I Am A Bad Mom: This Time Last Year

November 2, 2018

Where do I start this post? From the beginning, I guess.  This time last year was an extremely difficult time in my life and if you have read my blog you know I have had many, who hasn't? But it felt like this was different, this time would break me and possibly everything I had worked so hard for.  As you all know I am the mother of a 19 year old son and last year lawdy, lawdy.  I don't want to go into great detail but I will say that my husband and I were in a struggle for my son's future.  We had been here before, but when a child turns 18 years old the rules are slightly different.  We can't necessarily ground him for questionable behavior.  We can set ground rules and norms but we have to allow him space to explore himself and who he is becoming, where he is going, what he wants to do, I mean it is a lot for a young person to figure out.  Around this time last year he was working a part time job at a supermarket while he was attending a community college full time.  I thought it was important for him to maintain employment while attending school to keep him occupied and focused on the prize.  His choice in friends were questionable and his choice in lifestyle was also worrisome.  We tried on so many occasions to get through to him and it felt as if it fell on deaf ears.  My husband and I would spend so many hours talking through our feelings, making plans, trying new ways to get through to our young man.  Maybe if we give him some space, get less emotionally charged, allow him the time to figure things out but at the same time setting parameters that would keep him safe.  I recall feeling hopeless at times and other times feeling like I haven't done enough. I haven't thought through this enough, even though it occupied every single waking hour of my day.  It consumed me.  I reached out to my father at a very low time and shared with him what we were up against and tried to recruit him to reach out and talk to our son.  He agreed and tried to reach out but our son wouldn't answer and never returned the call.

Then a family drama that had been brewing for about two years unraveled at my weakest moment.  I had the biggest argument with my mother.  She said terrible things to me, things you just don't say to another woman, a mother, and your own child.  But especially at this particular moment when I was in crisis with my own child it was an even deeper cut in an already open wound.  I was reminded that hurt people hurt people and I could no longer allow this in my life.  I needed to focus on my family and my son specifically.  At this very same time my husband's youngest brother suffered a sudden and shocking brain aneurysm and was rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery.  My husband jumped in his car and took the 12 hour drive to Atlanta to be with his family.  I stood behind to be with our boys until he could send word back.  To say we were in a dark place is not saying enough.  When someone close to you, younger than you suffers this type of medical emergency you realize your own mortality.  Life is not guaranteed to anyone.  It is this precious gift we are given every day we open our eyes to welcome a new day.  You realize in these moments that what you are holding on to or holding against someone else is trapping you and stealing your happiness.  This is all to say that life doesn't wait until you are done with one crisis to throw you with another.  Quiet often you are thrown a few at the same time that will test your resolve.

Back to the original story, my son.  Well a lot was going on in our home, there was a lot of tension, a lot of worry, a lot of everything.  The holiday season approached and it was a lonely one.  I cut off all communication with my family and my in laws where spending the holidays with their son in Atlanta. My husband and I decided to have a small dinner for us at home and I invited a good friend over for dinner.  I tried my best to keep my spirits up but I struggled luckily I was surrounded by people I didn't have to pretend around.  The dinner went well but my son left half an hour before dinner was served.    He had been home all day and didn't mention having plans. I was upset and hurt.  I don't remember much of the rest of the evening but I know I remember crying myself to sleep that night.  The whole thing blew into an even bigger crisis later that weekend, again I don't want to go into too many details because it involves my son's life and that is not my story to tell.  I will just say it got REALLY bad.  I found out my son had quit school and pretend to be going for the past month.  He had no plans of telling me or returning in the spring.  There was a lot I found out that day that I didn't know.  I was devastated and I thought I wouldn't make it.  I was on the verge of losing my only son.  I had no control over anything that was happening.

About a week later I had to make the toughest decision of my life and ask my son to leave our home.  I thought he would move in with his father and this would shake some sense into him.  This plan would show him how much good he had in his life and cause him to reflect and want to come home.  I will tell you now, that this was NOT an easy decision to come to and my husband was not consulted in the making of this decision.  I decided and shared with him what I thought was best and he supported me as he always does.  My son decided to move out the next morning in a hurry with my father waiting outside for him.  I felt betrayed by my parents for giving him an easy way out and not even talking to us about what was going on.  At the same time it gave me peace of mind knowing that he would be safe.  The next few weeks were tough.  I had barely any communication with my child, or my family and I was trying to recover from what had happened.  I missed my son and longed for his phone call or his visit or some sign that he had some understanding of all of this.  My husband and I tried to return to some normalcy but proceeded with caution.  We traveled early in 2018 to Iceland and being able to get away from our routine for that week and take in all of the beautiful landscapes and just being together meant so much.  My husband and my closest friends treaded softly but always checked in to see where I was and how I was feeling which would instantly bring tears to my eyes.  I confessed some days I felt completely hopeless and other days I believed it was all going to be ok.  I was seeing a therapist very regularly and I also started my I am a Bad Mom series  all in an effort to work through my pain and try to understand where it all went wrong.  As the winter past and spring sprang I was feeling closer to who I was and feeling like although everything was not what I hoped for yet, having faith in God and our (my son and I) relationship.  I am his mother, I raised him, I have loved him and taken care of him his whole life, surely that means something.

Where we are a year later. 

I got a call from my son in July right before my birthday, he called to tell me he was sorry for going silent for so long but he had a good reason.  He had just completed his Marine Corp Bootcamp and was graduating in a few days.  He was flying into NY and wanted to take me out for a birthday lunch.  My heart melted and so many emotions flooded in.  When I saw him, a lot had changed but a lot hadn't.  He is currently stationed in Missouri.  We are not where we once were and we are not where I would like us to be but I believe in this process.   I believe in myself as a parent and in my son as a person.   We are working on our relationship.  I am learning boundaries and remaining available and open to my son when he is ready.  He is on a journey all his own, and in a way we both are.  We are living our lives for the first time, separately and its been hard but I also know it is very necessary.

I am in a totally different place than I was this time last year and all I can say is how grateful I am to everyone who picked me up, dusted me off and put me back on my path.  I dont know exactly what I did to deserve except to say I have had my fair share of heartache and maybe this is the universe's way of giving me a break.

I am sharing this because I went through this privately.  I didn't share my pain with the world, only my close circle.  Growing pains are real.  Change is hard and even though it was one of the most painful things I have ever gone through, I am still standing.  It has not broken me and instead has given me a whole new perspective on parenting, love and life in general.  There was so much I thought for sure I had control over.  I have spent the last year letting myself off the hook.  Allowing myself this time of nonjudgemental reflection.  Did I do everything right? Did I make all of the best decisions? That is for no one to judge and personally a waste of time because that time has passed.  Of course I have spent most of this time reflecting because its important to understand how you got to a certain place but I DO NOT spend my time exploring those moments in regret.  I know who I am.  I know my intentions.  I also know I cant undo any of it.  The only thing I can do is learn from it.   I am a different person than I was a year ago.  You don't go through something like that and not be changed by it.  I am a stronger, wiser, much more confident and grounded person.  I am finding my voice in a lot of different areas and I couldn't get to this place without my experience.  I have learned so much about my husband and the strength and resilience of our marriage and I am eternally grateful to him every single day.  I have never felt closer to another human being and so secure in his love for me and his commitment to our marriage as I have this past year.

We all fear the unknown, we fear change, but it is exactly in those times when you are facing those fears that you grow exponentially if you just release control and allow for life to take shape.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post.  This space has helped me so much this past year, it has been a distraction, a creative outlet, an inspiration and so much more so thank you for your endless support!  I look forward to continued evolution.

Until next time.

By LifeStyledbyErica

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