Taking a Chance

I cannot take myself back to the day that John F. Kennedy was shot.  I cannot relate as my parents descibe the events of that day, or what it felt like in the aftermath.  My generation does not know  that horror, thank God.  My generation knows of another tragedy that rocked the nation.

Today marks 12 years since the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon were attacked.  I am part of the 9-11 generation.  A generation that grew up believing that not only were we as individuals were invincible, but that our nation was untouchable.  We learned in the second it took to run a plane into a building that none of us came out of that unscathed.  We watched, partly with the unspeakable hope that this was some horrid movie clip.  It wasn’t, it was real.  Every 9-11 we revisit that day and we pray it never happens again.  Ever.

What do I tell my children of that day?  How do I explain to them, who were not born, what this day means to us who lived it?  I feel an odd sense of protection of the events that day, lest history books tell a different story.  How do I comfort them and tell them something like that will never happen again?  How do I explain the violence in light of current events surrounding Syria?  How do I promise them unconditional safety?

I don’t.  I can’t tell them that, I never will be able to do so.

What I CAN do is speak of hope.  Hope seems the one word which can motivate even the staunchest cynic.  Some would say that anger would be more motivating….I disagree.  To what end does reacting in anger help any situation?  My son went missing the other day for over five hours.  Now, I live in a small town, so I knew instinctively that nothing would probably happen to him.  See, I was lulled into a sense of complacency.  I found him hanging at a friend’s house and told him quietly to get home NOW.  He was scared to death that I was angry.  I was.  I was also terribly scared.  You see, generation 9-11 taught me that no one is totally safe.  Becoming a mother and living every moment for my children has also taught me to constantly be on guard.  They are too important not to have a mother watching and listening intently.  If I had reacted in anger, what would he have learned?  I spoke sternly and taught him the importance and the gravity of his actions.  I impressed upon him how important he is to me and so many others, yes he is even important to his big brother.

You see, I hope he learned a valuable lesson.  I also hope that he heard how important and precious he is.  I hope he came away knowing that there is nothing that would make me stop loving him.  EVER.

This brings me back to my original thoughts.  Mankind as a precious species, no matter what. EVER.  I may step on  toes here, but I will risk it.  As I think back on Sept. 11 and where I was.  BTW, i was teaching high level journalism and then 6th graders.  I saw their faces, the questions in their eyes.  How odd it was to go from students 16 years old to a roomful of 6th graders.  No parent, teacher, or clergy have to expain a tragedy such as what we endured.

Likewise, no parent, teacher, or clergy should have to tackle the issue of hate in whatever form it takes.  Was I angry at the events?  Most assuredly.  We should not have to explain to the generations behind us what hate and violence solves.  What are we teaching them?  What happened to treating mankind like the treasured gifts they are?  Do we agree with every decision made?  Absolutely not, EVER.  Do we have the right to make whole factions of mankind pay for the actions of others?  By this I mean, do we make all white causcian males pay for what has been done to the Native Americans or African Americans?   What was done was atrocious.  When do we stop the disregard for people  whose sexual orientation, religious (or non religious) affiliation, color, ability, money (or lack of it) and dictate that they are somehow less?  Explain to a young lady growing up that being a smart and capable woman means that she will be regarded as a bitch.  Tell the young man that he is to blame for all the wrong that has happened and will happen.  Approach the homeless or addict look them in the face and deem them unworthy.  Regard those suffering from mental illness, a history of abuse, rape, or other unspeakable intrusions that they did something to deserve such treatment.  Lobby to have all refugees and immigrants removed from a nation which promises a safe haven and a land of opportunity.  Tell me that I have no right to articulate these thoughts.

You may react in anger, choose to disregard this as so much blather, condemn me, or choose not to read.  You know what?  That is completely your choice.  I will still believe in the fact you are worth more than we can measure with existing technology.  Nothing can change that fact, EVER.  While the events of 9-11 rock my world every year, so do the other acts of senseless violence happening in our schools throughout the country or at marathons or celebrat ions.  I do not want a world where we have to explain why someone goes into a school intent on harm.  I pray for a world which understands that waging war is not a solution.  Weren’t we taught not to fight in the early years of school?  I could swear I heard that somewhere.  I yearn for a time when we embrace one another for who they are, that we look deep into their eyes and listen to their story.  It may just remind you of parts of your own story.

9-11 is part of my generation X’s life and legacy.  It is irreversible.  What happens today and forward is in the hands of each of us.  It is in our power to change and restore that which has been wounded.  I accept that challenge.  Do you?




Moving Furniture

  Warning:  this one is from the heart, that is all I can say.

I posted before that my eldest son spent some time at Avera Behavioral last year.  I was honored to be able to work along some wonderful people there as Idid my Chaplain hours.  My life was forever changed by the people, patients, and atmosphere….I remain thankful for who they are and what they spoke into my life.–whether they knew it or not.

