and we both cried.  I remember that being your breaking point into the threshold to adulthood and mine as a parent.

There’s been a lot of learning for both of us.  And even at your worse moments when you were throwing chairs into walls and calling me a f__king b__tch I have loved you.  I’m sorry we had to endure those moments.  But now come the rewards.  Knowing how to communicate your true feelings, facing your trauma and processing your anger have all been steps in you finding yourself.   I’m proud of the man you’ve become and not even because you hug me Good Night now and tell me that you love me.  But because you have experienced the pain that life can produce and keep moving forward anyway.

I’m not sure how this Mother and Son thing is supposed to work. I fell in love with my very first sight of you and never let go. Even when I couldn’t help or even understand you I never gave up on you. And I’m grateful you never gave up on me. To every mother who is blessed with a son I wish the same.

From the Sanctuary

From the Sanctuary: It’s been awhile since I’ve written that and it feels good. I have been away from the pen, notebook and keyboard, a psychotic break deviating me from even my most passionate of tasks. I had forgotten how hard it can be to get into recovery mode, it’s been 18 years since my Bipolar Disorder showed itself, and this time again it presented itself quickly and harshly without known warning or triggers.  This second one reduced my 19-year-old son to sobs when he saw me. I was so delusional that I didn’t even recognize him. After a week-long stay in the hospital, I lost my urge to work to cook (OK, so I lose that one when I’m healthy) to do chores, pay the bills, get out of bed, to live and to write. Every moment brings a mental struggle. Eighteen years of symptom-free living had me comfortable, a healthy stretch indeed, so I’m glad to be working my way back to self.

When people learn about my bipolar disorder, their response is usually surprise. Relatively speaking, I’m high functioning for someone with a severe mental illness. I’m not someone who makes a habit of broadcasting my ailments, but if I can help others by sharing my imperfections and ways to make them better, I do. In my mind, that’s what we’re here for, to help each other. I’m training now to become certified as a peer specialist, to work with other groups and individuals who have serious mental illnesses to help them in their transition to recovery.

Bipolar Disorder won’t be the main theme of this blog although I will pay it a bit of occasional humorous attention when deserved as I capture life writing here. Yes, it’s one of the things I laugh at about myself.  This is a place instead reserved for my favorite parts of life, nature, people, laughing, positive upbeat incidences, random acts of kindness and every day happenings that I deem worthwhile to document. You won’t find politics or negative news or celebrity gossip in this space. If you crave that, consult the mainstream media. As opposed to the previous subjects, those topics do not come pouring out of my heart and soul onto the keyboard. I hope to spread joy, love, compassion, nostalgia and many, LOL moments. And when I write about my nature outings, I hope that it feels like you are walking by my side enjoying too.

Because I am a fair weather nature fan and hiking in the warmer temperatures, we’ll settle for something on the sentimental side for now. This year’s Thanksgiving dinner had me seated around a table with dozens of people. We were all acting crazy, laughing and trying to outdo each other in our good-natured teasing. Earlier in the evening we joked of our collective aging and the aches and pains that came with it. But while we gathered there, all of our ailments were cast aside for the moment as we threw one liners at each other across the table. Later, right before he said goodbye, one of the guests with stage four pancreatic cancer gave me a big hug and expressed concern over getting test results the following day. I told him that I would pray for good news. As he headed out the door, I silently said a prayer of gratitude for my managed by medicine Bipolar Disorder.   And then I thought about the love of the holiday, my friends, family and him all the way home.

 

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