It’s not a far-fetched idea, that I am the problem. I’m the one here with my boys, day in , day out. If they are on the edge, teetering between happiness and misery, isn’t that my doing, not the ex’s? He’s not here to influence them – I am. And it seems that I’m not doing a very good job.
I’ve been taking my youngest to look at small private schools, thinking they might reach him, and improve his self-esteem academically; give him a sense of sucess. My eldest says “mom, you’re trying to make us more then what we are. We’re not that smart, we don’t have deep thoughts. We’re like dad, not like you”, and I can’t help thinking that makes me the problem.
This week I found out that my middle son, the computer genius, the one who had a clear path and was on his way, flunked last semester at college. He’s home now, and he’s in pain. He’s confused. He’s anxious, suffering panic attacks, wondering what has gone wrong, and what he’s supposed to do next. He’s worried that others will judge him badly, that he has really screwed up his life. And all I can think is that maybe the eldest is right. Maybe I’ve spent all of these years trying to make them something they aren’t, something they can’t be. Maybe I pushed my son to be someone he is not.
As I write this, feeling torment in my heart, my soul, I think my eldest is probably right. The dad is off working, feeling fine, no torment, no deep thoughts, no worry about what comes next. He doesn’t worry, or care, or empathize, or feel pain the way I do. He just returned from a vacation with his new girl, and posted all of their happy pics on facebook, while I was here feeling down and worried and scared. When his son came to him this afternoon and told him that he had dropped out of college, feeling lost and in pain, I feel confident that his only thought was “this is because of his mom; I never felt that way”. And perhaps he’s right. I think he never felt that way, and honestly, how can this be a bad thing?
What good is life if it is filled with torment? Wouldn’t it be better to feel nothing then the lows that I, and my boys, find themselves in? It’s an easier life, if lived like my ex. He walks through life every day thinking of himself, worried about how to make himself feel good. Given the fact that I haven’t been very sucessrful in feeling good about myself, or helping my boys feel good about themselves, it seems clear that he’s right.
When it comes right down to it there is only one impediment to them leading his life, and that is me. I guess it’s a no-brainer right? They will be much happier following his path then mine, but they won’t be free to do so until I’m gone.
Cancer, don’t fail me now. I think we all need you.