It’s been a helluva weekend.
Friday I spent 4 hours volunteering at the food bank. We made over 150 bread bags that will go to public school children’s weekend food offerings. There are so many children that wouldn’t be able to eat without the food bank offering take home food on Fridays. It was humbling and rewarding. I left feeling fabulous. To fight the blues I tend to battle against this time of year I have to make a conscious effort to do things to remind myself of all the good that can happen at the holidays. This was a good start!
Most people hear Jingle Bells ringing in their heads this time of year. I literally hear the words to “hello darkness my old friend.” I struggle with the merry and bright. I fight, and lose, a battle to not feel sad with all the fairy tale pictures of families. I desperately want to be joyful but I am not. But I try. The volunteer work was the first part of my efforts this year.
Friday night didn’t end as well as the day started. Life lessons, poor decisions and consequences made up the bulk of my Friday late night. My son ended the night with his head in my shoulder crying. Getting to that moment wasn’t pretty. My throat was raw from screaming. At one point all 3 of us were crying and no one made it to bed Friday night.
It hasn’t been an easy year for my fella. He’s at the end of something that defines him and he’s terrified-although he can’t verbalize it-at what comes next. Seems to me like he’s throwing it all away trying to make is easier if it’s the end. My fella has lost his spark and I had been expecting the swim meet on Saturday to ignite it again. But he wouldn’t be swimming we learned late Friday night. I literally watched him deflate–to disintegrate right before my eyes. I didn’t handle it well. He didn’t handle it well. The whole situation wasn’t handled well but from rough lessons you become tough.
Hearing your 18 year old son cry out “I just want to be enough for someone!” Hurts in a way I can’t put into words. His mistake turned away his coaches and isolated him from his team. A person close to him wanted a break from him. His friends have all gotten acceptance letters and he hasn’t. He wasn’t enough. That’s all he saw. That’s all he felt.
Saturday, for the first time ever, my boy sat with me as a spectator at a swimming event. His sister represented our family in his swim team. She’s had to defend and explain why he wasn’t there all while battling her own nerves at the daunting day ahead. My girl handled it with poise and grace and fight…just like she does in all things. Her joy was as high as his despair was low. And I sat in the bleacher feeling both of their emotions. It wasn’t easy.
My guy tossing away his dream made me realize that it wasn’t just his dream. I’d dreamt of his success as a swimmer as well. I was counting on his escorting me at senior night. I’d dreamt his dream and felt betrayed that he would so easily give up.
The best part about a really bad situation was that I got to see my fella (who edges on the side of self absorption sometimes) cheer on his team. It couldn’t have been easy. It wasn’t easy for me. I cried more than once when the race started at his lane was empty. But disappointments build character and he rallied through his disappointment to be coach his sister. He was supportive and complimentary and damn impressed with my girl. She swam a 200 free followed by a 200 IM one race afterward, managed at 100 fly a 100 free and was part of a 400 relay. And she races them all! Daunting as it was, she took to the block and, true to form, excelled. For once she was the one being cheered on. I got to see a different side of their relationship…and it was nice. She was the star and he her supporter.
The upside of a very downsided situation was that my boys punishment involved being with me all day. After the meet we made our way to Christmas shop. He managed to be a good sport and spent the afternoon thinking of others. I watched him pull out his own money to buy some things. He listened as I offered advice on some personal situations he was fighting though. We talked about a plan b if college swimming didn’t happen. It was a bad situation but we turned it into a good day.
That night we found a bar and wached the UGA VS AUBURN SEC championship game (go dawgs). That was a new experience. Having a beer while my son had a Roy Rogers, eating wings and watching football.
He escorted me to watch my friend perform incredible feats in an an acrobatic show. I watched her daring to do something incredible and I felt disappointed in myself that I had nothing. I’d quit dreaming a long tome ago. Now I live in my son and daughter’s dreams .
Sunday my big girl announced she wanted to make some Christmas presents. My heart felt happy. Is always taught her that a homemade, thoughtful gift was if more value then anything you’d find on a shelf. Seeing her, in her own, understand that made me feel good.
Friday I wasn’t sure that my parenting was something to be proud of. His supporting her, her rallying to accomplish something HUGE and seeing her and her sweet, sweet heart so anxious to GIVE made me hope that maybe, maybe I was crafting good and kind people.
This weekend every emotion that a mom can feel slapped me right upside the head. I was as low as my fella. I was as high and my fighting-spirited daughter. I was proud while being disappointed. I was supportive but I also failed to support. This weekend was a jumbled mess of a lot of things. The good-the bad and the ugly. That phrase makes a lot of sense to me after the last 48 hours.