Finally, He Surrenders...
Well he has agreed to go! He is actually excited about it now. It took two days, lots of hateful words (him not me), quite a bit of screaming (him not me for a change), lots of tears (both of us), lots of words (less me which I know is hard to believe) and another miracle but he has agreed to go back to Alaska. We leave in two days.
I hope and pray that he has found some peace in his surrender as I did with mine, all of them. All the surrenders that happen for me and to me. I struggle so caught on life’s line, splashing about, flipping over and over until I finally see that I am caught and there is nothing else to do except accept my fate.
That is what all surrender looks like in my life. A great deal of activity followed by a parcel of tranquility. Thrashing about with frothy emotional upheaval and then a calm that sometimes feels like death is imminent. Like only death could bring that level of calmness. But I don’t die. I mean I know I will some day and that with every passing day, that day grows closer. But so far, anyway, I am still here, living, doing my best to put to good use all this life I have been blessed with.
I am not sure I even have the words about how I feel about him leaving again, this time likely until he is 18. I am sad, depressed, hopeful, scared, relieved, haunted, horrified, and I guess also a little joyful. Very little but I think it is there.
I am going to miss him. I have enjoyed having him home even though it has been so very hard. I love this kid. We do not agree on pretty much anything, and he vexes me in ways that seriously no other human being does, but fuck I love him with all that I am.
Getting out of the way of child rearing when it isn’t quite over yet, is something that feels neglectful. I feel like I am shirking my responsibilities with him. But I know that allowing him to stay here is going to cause both him and I and my daughter to suffer. He is hell bent on having his way and own life. And I am not able or wiling to give up the reins yet and just let him screw up his life while he lives at my home. I am not able to just say, “fuck it, good luck, pal!” I wish that I could, sort of, not really.
I am going to miss his sweet nature, the talks that we have about dogs, cars, college and girls. I am going to miss him sitting on my couch listening to horrible rap music that makes me feel despondent about any hope for the future. If the teenage world is really just interested in fucking ho’s and getting high, where are we really going as a nation? Not everyone can live like Snoop Dogg. Seriously. I would not want to but I can see the appeal I guess. I wanted to live like Jack Kerouac, or F. Scott Fitzgerald or Dorothy Parker. Writing, boozing, cavorting. That would have been my choice of demise. But that is me. And that is not my son.
I am both relieved and hopeful his time in Alaska will provide him skills that he can use to launch himself into a future, a career, a life. He will learn things there that could make his life an exciting life of a guide, or fly fisherman. He has so much potential. But as with all potential, that gets actualized or pissed away by the holder. And no matter how many people encircle that person, it is always theirs and theirs alone.
I hope that he can see the wonderful gift he is being given and that he knows that his family loves him and is here. I am looking forward to planning trips to see him and welcoming him home at holidays. I am going to miss him but I pray that this is his becoming. It has been a long road and I think we are both weary from all the travel and miles journeyed.
As a mom, I am haunted by taking him away and leaving him again. I have done this so many times in the last five years. So very many times. Each time my heart feels like it will break into a million pieces and I will spend the rest of my days trying to pick those pieces back up. Even if I lived a million years, I would not have enough time to gather the shards.
The joy comes only in tiny waves that are barely detectable given the tsunami of emotion that he creates daily. But the joy is there, buried under hurt, anger, addiction, fear, loss, grief, there is a great wealth of joy. I hope that our futures can find a way to create a space for the joy to take center stage and stop living so much in the background. I really would like to invite joy more into the foreground and experience it.
I think to myself here we go again...but I know that we have never been here before even though we have literally been here before. He is not the boy that I took to Alaska last year. He is different, improved, better, more grown up. I am not the person I was either. I am different, improved, better and more grown up. We are both changed but alas not enough for him to reside here and succeed. It is hard moment to see that and a harder still a truth to live with every day.
Parenting is hard. Mothering is harder still. I recognize that teening is also hard. And his life, his journey has been a painful one. I feel for him. I am not angry this time and not really seeking relief from his barrage of disaster. No, disaster has been staved off for the moment. It is more that I want something better for him than I can provide. I want someone who can parent him better than his dad and I have. We have done our best but that just doesn’t appear to be good enough for this child. He needs more. More than I certainly have to give.
I am grateful for his surrender and hopeful that perhaps he has witnessed my own example and finds some strength there. But I know that most often, children learn the least from the parent who parents daily. Those lessons come later, upon years of reflection and maybe never. I have done my best which is poor on many levels. But I know that it is decidedly my best regardless of what he thinks, or anyone else for that matter.
I love my son so I send him back to the only place where he seemed to find himself. I send him back to the wilds of Alaska where the beauty takes your breath away and also threatens your life. Perhaps that is why it is so overwhelming, this living in a place where the beauty and the danger coexist with such intensity. I send him back not because I want to, but because it is the only thing left that I can think of.
I want a wild adventurous life for him. And even if we judge that right this very minute, anyone would agree, it has been a wild fucking ride. I hope that he is able to go to the landscape where mountains meet the sea, where glaciers still persist, where wildlife outnumber humans by a long shot, and I hope he learns things about life, about himself, about how very much courage it takes as a mom to admit that you are failing and instead of insisting that the failure continue, that I have had the courage to move aside and let his life unfold without me in his daily life.
I pray to God that this is the right thing. All I know is that there is never one right thing, there is only the next thing and Alaska is his, and to some far lesser degree mine.
And so we both move forward, surrendered.