Right now, I wish I could retreat. But it's not my nature, and it's not like there aren't other motivating, appealing pursuits (and mundane, daily commitments) that can trump the insidious disruptions of my son's problems. Instead, I wrestle with throwing my energy toward gaining ever more perspective on my son's problems or acknowledging them, moving on and proceeding with the activities I'd already planned for the day.
There are several key parts that could (and ideally, would) work together, but privacy laws prohibit communication, and that leaves our son at the helm of communication. It leaves us as the unempowered yet desiring connectors of our son's treatment program, his living arrangements and the myriad counseling, diagnostic opinions.
Each expert in those realms knows a part of our son's story -- the part he has shared with them and that he shares only partially with us or even outright lies about. Because he's 19, we are not privy to information or much participation without his consent. Because he doesn't live in our home, we have little remaining leverage. Instead of integrating the various parts, it feels more and more like everything is disintegrating. It's a perspective I don't want.
And, like I said, this morning is one of those few times when crawling back in bed and pulling up the covers is a comforting idea in a continuum of ideas that seemingly yield little progress, let alone promise. Things just aren't working very well for
ONCE AGAIN, THE RADAR
Let me back up. Last week, after our Sunday family gathering, it was time to give our son a ride back. About five minutes from his shelter, he asked to be let out at a Walgreens store. "I've just got too much energy to go to bed, so let me out here and I'll walk the rest of the way." We insisted on giving him a ride. He resisted. Not believing him, we made the comment that if he'd really had so much energy, he could have walked the whole way. Yes, it was a tad sarcastic and bitter on our part, and his response was every bit the same. Ugh.
We let him out; he went in the store. We pulled around the block and waited at the stop light. He didn't emerge. We drove to his shelter; still we didn't see him walking that direction. Finally, it was check-in time and we knew he hadn't walked there, nor did we see him on any of the neighborhood streets. Someone must have picked him up. Something was up; of that we were certain. I had the feeling that for whatever reason he wasn't living there anymore -- just like those winter days in Minneapolis' Dinkytown, when he pretended to be living somewhere he wasn't. What had happened?
The rest of the week, I could just tell that things were amiss even though I had no facts. Once again, mom-radar was working overtime. He had told us he had work scheduled all week until Friday and on that day he would be going to treatment.
My work schedule was flexible on Friday, so I texted him to see if he wanted a ride instead of taking the bus to treatment. He said thanks but a couple of the other participants were giving him a ride that day.
It took all my restraint not to call the treatment program and inquire if he'd shown up, because my hunch was no.
YEP, BEEN HERE BEFORE
The following Sunday, Mother's Day, he showed up at his grandmother's for the weekly lunch with his cousins. He hugged me and wished me a happy Mother's Day. Festivities continued until late in the afternoon when he told me he would be graduating from treatment on the 29th. Wow!
I asked, somewhat suspiciously, if he'd met his goals and if that included moving out of the shelter into independent living.
Well ... not exactly. Of course. We were about to hear something, knowing full well it wouldn't be everything.
It turns out he'd been dismissed more than a week before from the shelter and had been sofa surfing. The shelter cited three broken rules and denied his appeal that there had been a mistake on their part. Again, in his mind, his problem was the result of someone else. And, as a result of the sofa-surfing, he'd missed work because the bus didn't run in all areas of the city in order to make his 5:30 a.m. convenience store shifts.
No job. No place to live. And, yes, using when he can scrounge up money or find a friend to share.
So what's a mother to do on Mother's Day? Feed him. Let him shower. Hold hands around the table in silent prayer. Ask him if he wanted to brainstorm what next to do. He said no. Instead of offering solutions, we just let it go with a sadness and frustration heavy on our hearts and minds. We didn't repeat our past insanities of trying to solve his problems, of trying to prevent additional consequences. It didn't feel good, but it did seem like the right thing to do.
His only comment, and said with not much concern, was, "I'm back to square one." We've decided not to join him there. It's a lonely decision for us. Probably for him, too, I realize. It doesn't really surprise me, but still it really wasn't what I was expecting and definitely wasn't what I was hoping.
There is far more to this story than I know, than I probably ever will know. And, certainly, the answer isn't beneath the covers or any other respite!
He says the friends letting him sleep over can't offer long-term living options and that he is without financial means. I know these are the same friends who use drugs and alcohol with him, so I know they really aren't the best choice for getting on track.
WE'RE MOVING FORWARD, EVEN IF HE'S NOT
After all this time, he is back where he started, and it's not the first time, again. After all this time, I'm pretty sure we are not going back to start, again.