Christmas is finally over

About a week and a half before Christmas, my son came to me and said he wanted to go and live with his father…

He came to me as a mature young man. He told me that he needed to talk — that he didn’t want to upset me or hurt me, but that he’d given it alot of thought and he wanted to go live with his father.

I was completely shocked. Then, merely devastated.

He said that his father seemed to have his feet on the ground these days, and that he loved me, but he had lived with me for 14 years, and he wanted to build a relationship with his father.

I considered forbidding it, pitching a hissy, pehaps a tantrum …

But I had promised this child that, should he decide that he wanted to live with his father, that I’d not stop him. Now I had the opportunity to see if I really am as good as my word. It really tested me.

He moved most of his belongings a few days before Christmas, and he left to live with the paternal unit at Noon on Christmas Day.

It made Christmas less than stellar for me, personally. I spent the rest of my day at my new inlaws, trying to pretend everything was ok.

It affected my daughter negatively. She said that it was like all her family was moving away. When her oldest brother moved out, her comment shocked me “That’s what boys and men do, they leave.”

I’m worried what this will do to her perspective, long-term. It’s hard to explain to a six-year-old. Heck, it’s not easy for a 38-year-old.

This situation made the former life frustrations much less important for a few days — now they loom with even more menace.

Wayne has spent much of his time propping me up and trying to find some silver linings to these personal storm clouds.

I seem to spend my days between watery pity parties – wondering what makes my children want to be elsewhere – and being angry at the world that this could happen.

I’m an active parent. I talk to my kids and I enjoy them. I like being involved in their lives as they find their way. I like it that I’m INVITED in by my sons and I know that this changes dramatically when proximity changes. I know that this young man, like his brother, will move out and will be building a new life – for better or for worse – elsewhere. I know that I’m not going to be a room away when he needs to “just talk” – I’ve lost my traveling companion, the person who most often helped me remember everything on my shopping list, the person who thought it was cool to have an “all movie, all night” night at home. I’ve lost my friend.

His brother seemed to need to pick a fight when he left, it was like he needed a reason to justify his decision. Neither time have I felt good about a son leaving home, but the first time I was preoccupied with putting out the immediate fires and being irritated and hurt by what he said and did. It kept me distracted.

My youngest son was just as sweet on his way out as he was day-to-day. That was tough too.

As a mother it gripes my backside that I raise these boys up to the point where they are my companions, my helpers, my friends – and THEN the father reaps the rewards.

I know I should be happy that they are boys that want a relationship with him, rather than just writing him off. I know that I should look at the bright side, but the dark side calls me so much more strongly right now. I’m angry, I’m hurt.

And, I’m feeling a little lost.

Yeah, maybe we CAN go to Europe and do the traveling we hope to do a bit sooner with only one child, maybe things will be “simpler” with fewer people depending on me on a daily basis, maybe there are dozens of silver linings – but having watched my eldest go through dramatic changes when he made this decision – I hate to see another son visit the same fate.

I miss them. Period.

And there is that part of me that feels like if I’d not said “something has to give” so many times recently or if I’d not said, “I need some relief, there is too much responsibility in my life” to the Universe quite so many times or if I’d been a bit stronger, if I’d been less whiny – Perhaps this wouldn’t have happened.

I have wished so many times lately that I had more time to dedicate to Alexzandria. I felt that I was spending so much time working, fretting over the office, the cabin, the finances, the trials and tribulations of my teen son, building a new marriage etc, etc, — that I wasn’t giving Alex what she really needs.

I have been worried about her education – this school system is less than desirable and I don’t have the time to home school her right now. She’s so bright and I firmly believe that the school isn’t giving her what she really needs. I talk with her about what she does in school There is a lot of “free time” and there are a lot of movies. It worries me.

And, you know, when you ask for certain end results, the means though which you achieve those ends are often not what you meant. It’s a case of “The Monkey’s Paw” (a short story) and I’ve always said “Be careful what you wish for — you just might get it, and it may not be what you wanted.”

I’ve preached this for years – and yet here I am. I got exactly what I requested. My life is simpler, my financial responsibilities will be less paying child support than they ever were supporting the boys full time, I’ll have more time to dedicate to Alex. But this is NOT what I meant. Not at all.

This moment, I’m having difficulty even relating to Wayne and Alex. I can’t talk with the boys without crying the moment I get off the phone. I’m miserable.

Right now, breathing in and breathing out is about the most I can manage. I always wanted the boys to leave home, to spread their wings and fly. I’ve worked hard to get them prepared to do so – but I didn’t intend it to happen yet. Not yet.