Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there was a very sweet angel boy. When he was born his mother swore that she would do anything to ensure that he grew up happy. Whether he was a garbage man or the president, she wanted him happy. But babies grow into children with personalities and minds of their own and this mother watched as her sweet angel boy began to change in front of her.

By 7 he was a frightened child, only his mother really couldn't put her finger on what it was. He couldn't sleep without a nightlight and he began wetting the bed again. This mother loved her angel boy but she was also frustrated, certain that there was something wrong with her angel boy's character that he couldn't just get up and use the bathroom at night. She became certain that other kids his age were advancing much faster developmentally and in her ignorance she measured her boy against what she thought was true of other children. Somehow, over time, the bedwetting stopped and the mother of this sweet angel boy thought she had been successful in her reprimands and she thought she had put a stop to it.

By 10 the sweet angel boy was well into school and he struggled with school work. As hard as she tried, she couldn't get him to learn his math or complete projects. In her frustration, she helped her angel boy complete his projects but was not kind about it, reminding him that he needed to get his act together, or else. Even then this mother measured her son against other children and felt sure that her angel boy lagged behind his peers.

This went on this way well into his teenage years and the mother of this angel boy fought with him tooth and nail to get him to do the things she felt he should be doing. She loved her angel boy more than life itself but she wanted him to be successful, wishing he was more like the neighbor boy who excelled in everything school related. Always she measured her angel boy against other kids and always she felt he was never going to get his act together and she hated herself for having to be so harsh but the power of imagined peer pressure for her was somehow stronger.

Then one day something happened. Her angel boy received a letter with no return address and when he went to read it he first put on a respirator mask, believing the letter had anthrax in it and he was being put under a terrorist attack. In disbelief the mother and father watched this transpire and in frustration told the angel boy to take off his mask and stop being ridiculous and just open the letter. Reluctantly he did but the mother, again, couldn't shake that there was something wrong, that her angel boy somehow had something inherently wrong with him. She spent much of his teenage years frustrated with him because of incidents like that and because, even still, he couldn't complete homework or even remember to make it home on time.

As his forgetfulness added up, so did her frustration and she felt like if she could just say the right thing to him to make him do the things she felt he should do then he would be okay.
He was never okay.

No matter how much she fought him.

So many more defining moments like these passed by this angel boy and his mother and still the mother felt like her authoritarian tactics would someday take hold and her angel boy would change. She loved him so much, oh how she loved him, but her frustration always seemed to win out in the end.

Then he became sick. REALLY sick. He had schizophrenia. At first this mother of this now sick angel boy didn't know what to do to help her son but she began to change her tactics as she began to understand the illness and its effects on the mind of a teenager and even a child. Piece by piece fell into place, all of those years of frustration that had added up seemed to fall away as the mother learned that most of what her angel boy struggled with had to do with this illness, schizophrenia.
Her tears came fast and uncontrolled as she came to understand better the mistakes she had made with her authoritarian parenting all of the years of her angel boy's life. All of the ultimatums she had laid down in an effort to get him to change, all of the frustration, all of the heated arguments, all of the moments where her angel boy and herself retreated to opposite corners to nurse painful wounds, all of it had come and gone and none of it could be taken back.

None of it.

Forever changed, this mother of this angel boy vowed with her entire being that there would be no more authoritarian rules. As she worked with this illness now ravaging her son even bigger and more cruelly, she softened her approach, made understanding this illness and her angel boy her priority, and in time, a new, more compassionate mother grew into maturity herself and as such she became not only a better mother but a caregiver, a student and a friend. Each day with her angel boy taught her about this illness, taught her about her boy and most importantly taught her about herself.
It is a new day, a new chapter in the story that predicts what the future may hold. After learning the MOST VALUABLE LESSONS from this angel boy who had, for years, had broken wings, this mother now makes it her life's work, with refreshed, enlightened vision, to never ever again let herself repeat the past.

Her angel boy is her life now, more than he ever ever was before and though she can't right the wrongs of the past, she now knows there is always today and many more tomorrows to love and protect her angel boy and most importantly to handle his delicate, broken wings with all of the love she has in her entire being.

The End.

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