“As mothers, we advocate for our children. We kiss boo-boos, cheer them on from the bleachers and encourage them at the kitchen table. We celebrate their victories and console them on their failures. We defend them, brag about them to our own mothers and occasionally deliver a school assignment forgotten on the bedroom floor. When their spirits leave their connection to ours to pursue a substance, person, lifestyle or seduction, we may eventually find that there is nothing we can do to fix this situation. We learn to pray.” From Just Keep Going; Spiritual Encouragement from the Mom of a Troubled Teen. …Read more
When I am on the elliptical machine at the health club, there sometimes is a particular elderly gentleman on one of the stationary bicycles opposite me. He wears variations of a darker plaid, short sleeve, button-down shirt untucked over his pressed khaki pants. He is content to methodically push the pedals with his brown, rubber-soled street shoes over nylon dress socks. Occasionally he has a pen in his chest pocket and keeps time by the gold watch on his wrist. He does not watch TV while he bicycles and seems unconcerned with his surroundings.
He is not sad and not happy. When I smile at him he smiles back and goes slowly about his business, shuffling to the next weight-lifting machine even though his trainer Rory gently reminds him, “John, walk heel to toe”.
My book, Just Keep Going,…Read more
Where I come from — the land of Women’s Clubs and thank you notes on monogrammed stationery — people don’t get tattoos. They wouldn’t know people who do. If an offspring with the lineage described above gets one, well then, someone, somewhere, went very wrong.
I am a they and my son has a tattoo. He has five tattoos – that I’ve seen, anyway, but I’m getting ahead of myself. As a reward for being high-maintenance in middle school, Ted asked for pierced ears at eighth grade graduation. As permissive parents who had to pick their battles, we gave in. I didn’t care much about visual issues at that point and Bush – well, his “yes” was the surprise of the century because he’s a guy who won’t wear a pastel shirt that’s not blue if you paid him a hundred bucks. As he used to say to the older boys in response to why younger bro Peter got things…Read more
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy finds herself swept up in a tornado, lifted and twisted around until she lands abruptly in an unfamiliar place. She is disoriented and confused when she says to her dog, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
As I walked to my car after attending my first meeting of a 12-step program for families of alcoholics, I was Dorothy. “Oh this is special,” I thought to myself as the tears let loose in the dark parking lot. “I have enlisted in a program whose participants’ common denominator is that we love an addict.” What happened to my smaller world where recovery was what one did after surgery, not a discipline to reclaim one’s life from the devastation of substance abuse or the effects of another’s?…Read more