Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One of Those Days

Really, it's been one of those weeks- ever since I talked to my son on the phone last, I've been feeling pretty sad and guilty.  I know, I know- I said I would try to let go of guilt in 2011.  But this is precisely why I don't make resolutions- who can let go of guilt completely?  Yes, it's a goal of mine to have less guilt, but guilt has been my cohort for most of my life.  And I am a mother to an almost teen-aged son who lives 250 miles away.

I couldn't help but notice the subtle sadness in my son's voice last week.  Perhaps it was apathy or frustration or masked anger- either way, I felt as though I just wanted to reach through the phone and give him a big hug.  Upon hanging up with him, I started searching for apartments in Indianapolis on Craigslist as I do from time to time when the guilt hits me hard.

I found an amazing artists live/work space that was within my price range and less than five miles away from my son's home.  It was right on the public transit line.  Utilities were included.  It was a recent listing.  It had great light and a gallery space on the first floor.

Then, it hit me.  Among all the other reasons I've had to remind myself of over and over these past three years, my joints are fucked up.  And I still need to get my left hip replaced once I'm fully recovered from the right one.  Recovery has been way harder than I ever expected it to be.  I thought I'd be feeling pretty incredible right now.  I even hoped that somehow, it would "cure" all of the other joint issues (but really, how could a new hip help the problems I've been having with my elbows?)

There are a ton of things in this world that aren't fair.  I'm aware that I have it better than probably the vast majority of people in the world.  But sometimes, when I fall prey to comparisons of those around me, I just want to cry into someone's arms, "it's not fair".  When I'm not in severe physical pain, I'm often in great emotional pain from the guilt.

My family happens to be here, in St. Louis (with the exception of my dad).  My son's father's family is in Indy.  Even his stepmom's family all live in Indy.  They are all there.  And my family is here.  Maybe it's my fault for falling in love with someone when I went away to college.  But that's ludicrous!  Who could have predicted this?  People grow up and go away to college all the time!  And I even stayed in Indy for seven years after my divorce.  That is the city my son knows.  That is where I had made a life for myself.  Where I met and made some incredible friends.  Where I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, graduated college, and got my first professional job- all with no family there to support me.

Then, this.  And I'm really no better off than when I moved here three years ago.  Yep, I've got a new hip.  But my mom has lung cancer.  And I still need help from time to time.  So does my mom.  But so does my son.  He is still a kid and I want so badly to be there for him.  I want him to know how much I love him and wish that things were different.

But I will go on, trying, from here.  I will try to stay positive and move forward.  I will continue trying all the ways I can to show him that I care (without overwhelming him- it's a delicate balance, for I know I embarrass him on FB sometimes).  I sometimes wish there were some magical way of knowing just exactly what to do in this situation to make it "right".  Until then, I will keep trying.


  1. Here comes that big embrace... cry on my shoulder anytime lady. And then tell that stinky soul sucker where to shove it.

    Your son has the greatest gift in you. He has someone amazing and honest and dedicated and creative and principled in his life. And you get to keep that real and fresh with him because it doesn't get diluted by the daily batterings of mundane life. You are there for him. And you are setting a wonderful example for him by the choices you are making to ensure that you and him are cared for in the best way. Your time with him will come.

  2. Oh, CS, I just took a deep breath and leaned into your embrace. You say the kindest things- thank you, thank you, thank you. I needed that! I may come back and read this every time that soul sucker shows its ugly face;)

  3. The more you can find peace within yourself the more you will find peace in all areas of your life. I got to a point that I decided to start seeing a counselor to help me work through things that are holding me back and messing with my inner peace. I highly recommend it if you can! I found a counselor that I am really comfortable with and the things I am learning about myself with his guidance are invaluable. It isn't always easy, but it is completely worth it in my book! Anything we can do to get past those soul suckers ;) (By the way, thank you for your post on my blog. I enjoy your art work as well!)

  4. Your son knows how much you love him, dear. He KNOWS- and he loves you just as much. I can tell by the way you talk about him and the things he does. You are doing the best you can. Hang in there. Hugs,S

  5. Jamie- I've been seeing a therapist off and on (mostly on) for the past 15 years; it does help, for sure. I think everyone should be assigned a therapist upon birth- I even joke that my son's (non-existant) college fund is really his therapy fund;)

    S- Thank you, babe. I need to be reminded of that every now and then:)

  6. Here's another big embrace.......wow, I am 10 years down the road from where you are now with your son. My daughter now 24, similar circumstance. I want to tell you from your future....it will be alright. You just keep loving him and yourself. Kick that soul sucker in the rear. Terah

  7. Oh, Terah- it means so much to hear from another mother with a similar situation. This has, by far, been the toughest part of the last three years of my life to navigate. Thank you so much for your encouragement and the hug! It's so appreciated:)

  8. Wowza…that is some tough stuff girl. It's a cliche to say to someone "You do you and the rest will follow" but I believe that it's true in all situations. Kids KNOW things that adults have no idea they're letting loose. I'm certain your son feels the same. When I was young, my mother went through what we now refer to as "the rough patch", and this patch was especially hard on me. Her rough patch was nothing like yours, but I thought I'd share something that helped me get through it while bearing the brunt of her hatred of her situation: Every so often, she'd write me a letter. a handwritten letter, letting me know that she loved me. These letters endured into better times, and even now, as we've all found closure, I still find new ones in my mailbox. I bet you already do stuff like that, considering the beautiful things you make and think, but I wanted to toss it out there anyway.
    Keep on truckin'. I'm willing to bet you're doing a 100% better job than you think you are.

  9. Yawps, your words mean the world- it's good to hear an example of how to make things even a little bit better from someone who has lived the other side of the situation. Thank you. I do try to send him a postcard or letter at least once or twice a month. We also have "phone dates" to watch TV shows together. Those are fun because it's like we are sitting there, together, watching it:)