I have two grown boys who are 26 and 23. I am so proud of them both because they have overcome so many challenges in their life. My oldest has his own issues but my youngest kind of got dragged through mine. When he was in High School is when my mania turned to psychosis. He just kept supporting me and loving me no matter how far from reality I went. And trust me reality was not even in my vocabulary.
I came out of it when he was in grade 12 but was still in a constant state of hypomania. My oldest son had gone away to University and my hubby had pretty well tuned out from life when he was forced into retirement. That left my youngest and I to muttle through. My life as a Mother had pretty well revolved around my oldest so this was really the beginning of a close relationship that he and I.
But he was still way too young to have the kind of responsibility that I put on him. He ended up being my rock. He had a part time job at the time and he would come home from work and it was nothing for him and I to sit there for 3 hours talking about everything from politics to movies. Film has always been his passion so many an hours were spent with me learning all aspect of film making for each movie he watched. This may not sound like much until you realize that he was working at a movie theatre. That was down right dangerous. But I never minded. I loved spending time with him and I knew he enjoyed being with me which was unusual for a boy of his age.
He was a very sensitive man and that may be something good that actually came from growing up with me. He could read my moods. No matter what I did he never turned against me. Never got angry with me. Never judged me. At the time he had no understanding of what was wrong with his Mother. Obviously he knew something was not right. One regret I have is that I never talked about my illness with my boys. They grew up with lots of questions and no answers. Mind you I spent those years in the same place.
We became very close during that time and I became dependent on him. Then we moved back to our hometown and he decided to stay behind. He was so excited to be starting a grown up life where he would be living on his own. I was lost. The bottom line was I had lost my best friend. The worst part is that he was a son of a bitch as far as keeping in touch. I would send him a text and after a week I would finally call. He had a lot of his own crap he was dealing with. Mostly because his Father and I had not prepared him to be an adult (I’ll save that story for another post).
Over the next few years things got bad for him. He had no idea how to cope with life. Life became one big party. Drinking became his way of life. He had gone off to Baniff to work and that turned into a disaster. I brought him home and he lived with us while he pulled himself back together again. The rolls had reversed and I was caring for him. It was natural for me because I knew him so well. He had never held back about his feelings although he was a lot like his Father in that he often did not recognize them.
Then he fell in love and I thought his life was going to turn a corner. They moved in together not far from us and I was so happy for them and I got to keep my baby close. Things there did not work out so well. Aside from the fact that I never saw him anyways. They ended up moving back to what was his home then they separated. It was his first broken heart and it was not pretty. It took him a year to get back on his feet and to start moving forward with his life. We would go up to visit so I could check on him but I always worried. Bet I am not the only Mother with a grown child that still does.
He had been in a toxic relationship so he had a lot of healing to do. But I stood by him the entire time. He knew I was there. He had been there for me and I would be there for him. He began to focus on what he wanted out of life. We had a good discussion and he realized he was going nowhere where he was living. We were in the city and there was so much more for him here. So he packed up and moved back with us. And here he is. It will not be for long because he is used to being independent.
He has come so far in such a short period of time. If I taught my children nothing they did learn resilience. They also learned to never give up. I am a firm believer in living your passion and I tried to instill that in both boys. It had gotten buried with my son during his time in the relationship. Now he has found it again and is working towards it. He has made friends, got a job and is going back to school next year for film. It does not matter if he does not make millions. All that matters to me is that they are doing something that they love.
The one thing I can say about my son now that I have not said in a long time is that he is happy. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am about that. I am so grateful that he holds nothing I did against me. I screwed up his entire life. But he saw that I was a survivor and that I never gave up. He has been my biggest fan (well actually he and my hubby) since I began the book. So many times I wanted to give up but he would not let me. He believed in me during the times where I did not (which was fairly often).
So my little boy is growing up. He will probably always have things that he struggles with. But that is not going to stop him.For a young man of 23 he has been knocked down more than his share. He kept getting back up. Maybe I did pass on some good. The way he has rebounded this time has amazed me. Proud does not begin to describe it. I no longer need to depend on him. And he is becoming strong enough to stand on his own. We have both been there for each other and I guess that really does count for a lot.