Once again I've gone missing in action, folks. I wish I had some fantastic excuse like, I've been really busy having sexy time with a new beau, or that I've received a fantastically appropriate settlement from Big Daddy and have been preoccupied with botox appointments and long weekends at the shore.
But no, if you know me, you know the drill. I've just been busy with life.
As I sit here typing this, I am beginning to feel my insides uncurl from the agonizingly tight knot they've been wrapped in for the past 45 minutes or so. Yes, I'm having trouble with Charlie. Will this ever, ever end? We are now on our 7th hellish morning in a row. Every effing morning I go down to get him up, and for the past seven days nothing has worked. He's screamed at me, I've screamed at him. He's cried, I've cried. And like the enabling enabler that I am, I let him do this. I drive him to school, sometimes he's remorseful on the way there, sometimes angry and brutal, other times I feel like I'm transporting a mute and brainless scarecrow.
Seven years. That's how long this nightmarish morning routine has dragged on. With exceptions on the weekends, vacation time and summer break, every single morning I wake up and have to brace myself for the fight ahead. My other kids, all three of them, get up and get ready and go to school like they're supposed to. They do their homework, they get good grades, they follow the rules and do what they're told. But Charlie, he doesn't do what he's supposed to. I can't remember the last time we had a good conference, a good report card, a stretch of good mornings that lasted more than a week or so.
He's supposed to be graduating in less than a month. He has used up all of his "Get out of jail free" cards with that school...cashed in every favor and then some. As of last week, he was to miss not a single day of school...if that happened, they wouldn't allow him to graduate. I've been the weepy mom on the phone to counselors and principals, been the angry Mama Bear fighting for my poor sad kid. I've called the local agency that is supposed to be an advocate for kids who are outside the circle of "average" and "normal" (they didn't ever get back to me). And today I'm feeling like there is no more I can do.
For a couple of weeks I kept my head firmly wedged in that big pile of sand I keep handy for such occasions. I started planning a graduation party for him, made arrangements to get some pictures taken for his graduation announcements.
But right now? At this very moment? I am spent. My stomach hurts, my pulse is still racing. I can hear him clattering around downstairs, don't know if he's getting ready for his ride to school or if he's trashing the laundry room or if he's down there crying. My thoughts turn to his father, and the rage starts to creep in. How would it be different, I think to myself, if there was another person here helping me raise this broken child? What if he had a strong set of shoulders to lean on, hell...what if I did? What if there had been two parents giving a shit about this kid from the get go, rather than one slinking away with his tail between his legs and the leftover parent stretched as thin as saran wrap?
Big Daddy brought Spawn to one of William's baseball games last week. I looked at him, for just moment, and watched the man I used to be married to lovingly hold his progeny and talk softly, sweetly to him. I saw him pointing out the action on the field to that little product of his and Secretary's ill-begotten romance, that human being born out of a dirty cluster of lies and deceit and cruelty. I wanted to approach him and ask him, "How long until you run away from this one? How long before you decide he's too much work? How can you sit here and act like you're a man, a father, in front of the children you abandoned?". He stayed for a little bit, and then left. Left for his new life with his perfect wife and their perfect child. Henry was at the game with me, and as we were packing up to go home I asked him, "Did you talk to your dad?". Henry shrugged, and said, "Well, I was walking over there to say hi and he turned around and left."
He turned around, and he left. Sounds like the title of a Shirelles song, or maybe one by Alanis Morisette, doesn't it? Pretty much sums things up.
I am sitting here, taking swigs of lukewarm coffee and answering math questions with the eleven year old, while my tortured and fractured manchild lays downstairs swaddled in blankets, a pillow over his head. In a little while I will go out into the world, my "everything is just AWESOME" face plastered over the one that has creases worn deep by worry. I continue to volunteer for things, show up for things and try with all my might to keep life normal for the other kids while trying with every fiber in my being to hang on to the one kid who keeps drifting away with the tides.
I know that we can get through this, he and I. I envision a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, years away from now, where Charlie and I and his wife or girlfriend sit and talk about these days and how hard it was and how hard we fought to get through them. In this vision Charlie is a man, a man who has tackled his issues like a linebacker and come out on the other side, victorious. He has figured out how to quell the waves of grief that had once threatened to take him down.
But for now, in this shaky and volatile present, all I can do is wait. Wait and watch and worry.
Sorry for the downer post, people. I will hopefully be back later with a Ten on Tuesday. Despite the fact that I have been dealing with this real life version of The Bell Jar, there have been some spectacularly normal and funny goings on around here.
Life goes on. I'm still learning that. I just wish it wasn't such a freaking hard lesson.