Little boy Teddy was frantic. He had something in his eye. At the emergency room they had him on his back while they flushed hosed water over his open eye. “Be all done!” he shouted over and over again. “Be all done!”
Years later, Ted at age 20 had flunked out of college for the second time, was living in a room off campus without a job, friends or money. He was doing drugs and drinking alcohol 22 hours of every day. “Be all done,” I thought constantly. “Be all done.”
When I traveled the hour to meet him at the coffeeshop I didn’t know why he seldom left his basement apartment, so depressed. I felt sick when he asked me to buy him another sandwich for later. I hated not giving him money. He looked pale and was silent. Be all done. …Read more
“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
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
God gives us more than we can handle. Heck, everyday life in a world filled with people is more than we can handle. At least it is for me.
When our son Ted hit the bottom of his addiction to alcohol and other drugs, my mother took her own plunge into issues of the elderly. Refusing to let go of her condo, she got stuck in her bathtub one evening-to-morning and the question was called. Off to assisted living, leaving behind a home of hoarding. Five days later she had a stroke. Weeks later she needed to be moved to a place with more care, resulting in Project Dismantle Living Quarters 2.0. In the meantime she lost her dentures twice, had myriads of long — no, we’re talking LONG – dentist, doctor and hospital visits. I had to make medical decisions way beyond my skill set. Routinely she collapsed to the floor in the unstable antique bed…Read more