I Have So Much More To Say, But…

I have decided to stop writing about being M’s mom in a public format.

Each day I continue to sit in front of my computer and write, and I watch as the words still seem to spill from my fingertips. It’s as if for years what my mind couldn’t figure out, somehow – my fingertips did.

And I am grateful to have a permanent record of this journey to allow M’s adult eyes to some day read about my thoughts, prayers, concerns, and love for him when he was a teenager.  One day I think he’ll realize how deep my love for him runs.

I am proud of what we all created with majormomma.com. The surprises that came from sharing my story about being a mom to were life-changing. I am a stronger person and a better mom. Part of me thinks I needed to find out that I had the strength in me all along, but I’d by lying if I said I figured it out on my own.

Every person who read my blog helped me get stronger for M. (Yes, even the teenagers who sent me death threats – I learned from you, that my fight needs to continue.)

So many family members, friends, and strangers have been right along with me from the beginning. I have marveled at comments between others who care and who share in my fight. I am grateful and hopeful. Thank you, everyone.

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And since it is now impossible for me to stop writing, stop caring, and stop sharing what I am learning on this journey –  I will continue in a different format.

My old adversary (Facebook) has become a new ally. I created a page called “Major Momma.” My little Major Momma Facebook page is where I will continue to share my efforts on this crusade to help parents get strong for the battle.

Feel free to find me there – I won’t be writing specifically about M – but you all know that deep down, I actually am.

Love, j

 

146: A Note To My Mystery Friend

This post will sound strange and cryptic to all but one person. So, please excuse me here; I feel this note is quite necessary.

Dear Friend, I read your note over and over again this morning, and I am so grateful for your words. Unfortunately, I cannot reply to “comments” unless I approve them. Upon their approval, they would then become visible for all to see, but I want to respect your anonymity.

I feel a need to thank you and to respond. If you are willing to continue this dialogue, my email is majormomma@gmail.com

Sincerely, J

145: Frogs On The Other Side

A sweet 6th grader approached my desk yesterday. She had been busy composing a letter filled with thoughtful words of hope and encouragement meant for the eyes of Henryville Elementary students. Her letter, along with those written by her classmates, would soon be mailed to one of the many towns devastated by the weekend’s path of tornadoes.

She asked, “Would that be okay if I draw a picture of a frog on my letter?”

“Sounds good to me, but why a frog?”

She explained, “Frogs are only able to leap forward; they can’t jump backwards. When you are going through a tough time it’s important to just keep moving ahead. You don’t want to get stuck thinking about things you can’t change. And it’s more important how you come out on the other side.”

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The other side...

I reference “the other side” a lot when I talk about M. My version of “the other side” is the wonderful place and time that I get to see his smile, hear his laugh, and know in my heart that he is going to be okay. My words usually go something like this,

“I saw my son slipping away from us. We sent him to a military academy in September. Has that fixed everything? No, no, no – But, it has kept him safe. My little blog is a way for me to scream as loud as I can to keep this important dialogue going. And through writing, I have found hope again – and I’m not going to stop until my healthy, good son is definitely  on the other side.”

144: Dear Anonymous…I Disagree

Friday night, I wrote an entry about differences between the forces teens face today compared to years ago. Before I went to bed that night, I received a comment from an anonymous author. Said author was critical of what he/she translated as a “negative stream” and “dark picture” he/she believes I am creating. (I have copied it to the bottom of this post exactly as it was sent to me.)

I feel the need to respond to “Anonymous” as loudly as possible, so here it goes…

Dear Anonymous, Thank you for the comment you sent in regards to my post “So Very Different.” Your words were helpful, as they reminded me of several things that are probably important for me to share. As I have gradually come to terms with the fact that my words are very public and M is mad at me, I have made some valuable discoveries.

Some risks are worth taking. If I had ridden this teenage wave in the way in which my once passive, timid, and fear-driven personality had carried me, I wouldn’t have the hope I now feel in my heart.

And here’s what may really surprise you…My hope comes from all of the exceptional parents, inspiring teachers, kind friends, and extraordinary kids out there.

