Saturday, October 31, 2009

When my son was sentenced to a 6 month military style boot camp my heart sank. I was devastated and couldn't imagine how I was going to make it through his six months. I conjured up thoughts of people being abused, yelled at, belittled, even beaten. I went so far as to do a search on the Internet of the specific camp he was being sent to. There was an article from a mother stating that it is unbelievable that these forms of punishment exist in our society. I hurt for him. I suffered for him. I could not image what could be much worse than that. I imagined myself there and wondered how I would make it through.

During his boot camp time I heard from him twice. Once he warned me not to address any letter to him other than using the salutation of "Dear Blake" because if I did anything else they would make him do push ups. The second time he wrote he said they kept him busy every moment of the day and he rarely had free time.

When he came home he looked better than he had looked for years. His eyes were bright, his skin flawless and his body in magnificent shape. And you know what, he was on fire with the physical gains he had made. He told me at length about the obstacle courses, the runs and the hikes. He had such pride in his accomplishments.

So from all that I learned that just because I might hate one of his left turns in life doesn't mean that he would hate it. And all my worrying and fretting did nothing for him. It only made me miserable. So today I will remember that. When I pick up his consequences and worry about them, I will stop and remind myself that I have my own life. I will put him down and move on.


The other day I was talking to my sister and she mentioned that she was a very anxious person and she had a lot of fears. I quickly responded, "Really, I don't really have many fears." And when I said that I meant it.

That evening my son was late coming home. He had a curfew of 12:00 and it was well past that. I was angry and thought about what consequence I could give that would be meaningful. And every minute he was late I got angrier. And then I realized that behind that anger was fear. I was scared for him. And after that night I started realizing that behind my anger is almost always fear.

Acknowledging and accepting the fear, somehow dissipates it a bit.

So when I'm angry or scared I let myself feel that for a bit. But then I try to think that all I can do is what I can do. At the end of the day I can not stop my son's heroin addiction, I can't prevent him from being arrested, or from going to prison. But I can change my life for the better. I have great power over myself and what I will do today. Today I will work on putting down the fear and anger.

"That the birds of worry and care fly above your head, this you cannot change. But that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent."
Chinese proverb

Friday, October 30, 2009

Make it Easy

I've lived in my house for almost 20 years and I would guess the house itself is maybe 40 years old. And the other day the front handle to the door just fell off. I went to go outside and pulled the door handle like I have hundreds of times before but this time the handle just came off in my hand.

I looked an looked for what I wanted to replace it with. Finally I decided on this cool keyless mechanical lock that you just punch a code in. I bought the lock and waited until a day off to install it.

One afternoon I unpacked all the instructions, screws, long dingies, short doodles and sat by the door and started working. I read the instructions, stared at the directions, tried to put it together without the instructions. I thought about forcing the lock and just make it go on but I knew, from experience that forcing the issue doesn't make it work. So I gave up. I realized I needed help.

And several days later my girlfriend who is a wonder, slowly, methodically, and with ease installed the lock as I handed her tools and pieces the way a nurse hands instruments to the surgeon.

And I applied this to my son. When he tells me he is ready for a new start I let my heart jump for joy. I start planning how I can help him, think about what he needs to do, give gentle reminders, offer rides, insist on taking him to apply for jobs. Everything is laying before him and I am trying to push, maneuver, manipulate him into doing what will make me happy.

So the lesson for me is that something is really hard it means I need to back off. If I try to force anything it will not work with ease. I need to work on making everything in my life easy.