Monday, October 14, 2013

Capture The Flag

One of the things that has marked Thomas' improvement in the last few weeks is an increased desire to hang out with friends. Really he's just stuck to one friend and has seen him around this friend's work schedule but at least he has gotten out. He does still spend a lot of time alone though which his meds NP worries about since isolating oneself when you have schizophrenia isn't such a good idea.

The other night a really great thing happened to change that for a few hours. Thomas received multiple texts from different friends inviting him to a game of night time capture the flag. These are good kids with solid families and foundations and some were friends he hadn't interacted with since elementary school.

Thomas came to me and asked me if he could go and knowing that nights out in the dark were terrifying times for him (we'd just had that exact discussion a day or so before) I swallowed the lump of my own fear in my throat and partly feigned and mostly genuinely showed excitement at the prospect of him going out with his friends. I told him, "Yes! You should go!" and he dressed in his simple, cobbled together military garb (delusion based but I won't get into that now) and I gave him a bag of snacks to take with him to share with his friends and off he went into the pitch blackness of the night with all of the monsters it contained.

I was excited. Here I was the mother of a teenager and finally (for only the second time) I got to stay up all night waiting for my kid to come home from a night out. These are the rituals I have missed because Thomas is sick. No nights out, few friends, and no dates. So I waited for him, held onto consciousness (my bed time is usually 8:30pm) and waited expectantly for him to come home.

At 11pm I got a text that he was on his way home and when he arrived I was so happy to see him home unscathed and smiling. I asked him how the night was and he said he had fun so I said I was going to bed now.

He had made it. A night out under the stifling darkness, few stars, threatening storm clouds and God knows what else he thought was out there with him. He was now home safe in bed and he had seen friends he hadn't seen in years and had had a good time.

The next morning I saw him and he was no worse for the wear, or so I thought. He had tripped, torn off a part of a toenail and scraped up the palm of his hand. He was hurting pretty bad and it would have given him a perfect excuse to drop out of the game and find safety inside a lighted home but he had powered through it all just to have some red-blooded teenager fun!

Who won the game of capture the flag was unimportant to me as I had my son who fought the monsters of the dark and made it. To me, he had won the game against schizophrenia and on top of that came away with a smile and some confidence that whatever might be out there didn't get him and he was able to just be a kid for once.

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