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The Road to Hell

I am the mother of a child with serious mental health disorders.

And today I fucked up.

He sent me some concerning messages. Finished with ‘bye’ and then didn’t respond to any of my further texts or calls.

So I panicked. I left messages for his doctor and his therapist because it’s after hours. Then called the police, several states away.

He scared me and I panicked.

And now he’s extremely pissed with me and I don’t know what happens next.

I’ve damaged our fragile trust and I don’t know if he’ll allow me back in.

And it’s killing me.

Not just today. Every day. Whether I hear from him or not. Whether it’s a good conversation or not.

We recently spent several hours together and it was GOOD. And my hope rose — but all hope now is heavily tempered with the pain of knowing that any moment the GOOD can shift to BAD. There’s a lot of walking on eggshells, stepping carefully, feeling gently ahead for soft spots or sharp edges. And there are far more sharp edges where I trip or pull back, bite my tongue or say that one thing that sets him off. Something that a couple of days ago was fine.

He’s my one and only son. My child who I  share so many interests with – Doctor Who, X-Files, Twin Peaks, Harry Potter…

We have the same twisted sense of humor. He’s wicked smart. The green flashes in his eyes come from me. And the light dusting of golden freckles across his nose. We talk books, movies, music, religion (or lack thereof)…

He’s artistic, creative, imaginative.

Although between the illnesses, medications and a brain injury none of his creativity comes easy to him anymore. And I know he feels that lack. And it pains me.

I’m his mother. I’m supposed to be able to make things better. To help him.

When I look at him I don’t just see the man he is now, I see the boy he was. The boy who slept with me until he was six and I was too pregnant. And even then he’d come sleep on the floor by our bed. The boy who looked so lovingly at his baby sister and touched her so gently. The boy who would watch ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ year round if we let him. The boy who from the moment he was mobile didn’t stop – if he could climb on it, over it, through it, under it, swing on it, walk on it, etc. he did. And has a few scars to show for it although somehow he never broke a bone or needed stitches. The boy who picked wild hot peppers then touched his face so had to put his face in a bowl of milk. Whose friends mothers loved him because he was kind and helpful. The 17 year old who was so miserably sick with the stomach flu that he brought his bedding in to my room to sleep by me, even if it was on the floor.

The boy, and now the man, who has never had a problem telling me he loved me.

And I love him so much my heart is breaking.

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Pets

My life would feel emptier if I didn’t have at least one pet. Currently, not counting the fish, we have three – 2 cats and 1 dog.

Some of the earliest photos my patents took of me are of infant me lying on the bed with our poodle Coquette lying near me. My parents for her in Germany while my father was stationed there and brought her back to the States – along with my sister and me.

Then there was Kitzel, an orange tabby; Sammy, Coquette’s daughter who took after her father Sam – some sort of terrier; Suzie was next after Coquette died — Sammy wouldn’t stop crying, so one night Dad surprised us when he came home by pulling a poodle puppy out from under his coat. An Irish Setter adopted us for awhile – hopping into our van when Mom dropped us off for school and staying for a few months before heading out on his way again.

We always had at least one cat and one dog growing up and I’ve always had at least one cat. Over the years there were others too: a ferret, iguanas, a tortoise, horses, bunnies, chickens, birds, fish.

Personally, I’m more of a cat person. Not that I don’t like dogs — if I didn’t, we wouldn’t have the ginormous puppy we do. Probably has to do with me being a more solitary and quiet person, rather than the high energy extrovert who seeks company and attention.

I also think cats are, for the most part, easier than dogs. However, the two we currently have are not always easy. Charlie is the scaredy cat who hides at the slightest strange sound or whenever any one comes over. But then he becomes very demanding and quite literally in your face when he wants your attention. Caesar is a prissy boy who wants the litterbox just so and his food just so and his water constantly freshened. He’s a nighttime snuggler, waiting downstairs for me to go up to bed. He’s also a mighty hunter, catching mice, birds, chipmunks, shrews, cicadas, flies…

There is something so fulfilling and special when an animal chooses to spend time with you, coming to you for attention, snuggling, kneading, purring, head-butting, tail-brushing, bouncing around to get you to play, stops-drops-and-rolls to show their trust, talking to you (and you talking back – yes, in the crazy pet lady).

And I love hearing others per stories – the cute and stupid and annoying and smart things they do.

Going to wrap this up now as Caesar is waiting for me to head up to bed so he can follow and join me.

N is for…

 

Night.

It just seems to follow naturally after Moon, doesn’t it?

I have always been a night owl. I would much rather stay up until the wee hours then sleep until noon or so. On an average day, I might start to feel sleepy about 9 or 10 pm, but if I stay up past that I get a second wind. Not a bad thing when I can sleep in or nap the next day — not so good when it’s an early rise and a day full of activities facing me. And unfortunately, most businesses are open during the day, not the night, requiring at least some daytime wakefulness and activity.

As a child, we lived in the same town as my grandparents and they had a ranch a few miles outside the city limits. We spent many nights on the ranch and with so little man-made lighting, the expanse of stars and the view of the Milky Way were impressive. And certainly made an impression on me. It’s where and when I started learning the constellations.

Over the years since then I’ve lived in towns, big cities, out in the country, and I always look at the night sky.

But it’s not just the night sky. It’s the changes in vision and sounds that happen when the Sun goes down. Colors are no longer apparent, everything appears mostly in shades of grey. The man-made sounds — vehicles, voices — fade away, as do many bird and animal sounds. To be replaced with other animals and insects that you don’t hear or notice during the day. Cicadas, owls, bats, foxes, some frogs. Fireflies. And without the cover of man-made sounds, the rustles and crunches in bushes and trees are more obvious.

I see well outside at night. I was told years ago that I have larger than normal pupils, allowing more light in — nice at night, not so good with sun and bright lights. In high school I was a camp counselor. We camped out in the woods, with areas connected by narrow paths, not paved or edged or anything like that. I don’t remember why, nothing hinky, but a friend and I were making our way back to the counselor camp and he couldn’t tell which way to go. All I had to do was look down and I was able to clearly see the path. I was surprised he couldn’t see it, while he was surprised I could.

Night is not silent or necessarily peaceful, but I find it moreso than day. I prefer the cool shadows of the night to the harsh light of day.

Let me just end with the words of “Late Lament” by Graeme Edge and a 2 videos of “Nights in White Satin”, one with the lament, one without.

Late Lament

Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room
Bedsitter people look back and lament
Another day’s useless energy spent

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one
Lonely man cries for love and has none
New mother picks up and suckles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young

Cold hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colors from our sight
Red is grey and yellow white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion

With:

Without:

 

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