I've been helping out a single-mom friend of mine the past couple of days. She is a teacher and is currently trying to get her National Board Certification which requires writing, extra time at work and periodically meetings after school. I am glad to volunteer to help her with the daughter that I never had. Skye is so smart and such a breath of sunshine especially, in comparison to my teenaged, angry boys. I have to pick her up from her aftercare program on this particular evening. I have already been playing taxi driver to my mom and the boys all day long and I'm tired.
As I'm leaving the house, Red is literally hanging on to the car door as I attempt to pull out of the driveway.
"Mom! I'm hungry can you please bring me something to eat?!"
There is plenty of food that he can easily prepare for himself at home, he would rather not. He would rather dial my phone 28 times in a row, yelling and screaming asking me to bring him something.
No...I do not answer my phone 28 times. I actually have to turn it off so that I can focus on driving. The amount of energy he is wasting on this tirade is much more than he could have ever spent on actually cooking. Which, in the end is exactly what he ends up doing anyway. These antics are just the beginning of what will be a two-day tirade of terrible behavior and bad decisions.
The following day, my adopted little girl is sick --too sick to go to school. Her mother needs to be at work, so I have her come to my house to rest. She has a terrible fever that keeps coming back and she is just wiped out.
In the middle of the day, the phone rings and you guessed it --it's the high school. I hear the voice of one of the Assistant Principles on the line. Just absolutely freaking great! So glad to hear from you! NoT!
Apparently, my son decided to use a few choice words with her in an area where other students could hear him, with absolutely no shame to his game. As I am listening to the horror story on the phone, my heart is palpitating like an African drummer is inside my chest having a party. I can't believe what I'm hearing is true of the boy who has been doing so well in the past several weeks at school. He has been so busy helping the kids with disabilities. He has made a new friend. He's been spending time laughing and having a good time with other boys in his program. Teachers have been rallying around him, trying to keep him focused on positive activities. What the hell else can we do to help him --to love and support him? Nothing! I have ...we have given him our all.
Everything seemed to be going so well. Why is this anger resurfacing seemingly out of nowhere?
The rest of the afternoon I am in a fog. My mind is not clear at all. I am driving around running errands not really knowing where I'm going, or what I'm doing. Clerks in stores are asking me questions. I am oblivious ...like huh...what? My ears are still feeling like I'm on an airplane, or in a tunnel. They are plugged up from allergies. Between that, and this extra layer of stress, I am walking around on earth feeling like I'm in an alternate universe.
My mind is racing with thoughts. I know that my husband is leaving to go on a business trip this evening. I'm feeling guilty that Red has not been to see his therapist lately. The private therapist was just becoming too expensive and I haven't found him a new one yet. I know he needs to process what has just happened at school and nothing I say will mean one freakin thing to him. I am imagining an evening in hell. Not only that, I am really angry with him. I know that nothing I will say will be objective or teachable. I am too emotional for that.
I can just imagine the fireworks when he walks through the door. Skye is laying on my couch shivering with fever in and out of sleep. Then Blue coming home from school at the same time and who knows what kind of drama will walk in the door with him. I can see Red going off the deep end shooting off his mouth with lord only knows, what kind of language. Blue will be trying to parent him, telling him how ridiculous he is being. It will be a nightmare.
I send a text message to his Pastor and friend from his first church, where he was baptized. I ask him if he can possibly come to talk to and pray with Red when he gets home from school. He agrees to come by shortly after Red will get home. LIFE SAVER!
Red comes home angry as expected. Threats of dropping out of school are flying out of his mouth. Then he starts with the blame game --blaming everyone else for what happened, etc. I stop him in his tracks when I tell him Pastor R. is on his way over.
We are in the driveway talking when Pastor R. pulls up. He walks over, gives Red a huge hug and says, "Rough Day huh?" He asks me if it's o.k. for the two of them to go for a walk. In that moment I am overcome with gratitude and emotion. How can I feel so stressed and blessed at the exact same time?
They walk, talk and pray for over an hour.
Meanwhile, girlfriend comes to pick up Skye whose fever has now spiked to 103. As she is taking her to the car, she starts crying. It was like she held it together all day long. As soon as she saw her mommy...she lost it. I have never seen this little angel crying. It breaks my heart, as if I am not already an emotional wreck.
Blue has also just arrived home in time to witness Skye's tears. It saddens him too. He asks me to come, sit and talk with him on the front porch. The next thing I know, tears are streaming from his eyes as well. He tells me how bad he is feeling about himself, and that he just feels overwhelmed by everything in his life. I hug him and try my best to stay strong for him. I know that when I cry he gets even more emotional and confused, but boy is it hard to hold in all of the emotions I am feeling.
In the back of my mind I am thinking ...what else can happen today? How much more can I take? A little lightbulb goes off. This boy is clearly depressed, in fact maybe more so than he has been in a long time. This is the third time I've seen him weep in a week's time. This isn't normal. I have to figure out a way to help him through this. My load is getting heavier by the minute.
I save my pity party for later. I call my husband on the phone, both of us in our cars, bluetooth to bluetooth. Me ...driving home after dropping Red at church, Hubby...on the road to Dallas for a business trip. I just lose it completely with him. Every emotion that I have been feeling throughout the day all comes boiling over out of my heart and through my eyes...the tears roll. Hubby listens, lets me vent and yell and yes... even blame him.
When I am done, I take a breath or ten. After hanging up with him, I sit in my car trying to pull myself together. I think about everything I've just said to him. Most of it wasn't very nice. A few minutes later, I call him back and apologize. Even in this moment of extreme stress, I am thankful that I have him as my partner. In the middle of my feelings of being overwhelmed and sad, I feel the blessing of having him to go through this with me.
I remember my teenage years with such fondness. Sure there were painful moments...break-ups with boyfriends, longing for independence from my strict mother, being teased because of my big nose. I still remember the sting of that. I did not however, have the social issues that my kids do. I had a lot of friends and a lot of fun. Adolescence for me was one of the happiest, most carefree times of my life. It just breaks my heart to watch them go through such pain and anguish during a time in their lives that should be full of joy.
A mother just wants to see her child be happy and carefree. I don't think that's too much to ask.