It was a pretty good Thanksgiving, as these holidays go. There was some logistical drama and I wound up cooking an entire meal and schlepping it over to someone else’s house, which I will not do again. But everything I made was good – I have a sister-in-law who told me the beef I made was flavorless when I asked what she thought of the new recipe, and I had a good half hour of quiet hostility. Then my husband reminded me that things taste different when you smoke a pack a day, and I reminded myself that it is impossible to please everyone, smoke notwithstanding – and I didn’t make it for her, I made it for everyone. I think, on that note, I will retire my thanksgiving chef’s waddle for awhile. Perhaps forever. Maybe we just use the holiday as the time to decorate the tree and just have whatever we want. I am clinging to a tradition that died with my father twenty years ago. Maybe it’s past time for a new one.
I’ve been missing my dad a lot this year. He never got to meet his grandchildren, and the one who is giving me the most trouble looks just like him. He wouldn’t know what to do, but he would have listened and he would have tried to help.
When your teenager starts acting out, it’s very isolating. You don’t want to tell anyone because of fear of judgement, or social repercussions. When you do tell someone, unless they have gone through something similar they just don’t get it.
You also want very much to believe that this will pass and next thing you know you will have the boy you had before.
But he’s not coming back.
It’s not as simple as taking away privileges. Or grounding or yelling or after school specials. We desperately want it to be – because that supports our illusion of control – but the fact is, when a teen is being self-destructive, he’s a power keg of emotion and poor impulse control. He responds to threats with choices that put him in danger – so you have lost before you even started. I am following this careful, slow, path of eggshells where I have one eye on what cliff he might be headed for so I can try to guide him away, and the other one on him.
And I don’t know if I am doing the right thing. And now and then I realize that there isn’t a day or an age or a sign for when this ends. This is me, as long as we are both alive.
I dreamed he was eaten by hippos last night.
I just read a post on The Guardian about a tour guide who survived an attack that killed the other guide on the trip – which explains why I didn’t go for the more obvious shark or alligator.
I dreamed he was standing at the edge of a short drop, overlooking the water, and I was walking slowly toward him, trying not to startle him so he wouldn’t fall. I called his name and he looked back at me and jumped, and I ran to where he was and saw the water was roiling with hippos, and no sign of him. So I dove.
Doesn’t take a genius to analyze that one.
It has been a long fucking year. I’m ready for a little light.
I can’t bring myself to actually post “Long December” by Counting Crows but I’m thinking it.
And with that, so ends my paltry contribution to this years nanopablahblah.