The truth is, M’s good friends, middle school and high school students I work with all day, and, of course, my own kids – inspire me each day. I am lucky to know many great, inspiring people of all ages

My words are just honest. And my words have just become a way for me to feel like I can make a difference. And the biggest difference, the difference that keeps me moving forward, is the hope that M will come out of this on the other side. I am a mother, and I will do what is necessary to give my children the healthy wings they will need to navigate through life. As we all know, it’s not always easy.

I genuinely thank you for keeping this important dialogue moving forward.

Sincerely, J


And now I have included the comment that inspired my words today…

From Anonymous, Friday night at 8:30: “I know times are different but as I read all your blogs I have to say there are a lot of good kids out there, there are a lot of parents who watch their children and have open communication. You paint a very dark picture of teens. I fear for K that you will enter his teen years with a negative view of teens. Yes there are kids that push it and do the things you say M has done. But there are fantasitc kids and fantasic parents who all know the dangers but have managed to rise above it. Your constant stream of negative views are not new to us they only show that you are just becoming aware of them. Don’t put everyone into that catagory.”    Written by: “Anonymous”

143: So Very Different

The secret is out. And If you are new to the world of teenage-hood, then hang on to your hats…

Forget everything you remember about high school parties.

Even if you never attended the parties…you knew about them. And I bet you still remember who the really wild kids were too.

If you did attend these parties, perhaps you can still see their inebriated, sloppy faces jumping up and down to the beat of the loud music; or maybe you just picture them with their eyes partly-open while their bodies fall into a slumped position on a couch in a friend’s basement.

Here’s the bad news…It’s worse now. Parties are different. Drinking is different. Promiscuity is different. And the marijuana is different too. Each is even more insidious, frightening, risky, and destructive.

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A few fear my honesty may hold M back from finding a job and finding a girlfriend in our community some day.

My fear is so, very different.

142: Rules to “Life: Mom Edition”

He arrived with ease 4 weeks early. He slept through the night at 6 weeks. He nursed until one year. He played nicely on the playground with his little friends. He shared. He napped after morning kindergarten. And he could write his name well on the same piece of paper on which he could draw a developmentally advanced sketch of himself.

My mind always swirled with visions of M’s future, and since his Lego structures were solid and amazing, I thought perhaps he’d be an architect. His love for animals prompted the possibility of veterinary medicine. But then again, his verbal skills were high…perhaps an attorney? the President of the United States?

(As you can see, I had the role of “his mother” completely figured out. I was also quite young and naïve.)

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The first time we visited M at the military academy, I watched him bring the most brilliant shine to a brass belt buckle. And there’s a chance that at that moment, I was on the verge of better understanding the complicated directions to the game of “Life: Mom Edition.”

And here’s why…

After watching him buff the dullness from the face of that buckle, an old familiar thought popped into my head, “He’s so proud of the medals and brass he’s earned; perhaps he’ll enter the military when he’s older.”

Within days, I caught myself and began analyzing my silly curiosity…So, if you like to shine buckles, you will have a military career. And if you like to play with Legos, then you will someday design buildings. If you have the ability to pronounce difficult words when you are a toddler and you are persistent in your arguing, then you are headed to law school.

Since over-analyzing is a forte of mine, I continued to have this conversation with myself. I discovered that whenever I catch him filled with happiness, I want time to stand still. And If I could control the world, my children would live my perfect dream for them.

But then I realized that although my heart beats with his, and my happiness is directly related to his health and happiness…my life is not his life.

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I’m starting to understand the directions. In no particular order, my job – until he is ready to safely steer on his own – is to: 1. teach, 2. support, 3. love, and 4. pray. (And even when he’s safely steering, I still get to do #3 and #4.)

I’m not letting go of the wheel completely until I am certain that he can navigate through the game of life safely. In the meantime, I know he is frustrated that I’m still teaching, guiding, and supporting, but the directions also say that he is still my responsibility. And he knows I’m a rule follower.