Anyone who knows me, knows that my relationship with my sons has been a turbulent one. That’s actually quite the understatement. We’ve had more loops, whirls, ups, downs and sideways than the biggest roller coaster in existence.
I will never claim to have been a perfect mother. I will even go as far to say that there were times where I was a really crappy mother. There were times when I was selfish and distant, and times when I made all the wrong choices; for them and for myself. The one thing that never changed, no matter what though, was the depth of my love for them.
Over the past few months, since we moved into the new house, I’ve spent a good amount of time going through old photographs. I’ve been amazed at the number of pictures that show happy, healthy boys; smiling, playing, laughing……My memories don’t always match the images. I’m glad to see them though, and I’m glad to know that there were good times, lots of them.
This post isn’t about how I screwed up being a mother a lot of the time. This post, is about what I’ve lost.
I lost Jake when he was 12. When I left my ex-husband, I should have fought to take him with me. I should have not allowed him to make his own decision. I will regret that for the rest of my life. At the time though, I didn’t have the strength to fight in that way. All I could do, was find resources inside me to get Dan out of the house. I feared for his life. I was scared that if I stayed, and if he stayed, his step-father would wind up hurting him badly, or, worse yet, he’d take his own life. That, was my deepest fear. I did what I had to do at the time. What I thought was right.
Jake had always had a closer relationship to his father. It’s not surprising, nor was I ever upset or jealous about it. It was just how it was. They were two peas in a pod. They had (have?) he same likes, the same outlook on life, the same sense of humour…..I was never a part of their closeness. The same closeness they shared, I had with Dan.
Jake was lost to me at 12. For a long time, I felt as though he’d died. As though his little body, his little boy-face, his baby hands..all of him…just died on August 23rd, 2006. That was the day that I moved out of our home, and into an apartment with Dan. That was the last day that Jake was my ‘son’. He turned away from me that day. I remember vividly him and his father pulling away in their truck after unloading some of the things that I moved out with. Dan and I standing on the patio of our home, watching his brother and the man he’d called ‘Dad’ for all those years drive away. Things were never the same with Jake again, and for the next 7 years I fought to have a relationship with him. The details are too painful, and at this point in time, inconsequential. However, I am happy to say that today, we do have a relationship. It’s a strange one. One that I’m still trying to figure out, and one that I walk on egg-shells around because I fear losing him again. We do laugh together though, and he communicates with me unbidden, and he responds to me when I reach out to him. I will take that, and I will build on that.
Dan, I lost more recently. Yes, there was a time where he wanted nothing to do with me. A time where he descended into the pits of the hell he created around him. A hell that was built out of the pain, rage and fear that he felt at the betrayal that dealt to him. I could handle that. I knew why it was happening, and I also knew that it would pass. Eventually. And it did. That separation lasted for less than a year. He came back to me, and he came back in a capacity that I had never imagined. He came back, and he was my friend.
We developed a whole new aspect to our relationship. I was still his mother, but I also was more than that. I was someone he turned to for advice, for guidance and just for overall support. I relished this new facet of our path together. I savoured every phone call, every text message, ever interaction. Then, inexplicably, it stopped.
He met a wonderful girl last Spring, and last December, he got married, and a few months ago, we learned that they were going to have a baby. That’s some huge stuff. To say that those are life-altering events is laughable. I understand that he’s not the same person he was a short year ago, but boy do I miss him. I miss my son, but even more, I miss my friend. We’re on precarious ground now. There is hardly any communication between us, and what little there is, is initiated by me. So, the waiting game starts up again.
I’m stronger this time around. I am at a different place in my life. I can love my sons fiercely, miss them, but still be ‘ok’, and still enjoy life. I’ve let go of feeling guilty for being happy, and now, I’m happy as I continue to mend one relationship, and wait for the other one to find its way back to me.