Letters with My Son, Part Five
Good morning honey! I really miss you! I am really looking forward to you coming home...for good!
Grandpa and Grandma are both doing better. Grandpa might even be coming home! Fingers crossed!
Your next question was “What training or exercise did you go through to deal with my crap for as long as you did, like how does one get or gain that patience?”
This one made me laugh because I could picture your face asking it! And it made me happy to think of your wry smile, and voice.
I also laughed because there is no training or exercise for becoming a parents. Literally anyone (almost) can do it. And there should be training, lots and lots and lots of training and exercises before you are allowed to have a baby and raise it. But, that is not our world. Maybe if we did, people would be less messed up.
For me, it is an easy answer. I love you. You are my son. My first born. The child that first made me a mother. And the love I have for you and your sister surpasses any love I have ever known! And that kind of love can give you that kind of patience. But no matter how much you love someone, abuse really undercuts the love. When someone is abusive to you, over and over again, it erodes the ability to access the parts of yourself that are loving. Abuse hardens love.
Our relationship over the years has definitely harden the love, going both ways I am afraid. Both of us have acted out in ways that were less than stellar. I have yelled at you, and punished you, way more than I would like. I have sworn at you too. One of my deepest regrets. When I look back over my behavior, most especially towards you, it is the most regretful behavior I have. And I only see all the times I wasn’t patient or loving or kind. I just see myself trapped in a trauma response to your needs, demands, desires and abuse.
When I review our history, I see only my lack of patience. All the times that you really needed more from me and I just didn’t have it to give. I see all the times my stellar mothering failed. I am grateful that you see, well at least the question you posed seems to belie that you believe, that I have been ever patient with you...
I will tell you meditation, sleep, walks in the woods alone, meetings, yoga, conversations with friends who have walked a similar path with their sons, these were indispensable. My friendship with Tricia over the years saved me more times than I can count. It is so lonely when your child struggles so. Other people begin to back away and you are left alone in a situation you do not know how to direct, control or manage and in your case, I was the only parent there in the end. (I do not mean this in anyway as a dig against your dad, he was there and has been always, but he was not present here when everything went down).
But in the end, there is no training. No exercises one can do that will enable you to better deal with all the things your children throws at you, literally and figuratively. You just have to deal with it as it comes, when it comes, how it comes. This is why it is best to wait until you are older (at least 30) to have kids. I would have been a horrible mother when I was younger because I was not able to wait for much of anything. And I had little to no patience. Today I have a lot more than I have ever had, but still I am way more impatient than many. It is a family trait that you have I am afraid. So it is ours to work on and work to change and deepen and grow.
About your crap...it was hard to deal with. It caused a lot of sad and despondent moments in our house. Please know though that it caused so much pain because we all love you so much. If we didn’t care, it would have been easier to deal with. Easier to write you off, dismiss you. Taking you to Alaska was the hardest thing I have ever done to include passing the bar, getting sober and staying sober! Leaving you behind was the most contrary thing I have ever been forced to do in my life...but I did it because I knew that I could not save you from yourself. I had done everything I knew to do and still your issues raged. You raged. And I couldn’t go one more second living like that.
The moment where I hugged you and turned to walk to the car on Prince of Wales Island, my knees buckled and Sean had to hold me up. And my outward abilities showed nothing of what was going on inside me. I felt like I was melting internally. Like I was being liquified. My heart pounding so hard that I was sure that it would beat right out of my chest and run to you and pull you back to me. But I kept walking towards the vehicle that would separate us for almost a year.
There is no training or exercise that can prepare you for a moment like that. And that is probably a good thing. I had to walk into that moment with you, open, willing and honest about what we had become. Two impatient, trauma triggered people who were hating living under the same roof. All while your sister suffered mostly in silence while we fought, argued and raged. Something had to change. So I did the only thing I knew to do, leave you there with Sean and his people to hopefully be able to give you a new perspective on a lot of old shit.
In the end, love won out again. My love for you made me want something better for you, even if that wasn’t ever me again. When you are a parent, you love your children with all that you are, but sometimes you get to a place where you can see that your love, the way you love, how you do the actual loving, is actually harming your child. And that is a dark day. But if you are really brave, then you take a hard look at that within yourself, and you make a change. Now, you never know if it is the right change or not. Just that anything has to be better than the way it is right now.
So I guess to wrap up this long winded answer (I mean really do I ever have any other type of answer?) I would say that the training comes from loving you every single moment of your life. Wanting what is best for you, even while I had no clue what that really was. Being willing to try and fail and try again. Never giving up even though sometimes I really wanted to. These are the exercises I guess. This showing up and doing your best even when you feel like your best will never be good enough, no matter what you do.
I love you, Logan. Always have and always will. I am profoundly proud of all you have accomplished and all the healing you have done. I am grateful that you do not appear to resent me so much anymore and that I feel the love you have for me, possibly more than I have ever felt it before. We have walked a long road together, each having our part in the dysfunction. Now beginning to see, I think, that we each have our part in the recovery as well.
You are my son. I am your mother. I love you beyond your capacity to know what that means. Because you can’t know yet. You don’t get to know a parent’s love for their child until you become one. And while I hope you one day get to experience it, I hope you will endeavor to work your stuff out as much as you can before you transform into a parent. Because it is a very hard job. One that will demand things from you that you cannot possibly fathom from where you sit right now. And if you do it too soon, or with not enough recovery under your belt, you injure and sometimes maim the person on this earth that you only wish to love, lift up and cherish. And there is no regret greater than that. Ever.
I love you so much. I am so proud of who you are becoming. I am amazed at your tenacity and growth. I admire your grit and determination. I adore your sense of humor and kind, kind heart. I can’t wait for you to come home. I miss you. I want to go on long walks in the woods together and share our very difference perspectives without rancor or discord. I want to walk the beach laughing with the dogs at sunset. These moments are our becoming. They are our chance to create a different present than we were capable of before. These are our training or exercises to grant us both a more patient existence with each other.
May we never cease learning and growing with and from each other. Keep going, I am so very proud of the man you are becoming. And I love you always, forever and with all that I am.