It’s been a while. There have been so many stories. But, they are not all mine to tell. There has been my story- a mother watching, a wife waiting. But even that story, right now, is a mountain that seems insurmountable.
The winds of change are opening the windows to whisper new truth- which as softly as it seeps in, strangles my heart. And, at the same time, it propels me forward to keep fighting, as mothers do, to problem solve- to find answers- to kiss the wounds.
My son has struggled. For a long time. He is older now. But he is so fragile. Fixing his problems no longer means providing a distraction, a present, a carrot to lure him away from places of self-doubt. It no longer means that my words are the gospel- just because I’ve been on the earth longer. Honestly- though I struggled in my youth in my own way- I have not had to scrutinize my intrinsic identity as he now must do in order to arrive at a place of self-acceptance. How can I really know what he is feeling? My empathy does not inspire his trust that I know what the hell I’m talking about when I try to assure him, It gets better. His acceptance of and peace with himself, with his identity, with his awareness has to come from within. But, oh how I wish there was a magic wand.
One night he sent me a message via text: Why do you love me? Because I’m your son? Maybe you love who I used to be and you don’t want to let go.
I gave him a list of adjectives describing the qualities I admire and enjoy about him. But he threw them back- doubtful that they could be true because he felt like he was being sucked into a fathomless darkness. I told him: You are going through a rough time- it’s unsettling for you right now. But just like the jagged pieces of a broken bottle on the beach- after you get drawn into the water, tossed around a bit- smoothed out by experience, time, understanding- you are going to be an amazing piece of beach glass.
He used to comb the shoreline as a child- in that hunched over shuffle- looking for the best pieces of beach glass. Holding each piece up to the sun- admiring the way the color was further illuminated.
|An illustration from when he was much younger.
We are on a path now-toward healing, toward helping him live an authentic life. I will continue to walk along beside him. I love him for everything he is, of course I do. I knew when I brought my children into the world that I could not place them in a mold and expect them to stay put. I knew I had to be open to their perspective, their interests, their sense of self. I have hope enough for both of us. He will be the most glorious piece of beach glass.