I’ve tried so very hard these past years to find ways to mend this heart of mine. It took some time for it to be reduced to rubble. I am finding that putting it back together has taken some thoughtful and purposeful action that only a slightly used woman in her fifties might understand.
I have realized that spending time with people who lift me up, who make me smile and remind me of all that I have are key to this process.
And then there are the others.
I’m not talking about mean spirited people, or evil sentries sent by the dark Lord. I’m talking about people with sons. I’m talking, in particular, about the friends I have with sons in high school; sons that are friends with my Golden Boy.
I see these women here and there, having coffee at Starbucks or attending a meeting of the football or rugby teams. I see them at TJ Maxx, the Giant, Barnes and Nobles or at in-service sessions. They smile and hug me affectionately, and we always end up in the same place.
“How is GOLDEN BOY?” they ask. “Well, you know Stan is doing this, and this happened at school, and then this and this happened; blah, blah, blah, blah. Is that what you’re seeing?”
During the course of these pleasant and very well-intentioned conversations my heart begins to ache. I can feel the tears begin to pool on the inside of my eyelids as I search for ways to block out the words that are hitting my like spears and I find an excuse, any excuse, to run all the way home and ignore the world, because as you may know, I am not able to spend those small but important moments with my son.
I don’t get to beg him to get out of bed, to take a shower, or to wash his face more often. I don’t get to yell at him about his homework, the dirty socks on his floor, the broken what-nots around the house or the endless hours he spends on the Play-station. I don’t get to remind him that every grade in school now counts, and that the to earn the respect of teachers you have to give it right back.
I see him briefly several times a week when he needs a lift from the Y back to his father’s house. (The one that I am still paying for.) He jumps into the car and grunts a yes or a no to every question I ask him. He hops out in his driveway and responds with a “love you, too” when I shout to him before he slams the car door shut.
Yes, I’m thankful that he’s alive and that he’s close enough for me to see when it’s convenient for him, but I am still a mother without her son. And I hope - I PRAY – that someday soon he’ll realize that his mother gave him an incredible gift.
Even if that gift came at an incredibly, incredibly high price.