Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Is There Such A Thing As Being Too Much "Mom"?

I write this this morning after a terrible nightmare I had last night. It is fuzzy now but it centered around Thomas and I picking up some boxes in a strange area and I left him behind to carry his much heavier one so that I could get the truck opened. When he didn't show up behind me something told me he was gone, that he had been taken from me. I searched the area frantically, crying out for him, calling him and he was nowhere to be found. I woke up crying and felt as if I had lost my only son to some monster.

I don't know who took him. I don't know where he went but it did make me think about yesterday's therapy session.

Dr. K. set up a new project for Thomas as a way to manage his schizophrenia. I think I have talked about it before. They are two buckets, into one Thomas is supposed to put schizophrenic thoughts based on an acronym (A.I.D.) into the schizophrenic thoughts bucket and then thoughts he is unsure of he was to put those thoughts into the "unsure" bucket. I think as I said before that this project could be difficult for Thomas and I'm not sure what to make of it. My concern is that Thomas won't be able to identify schizophrenic thoughts because he doesn't know that they ARE schizophrenic thoughts. So many times he has innocently told me something he thinks or does and only after talking to him has he come to realize that the thoughts are part of his illness. So left to his own devices, will he recognize his schizophrenic thoughts and be able to put them into the right bucket?

Dr. K. hunted our town for the perfect buckets. I first have to say how sweet I think he was for doing that. He was thinking of Thomas and thinking of this way that he wants to help Thomas manage his illness and he went to 4 different stores in town to find the perfect size buckets. Then he brought them back to his office, labeled them and gave starter 3x5 cards with "The Thought" written on one side and "The Challenge" written on the other. He took his personal time and he did this for Thomas. I love the man for caring as much as he did to take his time away from work to create these buckets for Thomas so that he has something tangible to work with.

So, in therapy, Dr. K. and Thomas practiced, a little, coming up with schizophrenic thoughts and unsure thoughts and deciding what bucket they should go in. But here is the thing. Dr. K. told Thomas,

"when in doubt, who can you ask about this?"

All while leaning in his chair towards me with great emphasis, physically pointing my direction with his body to clue Thomas in as to who he should ask. Thomas smiled and said,

"My mom."

And of course I nodded and beamed from ear to ear. It was clear though that I am an integral part of this new plan of working with this process of sorting thoughts into buckets. Not only that but it's become clear how very close Thomas and I are especially because now when Dr. K. asks a question oftentimes lately Thomas and I turn to each other and look at each other to decide the answer to the question or to smile at each other when we have some knowledge that only he and I share. We appear to be partners, sometimes almost twins, as we exchange these moments with each other.

All of this makes me realize how very close we are. But are we TOO close? The thing is, Thomas is my only child. I have never abandoned him, I have walked his path with him his entire life, I have loved him sometimes all by myself when there was no father figure around to share that sentiment and no grandma or grandpa around to show him their love. We are partners, we are becoming fast friends lately and it makes me wonder, ARE WE TOO CLOSE? I don't want to be one of those mom's, the helicopter ones, the ones who are in their child's business far beyond what's appropriate. I don't think I am because, for example, I just learned something about Thomas and his girlfriend the other day that I never knew, that he had kept from me for forever. I think if I were over-involved I would have known that piece of information far sooner and I would have inserted myself in the situation, busy passing judgment and telling him how he should live his life. Apart from reminding him to shower or reminding him about his pills, I am actually not as involved in his personal life as one would think. What IS obvious though is that he relies on me heavily for comfort, for company and for counsel, especially when it comes to his illness.

So, I don't know. Am I too involved? Is the fact that Dr. K. points to me to be the one that normalizes Thomas's illness and that Thomas and I exchange these glances with secrets behind them, does that make me too involved?

I'd like to think that what he and I are is mom and son. Two people who have weathered many many storms together. Two people who have been together since the day he began as a seed in my belly. Two people who share a home, an illness, a chance for recovery and a hope for a future of independence for him. My dream about losing him, about someone taking him from me, is that indicative of a mom who's holding too tightly to something that really isn't hers to hold on to?

I don't know. That whole exchange in therapy got me thinking. I am wondering what the good doctor thinks about mine and Thomas's closeness. What I want it all to be is normal for the circumstances that life has laid out before us with Thomas having developed this illness in his youth. I'm not sure I could be any other way and I'm not sure that I want to. I have always felt that it's Thomas and I against the world and I feel that it will always be that way.

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