mardi, janvier 08, 2013

The shadowed spirit

I am breaking the rules.

Every rule of loyalty, of politeness, of the covenant (or is it perhaps a social norm) that says you do not speak of family matters -- the ones that really matter.

For those of us raising children from whom we are distant walk among you like spies, watching you with grief and longing.

"Better not to compare" said a friend.  I know she meant it kindly.

But I still bleed.

We talk to each other, parents with distant children, fathers and mothers who run alongside empty-handed. Somehow, amid the endless searches for new therapies, schools, physicians, we recognize one another.  Find comfort, in a moment, sharing what we so rarely speak among those who have not spent nights weeping helplessly for their sons,  head bowed for a daughter seemingly lost to them.

I read a letter about someone else's apparently brilliant, loving, endlessly mature and charmingly playful child and wonder: what did I do wrong?

And underneath that -- is the writer telling the whole truth? Or does she
have a need to make her child seem as naturally gifted as any pagan god?

All it does is reinforce my own sense of isolation.

I watch her as she sits at church, garbed in black -- at a distance from the other teenagers.

Bowed head, I listen with apparent meekness as I am blamed by one of her mentors for being too judgmental, allotting little praise, meting out too little responsibility.

Try raising this young woman, I want to say to her.  Try looking at the endless years in counselor's offices, at school, sometimes pleading, sometimes dragging her dad along as the months slip by and every dream browns, curls up and seeps away.

She lies upstairs when she gets home, phone by her side, and computer on her lap.  One by one, her  real life friends disappear. Her world is becoming this screen -- that phone.

Time was, when I could put away that phone, intrude on her world. There was a time when rules would have meant something, but parents could not agree.

This time lost.

What I would not do to have it back again -- and yet I know that, given who her father and I were, are, are together, it would still be the same.

I have lost the trick of hope.  Almost out of remedies, I am.

Soon she will be old enough that I will not matter.  Her dad, who loves her too, is more accepting as she accepts the simulacrum of a relationship for a reality.

She is, despite those years, so innocent -- believes she does not need us.

If I could, I would roar like a lion in agony.

Instead I write.

As though somehow these words will allow some of the poison to leach away, giving a moment's rest.

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