“I’m doing the best that I can.”
These are just some of the lies we tell ourselves and whoever else will listen.
I can’t sleep tonight. My brain is in overdrive. More so than usual. I have a lot on my mind and I don’t know which should be my number one priority. In fact, I don’t know if any of it even matters, at all, to anyone.
You know the saying, “fish and house guests stink after three days.” One of my house guests is really starting to stink things up around here. You may recall my adult son moved in with me back in January. On a temporary basis. But as it turns out not temporary enough. My two bedroom apartment is getting smaller by the day.
Disclaimer: He’s a great kid. Has a job. In college. Never been in any trouble.
But oh my god! Something has happened to him! It seems like from the moment he moved in here he brought chaos and tension with him. If he’s not fussing and fighting with me, he’s arguing with his sister. I can’t stand it! It’s not the yelling belligerent kind of fighting you’d expect from a poor white trash family living in a trailer. It’s so subtle, if you didn’t know it was happening, you wouldn’t know it was happening. It’s the little jabs and digs. But they are constant and about everything. Just today I got lectured.. let me repeat that… I got lectured… about what a colossal mistake I was making “intervening” on my daughters behalf with her teachers who are giving her a hard time about missing so much school this semester. This is the same daughter who has starting cutting herself. The same daughter who has been so depressed the past few months she’d rather sit in the dark in her bedroom than participate in life. But no, I’m not supposed to intervene. I’m supposed to you might say, let the chips fall where they may. Pearls of wisdom from the 21-year-old sleeping on my sofa.
And if that wasn’t bad enough… that lecture turned into what a hypocrite I am because I would have never done anything like that for him. Well, I never needed to. You can’t get mad at me about something that never happened.
Which then turns to a lecture on “coping mechanisms.” Ya, we all lived in the same shitty house with the same shitty narcissist. He had his favorite targets. But no one got out unscathed. To cope I chose counseling, xanax and wine. My daughter chose initially to tell herself that everything was “okay” but then started cutting herself and became depressed. Why can’t we just deal with it like the Prodigal son does/did… just get over it. Mark my words, the issues will eventually need to be dealt with. You can deal with them now. And go on to have a happy, healthy and successful life. Or you can bury that shit and let it stew and fester.. until your in your forties… miserable and making everyone around you miserable.. and deal with it then. But you do have to deal with.
The whole time this is going on I’m thinking… who the fuck is the kid standing in front of me? I don’t even recognize him. I don’t think he has said one nice thing to me since he moved in. Every day it’s just one disparaging word after another. It makes me mad. Its like living with the narc all over again. It makes me crazy.
What does a parent say to their adult child? I’m sorry your life wasn’t perfect. I did the best I could. Did I do my best? Or is that just some crap lie I tell to keep from throwing myself off the overpass? Did I do my best? What could I have done different? Or better. And in all honesty, I mean, on a scale of “one” to “my life sucks”… where do we rate? It’s all relative isn’t it? Relative to most, I’d say we did okay. Some did worse. Some did better. Jesus Christ.. what do these kids want?
I left home at 18. And I too, had to return home as an adult child. I think I must have been about 22. My mother made it a living hell for me. I left home at 18 because I hated her. I don’t know why I thought going back home would be any better. It wasn’t. My inability to get along with my mother, to even live under the same roof with her, was essentially the root cause of every mistake I made between the ages of 18 and 23. I simply wanted to be where ever she was not. I don’t want this to end up being a repeat of the past. Nothing good will come from it.
I can’t sleep tonight… because I’m caught up thinking about the past… worried about the future… and unable to figure out what the fuck needs to be done today.
– J. Ela