Every 8 weeks or so, we have to take my oldest son to his psychiatrist for a med check.  This is the first time that we are keeping with the same litany of meds since we started.  It is a roller coaster of emotion and a constant trial and error.  I hate it.  I hate the drain on time, resources, energy, and what it does to us personally.  My son seems rather unaffected….he goes in, happy as a clam and willing to tell his Dr. how he is feeling and thinking.  I am grateful for that.  I am also grateful for the Dr.  He is kind, thorough, intelligent, and responsive.  I do not like having to see him every 8 weeks.

I know that there are some out there that see hospitals and doctors every stinking day….it is not any more fair.  What I had been building in my head as of late was spoken to yesterday.  Now, there will be some that will read this and be instantly angry with me.  I guess that is ok, I cannot control that.  I am writing because this is a way to vent, and rearrange some of the furniture in my head.  My invitation are to those that do feel angry or irritated that I would post such a thing….I invite the exploration as to the anger. ‘Nuf said.

As per last conferences I skipped and danced  down the hall as I saw in black and white the progess my son has made in the last school year.  He has not leaped the 4-4.5 levels in reading—they were always there.  We are just now seeing some resolution to the hyperactivity we see.  When last year he could not even sit still long enough to take a one minute timed reading test, this year he has surpassed it and tripled his scores!  The school is seeing what we always knew to be true; we have an extremely gifted child on our hands. 

Wait….it is not just the ADD that presents an obstacle.  There is also the issue of mood swings, hyper mania, impulsivity, inappropriate conversation, and obsessive thoughts.  Of these he is plagued.  After his initial hospitalization, there was talk of Autism or Bi polar.  As time has progressed, the diagnosis for Autism has diminished as we understand the scope of some of his other challenge areas. 

I asked the Dr to speak boldly and plainly.  He did.  He asked my biological pathology.  He knows I am adopted and as of last April, I know definitively what my biological background entails.  NOTE!!!! this has nothing to do with those that adopted me!!!! This is uncovering the genetic link that may be present, and it is.  Within my family tree is mental retardation, depression, suicidal ideation, anger issues, severe developmental delays, manic depression, and PTSD.    WHAMO!@!!!!!  Note  this is not to describe me!  After many batteries of tests, I present a clean mental profile!  Isn’t that scary!

So, take that pathology and combine it with an ADD male child with an extremely high intelligence, intuitive and perceptive understanding and we have the formula for some difficult moments.  As the Dr talked yesterday and I watched my son fixate on telling the Dr that sometimes the dog likes to have sex with butts, I cringed.  NOOOOOO !  I looked at the Dr, and he confirmed what I already knew.  9 out of t10 times with a pathology such as mine and what my son brings to the table…the diagnosis Bi polar sticks.  He mentioned 90-95% of the time, with this combination, it is unlikely to avoid this type of problem.

DAMN DAMN DAMN.  Makes sense tho.  The blow ups, the changes in mood that come out of nowhere, the high levels of frustration that give way to violence and then berating himself.  I have watched it all. Damn, not my son–not anyone; but LORD, not my son!  Not my baby~

Some out there are cursing me for what I am revealing…ok.  Dear readers, I am a mom, a daughter, sister, friend, confidante, wife, master’s graduate, community leader and advocate, writer, and public speaker and none of it can take away the hurt.  None.  No matter what I achieve, how much I plow ahead and work, it will not alleviate the problem.  It will not take away the hurt I feel at a diagnosis that will likely increase as he ages and matures.  I want to solve it, take it away, and make it mine.  I can’t.  While I hold no diagnosis other than anxiety and a smattering of personal insanity…(that is a joke), it skipped the me generation and landed on my son. DAMN.  I want to find a safe place and bawl like a baby and I want someone with power and authority to tell me it’s gonna be ok– and they can’t.

I have to be the one to watch, listen, pray, and advocate on behalf of my son, and I will.  There is no other option.  However, there are moments, dear readers, when I am so tired and exhausted that I rue this motherhood gig.  There are times I am emotionally tired enough to tune out the world and sleep for a weekend….when my sense of being “on” all the time has to give way to release.  Those are the times I wish I was little and someone else called the shots for a while.  Those are the times I feel vulnerable and small….and yet I know I am always protected and seen.  Yes, that was a faith reference.

Why did I post this?  Who knows.  Will anyone respond?  I know not.  It was a comfort to hear from the Dr that there was nothing I did during my pregnancy that caused this.  There is no other blame that can be laid.  He laughed when I mentioned some of the struggle…thinking that I could have done something to cause this is just bad psychology.  As for any other physical anomalies that would trigger such a diagnosis….they don’t exist.  It is the tendency of our society to find someone or something to pin the blame to when we don’t understand a situation, and mental illness is the number 1 most stereotyped issue present.  We are talking about ADD, and autism and the spectrum of autism for young people, and we should.  The fact is, we are not talking about Bi polar and its links and this leads to isolation, loneliness, and misunderstanding.

So, there it is.  I heard it yesterday….sat with it most of the night and found a moment of quiet as I listen to the fish tank and drink my chai tea.  Be gentle with one another….carry with and for each other those burdens which we know would overwhelm….we are community, let us start to understand what that means.



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