I thought for sure I had skirted the “I hate you”, “I can’t wait to leave this house”, “I don’t need you for anything” stage. I have been lucky enough to not be on the receiving end of this attitude nor the blindly trudging through life winging it without asking for help. Apparently I am just late to the table because I’m living it now wondering how human beings that we raised from babies could be so selfish and secretive. It’s not all words, some of it is ignoring the resource they have at their fingertips in us…you know, the old people who have been in their shoes a few times. The people who have given up everything to make their life as right and as comfortable and as organized as it can be right now. We do not charge anything to live here, you pretty much can go out whenever you want as long as we know roughly when you’ll be home so we don’t worry about you. We ask so little in terms of helping out around the house but entitlement and a careless attitude seems to be the jacket of choice these days. No permission is actually needed to go anywhere for two of three but it’s just COURTEOUS to let us know where you’ll be and when you’ll be back. We’re entitled to courtesy and honestly you owe it to us. And as you drive our car and live in our room free of charge it amazes me how you can retort your coming of age “rights” with vicious words and nasty dagger stares like we should be thankful that you are in our presence. Where did the respect go? It must have moved out, replaced by assumptions, inconsiderateness and selfishness. It’s not men and women from venus and mars, it’s kids and parents! One day we’re on the same page and all is well and the next we’re treated like an old newspaper that really isn’t useful for anything other than wiping your feet on these days. We’re still taking care of you, feeding you, actively involved in your future and helping you line things up so you can rocket to the moon and achieve your goals which is all we ever wanted for you anyway. We’re watching your back and steering you clear of pitfalls that we know of or have tried to foresee. We’re doing research to make sure you don’t drop the ball and that you are knowledgeable about resources and actions that will benefit you 5 years from now. We do this because we love you. We don’t want you to fall on your faces and we are trying to make sure you take flight properly as all good parents try to do. Really, do you even see or hear yourself or don’t you care?
They say it’s only temporary and that they come back around but the wake of hurt and cruelty and ignorance that is being laid down along the path is astounding. The attitude and language that is slung around is abhorrible, uncalled for, mean, rude, cruel and jaw dropping. I know every kid goes through this stage because I too had my own issues, I just don’t remember that I was so ignorant and callous, maybe I was. I wish time could stand still long enough for you to see and hear the verbal vomit temper tantrums and blinded decisions that are going on. I wish you could watch it like a movie so you could get an outside perspective, but that will only come in time. You actually cannot see it now. I think that you will not truly know what you put us through until your own wonderful child stands in front of you acting in the same manner with that same “I’m smarter than you and I don’t need you” attitude accompanied by a mouth spewing horrible words and language. I wish days weren’t being counted down until you can leave us but perhaps it’s good that you are, for all of us. My hope is that you don’t lose your temper and rush away in haste and anger before you’re ready. Until recently, thinking about being an empty nester would make me cry, stress me out and make me sad but more and more I think it’s necessary for growth for everyone.
It’s only temporary and a path that most have to travel in this game called life and it’s normal. I’ll be glad when this part is over and as always, I will pray and run my way through the tough times like I have for the past 1,841 days. Running and praying always make me feel better and both let me know I can make it through. I am stronger than I imagine and braver than I know. I have unending endurance and a skin that gets thicker every day. This too shall pass. Until then….
