Every January 31st, I anxiously await the clock to near midnight. I sit there filled with hope that this NEW year will be better than the last. That might sound selfish to some, I call it honest. No matter what blessings you have in your life, they are countered balanced by trials. We all have them and we all hope to put on a happy face and pretend our life is perfect. Mine - not so much! Yes, I have a wonderful husband, a home, a good job, great kids (for the most part), etc etc etc BUT at the same time, I have heartache, pain, defeat, burdens, etc etc etc. While I realize that other people have burdens far worse than my own, the burdens I carry are oh so heavy because they are mine. I empathize with others but at the back of my mind - the small dark hateful corner of your mind that no one likes to acknowledge - I am still thinking about what I am going through.
I've been through some very dark times as an adult. Divorce is no picnic. Especially when you are left with the burden of two children - raising them, supporting them (financially and emotionally), loving them. Its a hell of a lot of balls to juggle and inevitably, you drop some. All you can do is hope that the shiny balls that lay shattered on the ground aren't ones that will have an impact in the long run but only time tells. As you stare into the shards that represent pieces of your life, you just hope that you can put it back together enough that the cracks can be hidden on the backside, like a antique Christmas ball.
How as a parent can you come out and honestly say that you have failed your child? To admit those words - its like ripping your heart out through your asshole....both painful and embarrassing. Unfortunately, as parent's we WILL fail our children. That is the one lesson that I have learned. It WILL happen. You just have to hope that its not something that will have long reaching consequences.
I sit and look at pictures of my oldest child. The baby boy I had when I wasn't much more than a baby myself. I had dreams of being someone in life but I allowed "love" to take over and sacrificed everything I had ever hoped for. I'm still someone in life but that reality is far different one than I imagined at 16, 17 or even 18. I'm a mother - for better or worse. And let's face it - there is a lot of worse involved in raising children. No one can make you question your intelligence, sanity, confidence, and common sense more than a child.
My "baby" moved out of the house back in April. It was for the best as he grew to the point where he didn't believe that a single rule applied to him. Somehow the balance of power shifted. No longer was I the one making the rules and enforcing them - he was the one telling me how it was. He forgot that it was MY house. That I paid the bills. It was miserable. I was ready to hand him his walking papers when he left on his own accord. Naturally, there was no planning on his part. He met a girl in another town (about 2 hours away) and would go visit on weekends. I knew the writing was on the wall and I was secretly counting down the days until he was gone, all the while feeling a huge load of guilt because I didn't think it was OK to feel this way. He eventually ended up staying there. Why? Simply because he didn't have gas money to come home. Does he love this girl? I don't know. Not the most auspicious way to start a relationship.
I got the news most parents have nightmares about last week - the girl is pregnant. Pregnant at 18. A life of dreams shattered. A young adulthood filled with fun over. My son is 19 and has absolutely NO concept of what he is for. His lifelong mentality of somehow, someway it will all work out isn't going to happen in this case. I'm angry, hurt, sad for them, and so very disappointed. Worse of it, he doesn't understand why I feel ANY of this. He thinks (and yes this is what he actually said to me) that since this happened, they must be ready for it. I wanted to reach through the phone and choke him. I don't know this child. This isn't my baby so filled with dreams and ambitions. This person is a complete stranger to me - one that is heading on a one way path to a life filled shattered balls and broken dreams. One that is doomed never go anywhere in life.
Now, before anyone starts telling me that this doesn't mean his life is over - let me tell you, I know this child, you do not. This is the child that I didn't think could hurt me any worse than when he didn't get his shit together to graduate. This is the child that over a year later still doesn't have a diploma or a GED. This is the child that gives up when things get tough. I wanted him out of the house to have a strong dose of reality but this wasn't what I bargained for.
So, at the end of the day, I failed my child somewhere down the line. I wish that I could pinpoint the exact moment. Was it divorcing his dad? Was it giving him too much freedom because he'd always been responsible? Was it ending therapy too soon because I couldn't afford it? Was it removing him from Catholic school? Truth is, it could be all of those things or it could be none of them. Children must forge their own paths. As I've told him, you bought this big boy bed, now you figure out how to make it.
What am I looking for with this post? Nothing - just simply a way to articulate the sadness and anger I've been experiencing. 2010 has not shaped up to the year I'd hoped it to be, not just because of this, there have been other issues. I've struggled to find my voice to talk about them. They have been stowed in my emotional backpack for me to take out and stare at in the dark and question myself. So, 5 more months of 2010 - I say lets start the countdown now and raise a glass to hoping 2011 is a better year.