I like sleep. I like it a lot. So waking up in the dark a full hour before I had to was not my favourite way to start the day. Waking up frightened, with a cold, hard pain in my chest even less so.
What kind of mother kicks her child out of the house? Don’t answer that. I have several excellent, well thought out answers lined up beside me right now. I don’t like any of them. In fact, I have been glaring at their calm, all-knowing, smug faces for several months now. It’s no good. I don’t like where I am now. Sorry, I really really fucking hate where I am now and the decisions I have to make. That sounds better. I have two more, very difficult months in front of me and I’m already so very tired.
I love my son. I don’t always like the young man who lives with me now. The one who lies and steals, the one I have to keep things locked up around. My family has to keep things under lock and key and we’ve not done anything wrong. It’s exhausting, but how can I send him out?
He “ships out” on October 14th. My son, Canadian like the rest of us, has enrolled in the Untied States Marine Corps. Not a future I would have picked for him, but more and more it is looking like the only chance he has to straighten himself out. Now I’m in the somewhat ironic position of trying to keep him qualified so he can, in fact, go to boot camp. How did I get here??
Do I ruin his best hope by kicking him out? What’s fair? I have two other children who do not deserve this life in limbo lock down. We have all put our lives on hold for almost three years tying to help him, and for what??
The thought of putting him out makes me physically ill. It makes me cry. It makes my chest ache. But shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t this be really fucking hard? What does it say about you if it is not?
My oldest daughter leaves for school half a country away this month. I’m sad, proud, scared, happy and about fifty other emotions about it. I’m not forcing her out. She’s growing and leaving on her own, and while it’s not an easy transition, it is an expected one. One I can talk to empathetic friends about. Who do I talk to about my son? Where is the “What to Expect When” book with its handy check boxes and explanations of life changes and physical symptoms?? There’s no Worst Case Survival article on this. Alligator attacks and quick sand, but no steps to take to ensure you will survive sending your 18 year old son out of your home. If only all I needed to do was to stay calm and lie flat.
Maybe that is the point. There is no right way to do this. Maybe you’re not suppose to be calm. This sort of thing is suppose to hurt like hell if you’re doing it right. Meanwhile the world goes on.
Wild Geese – Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles though the dessert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.