My son, , you graduate today. All the days that I said to myself that there was all the time in the world before now have faded away and here we are just hours before your moment in the spotlight walking that platform. You are so ready like we all were to be “outta there!”. Headed off to college your perspective will soon become what each of us has said to our children on countless occasions…”I would not go back for anything”. You worked so hard to get here doing your best in just about everything and I am so proud of you. You got all A’s this year so you didn’t have to take finals. You were inducted into the National Honor Society for music and will wear your pink cords to commencement. You finished your cap with a little more drama than I’d like but it’s done and you like it. You have been accepted to a good school in a program of your choosing and an opportunity to study in Germany for a year making 4 years into 5. Totally worth it for you. I’m filled with pride today that you made it here. I’m proud that I helped get you here and that you are an adult that I am fortunate to know. As with any child, there are still so many things to learn but that is the game and we all are playing still. I am looking forward to seeing how you unfold your life as you are away. Looking forward to watching how your values grow and how you employ what you know and what you will learn. At the same time I still see the little boy with conjunctivitis sitting on my hip watching TV so many years ago and I want to scoop him up and hug him tight and go play ball with him in the back yard. Those days have gone and here we are standing in the doorway to your future and it’s so bright Johnny. I wish for you all the things I didn’t do and don’t have. I wish for you joy and happiness and serenity. I wish you fortune of all kinds and more happy days than not. So as you go, know that I will always be standing behind you watching you experience life. Know that you can always come back when you need even if that is just to sit quietly with no words. Know that you will never have a bigger fan than me nor will there ever be anyone who loves you more. I am so proud of you so as you go, go with pride and a smile. Hold that beautiful head up high and your face to the sun and remind yourself that you did it. Know that you can do and be anything you want because this is your life. As you go, go with faith and perseverance and never ever give up who you are or what you want for anyone or anything. Stay true to yourself. As you go, go with hope and optimism because they are sometimes the silver lining that you may cling on to if things get hard. As you go, remember the lessons you were brought up with that make you the good person that you are and be as good to others as you would want them to be to you. As you go, go with determination and always keep putting one foot in front of the other because that’s how you eventually get to the other side even if the path is a bit winding. As you go remember that your family is your foundation and you can always count on us to see you through hard times and share the best of times. As you go, go ostentatiously because you were never average, never settled, never quit and never thought for one minute that you couldn’t because you always did. So as you go, and your life develops and you become busy and involved in the life you are about to begin building, remember to turn around now and again. I’ll be there…always.
I love you John!
Today the house is quiet …OK well it was but now some of our crew is up so less quiet but still relatively still. In 2011 I shut my friends and family out of my world completely to deal with some personal issues that needed my complete focus and no “input” from outside sources. I stopped calling and visiting and making plans of any kind. Basically I shut my social world off and began fixing what was wrong. I spent the next 4 years making bad things better, losing the 50 lbs I had gained and pretty much climbing out of a hell hole that nearly took me away from all that I love. Last year I finally felt that although things are not perfectly back to normal and there will be some things that just need faith and acceptance, I’m back to a place where I can finally breathe again. It’s a bit like when you go to the beach for the first time in the season and delicately stick your toes in the water to gauge the temperature then slowly go deeper and deeper until you’re fully in it and wondered how you thought it was chilly. This weekend I’m having a few people over for sort of a cookout and fire. This is a big deal for me and I am so happy to finally be here and to be breathing.
In the last 5 years I have learned that friends are important to well being and have actually admitted that I NEED them. I have one friend that I’ve known since I was 5 and we have always come and go in each other’s lives based on how busy we are. We always stay in touch even if we don’t see one another often. Just the way it’s always been. Beyond that I have no real friends but I am not one of those people who doesn’t need a zillion friends. I have however started allowing myself to do things with people I am friendly with who are becoming my good friends. Sewing for Christmas gifts, a cookout, pedicures, visiting, adding people to my morning text messages and some other things that are social in nature. I am enjoying, enjoying life again in the way that I want to. I like that I have started to do things for me and taken my complete focus off one place. I have learned that I need to make me important and have people in my life or I am going to die sad and alone one day. I have learned to notice the effort people put in and understand that even if I think it’s not enough at times, it may be all they can do in the way they know how to do it. My way isn’t always the best way just because it’s the way I want it to be. I have learned to accept, not like, the consequences of my actions knowing that I must have faith that it ok. I have learned that unlike a kid, I can’t have it all my way when I played my cards in a specific manner that created a situation that I can’t eliminate despite the desire down to my soul to do so. Some things just can’t be the way I want them. Live with it or leave it and that is a choice I have painfully and slowly managed to wrap my head around. I have learned perspective and although my acceptance of the way things are may not last forever, for now it will have to do. I have learned that if you want to get, you need to give first and invest in the outcome you want like a garden… weed it, water it, give it vitamins and you will have a wonderful garden. Ignore it and it will die. I’m growing my life and it now includes more than just one variety of meaning. I am remembering how to have fun and I am for the first time in a very long time, very happy. I love my family and my much happier life and my new friends who I hope to know for a long time. Life is good and now one day at a time so am I!