Sunday, March 30, 2014

Giving Him Wings

I felt like this morning I should clear something up. I know nobody said anything like this but I wonder if you might think this. I had a talk with my mom yesterday about yesterday's blog post and I further expanded on it with her. What she jumped on was that I need to let Thomas go. She felt that I wasn't giving him enough room to become independent and I became frustrated with her because that is not what's going on at all. I explained this to her and thought I'd share it here with you.

There is nothing I want more than for Thomas to become independent someday. When he was younger his dreams were to join the Navy. I pretty much planned on that being his life until the Navy told us they wouldn't take him with the type of illness he has. Up until then, though, I prepared myself all the time for the eventuality of Thomas leaving me to go and see the world. I was excited for him, excited that boot camp might set him straight and get him on the right path. You see, because I didn't know he was sick I thought some of his behaviors were those of a teenager being difficult and not applying himself and I thought a good 2 or 3 month boot camp might set him on a good course for his adult life. As much as I didn't want him to go, as much as I lived in horror that he could end up in some sort of battle somewhere, I never once stepped on his dream. I took him to tour a submarine and a few Navy ships that showed up in places that we vacationed to. He often watched military shows about the Navy and about prepping for boot camp. He was setting his course and yet every part of my emotional mom side cried out wanting him to stay right here in town with me. But I never ever stepped on his dreams for my own selfish reasons.

Fast forward to lately and his burgeoning independence. Let me clarify a few things. First, I write here my feelings about losing him, my feelings about his illness about...everything. These are my feelings and do not in any way define my actions towards Thomas. I have become a bit of a split personality in that what I feel and what I do are two completely different things. Just the other day, against his anxieties about it, I pushed him to apply for a secured credit card. He was scared to death but I explained to him how this would be important for establishing credit for his future so that he could rent apartments and maybe buy a car someday. At another point he came to me and asked me to make an appointment for him to get his hair cut. Up until then I have done that and paid for it. Instead what I did was give him the phone number for the barber and told him to make his own appointment. He was scared to death but I told him that this was all part of becoming independent. Furthermore I informed him that he would also have to pay for the cut because I felt it was time he should start paying for his personal upkeep at the very least. He agreed to do this. So you see, my actions were that of a person who is letting her son go, who is actually pushing him to fly free. However, my feelings were two fold. I thought to myself, if I get him going on this stuff it is one more step to me losing him. I hated that. It made me very sad and very scared. On top of that he was so scared to make his own appointment for his hair cut and normally I would have stepped in and done it because I felt horrible for him and his anxiety. I didn't do it though.

So you see? I am not standing in Thomas' way to become independent. My actions will always be, for the most part, to allow him to fly free but I can guarantee you that yesterday's post will not be the last one about my feelings and fears for what's to become of him. When he suffers in some way, truly suffers I will, of course, step in to protect him because in those times he will need that.

For now though, as he improves, I will give him the chance to try those wings of his that I gave him at birth. I would love to see him soar, to look down on a world that he so desperately wants to leave behind, the world of being tied down to an illness that cripples him at times. I want it all for him but I will never stop wanting him safely by my side where I can protect him. I am a mom, that is ingrained in me but I am also smart enough to know when it's time to let go in spite of how I feel.

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