letting each other go

Archive for April, 2007

Nothing New

Posted by Leo G on April 24, 2007

Bup’s still smoking pot and probably popping a few pills as well. His behavior has gotten no better and no worse. He is relatively cooperative at home, as long as we never disagree with him or set a limit on his behavior. But when “no” appears in our vocabulary, he gets plenty angry, though eventually he calms down. In many ways, he’s a typical teenager. Or at least a typical “troubled” teenager.

The stresses on our family have become very apparent to me after having spent time with each of the kids. Sometimes I think Bup’s behavior is a cause, sometimes a symptom of the ongoing stress in our family. Two parents with stressful jobs, two teenagers, two cats, a dog, and way more debt than we should have means we all carry around a lot of stress and strain. Relationships suffer. Attitudes suffer. Our ability to remember the good in each other and our lives suffers. And this blog suffers, because I haven’t had time or energy to write. Many readers have dwindled away, but maybe they’ll come back.

I wanted to write every day, but if I do that, this blog will have to be about more than Bup. It’ll have to be more and more about me, and frankly, that scares me a bit. I can’t afford to lose my anonymity and end up dooced. I can’t afford to risk too much, even though I really long to “let it all hang out.” Blogging is hard that way. So bear with me as I figure it out.

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Posted in Blogging, Coping | 8 Comments »

Thinking Blogs

Posted by Leo G on April 16, 2007

I’m late getting to this, but Jenni at prairieair tagged me as a “thinking blogger” and that means I get to share with you five thinking bloggers of my own.

The rules for accepting this award are:
1) If you get tagged, write a post with links to five (5) blogs that make you think.
2) Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact location of the Meme.
3) Optional: Proudly display the Thinking Blogger Award with a link to the post that you wrote.

1. Real Live Preacher — I don’t know what it is, but RLP always makes me think. About what’s important. About how I treat people. About spirituality and religion and the state of my soul. About how human we all are.

2. The Adventures of Leelo and His Potty-Mouthed Mom — Another blog that’s honesty helps me remember that we are all struggling. Reading about Leelo and his family’s daily life with autism is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes funny, and always written from the heart.

3. Suburban Turmoil — Lindsay is just a great writer, turning stories of daily life with kids into a smart, funny, and wickedly entertaining blog. And the whole family is gorgeous.

4. Elizabeth’s Little Blog — This one is a relatively small, personal blog. She writes about her life, travels, and ideas. A definite thinker, writing as she goes.

5. State of Grace — Okay, her new Twitter addiction aside, Grace’s blog is the place I go for a dose of real life flavored with humor and thoughtfulness. She doesn’t shy away from tough topics or from silliness. She just thinks her way through it all.

Posted in Blogging | 1 Comment »

A Weekend Together: The Sister Sequel

Posted by Leo G on April 14, 2007

Of course I had to be fair and take my daughter to the Bay Area too. It was another great weekend. At least, it was great between the two of us. She really opened up. It’s been a long time since we’ve talked like that. She told me a lot about the young man she has a friendship with and maybe something more. He seems like a good kid and he is treating her with respect, which is the most important thing. He lives in another town, so they are doing a lot of texting and instant messaging. She likes the conversations they have and he shares a lot of our values, so that’s nice.

We also talked about what she finds attractive in general, what she wants to do with her life, what she might like to study in college, her feelings and theories about her brother, and some other family issues that have been bothering her. We reminisced a lot, watched a movie together, went shopping, and spent a lot of quiet time reading and hanging out. It was nice, and free of the teenage girl attitude that has sometimes gotten in the way. She asked some good hard questions about how I’m doing and listened well to the answers. And shared appropriately in response. She is really maturing and doing a lot of thinking about life and what is important to her.

Of course, it helps that I bought her three shirts, four books, a journal, a hoodie, and two cd’s. Now that I’ve hung out with both my kids for awhile, I am totally broke. But happy. And I feel like I got a chance to remember what amazing people my kids have always been. Inside, that is still there.

Of course, things are not perfect. Bup is having another hard week. He and my partner are not getting along at all. Bup’s reaction to the stress is to be completely stupid and scattered and disorganized. Which is, of course, THE BIG BUTTON because my partner interprets this as intentional and willful disrespect. I can see both sides. I should be able to, I am so often in the same leaking boat. They are both, in their own ways, trying to control the situation, and that keeps them butting heads. More and more often, I’m in the middle, feeling the impact from both sides.

Tonight I tried to let my partner know about something that was really bothering our daughter, and I got into that position between the two of them too. When will I learn? The more I try to help, the more I get stuck in between. The thing is, I just suggested that they might want to talk and that my partner might consider apologizing or otherwise trying to repair what seems to be a stupid situation where the mounting frustration in our family got taken out on our daughter. It seemed like no big deal. It seemed like an easy “hey, you might want to know…” moment. But it turned into something else–something that affected our relationship too. And I hate that. I really do. No wonder so many marriages end when the kids are teenagers.

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A Weekend Together

Posted by Leo G on April 9, 2007

My son and I haven’t spent a lot of time together recently, as you might have guessed. But this past weekend we planned some time away and had a great time. We spent four days together in the Bay Area, where we lived when Bup was little. His best friend from kindergarten was also in town, and it seemed a good balance of time with (healthy) friends and time together.

On Saturday, we spent the day together at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. I was impressed that Bup’s goal seemed to be to see everything we saw when we went when he was young and to visit all the art galleries. I got him a couple of t-shirts he wanted, a caricature of himself jumping off the Golden Gate, way too much junk food, and some other silly touristy stuff. It was fun, and we reconnected in a way that brought me hope.

Really, the whole weekend was great. I made a point not to fuss or lecture and he made a point to be present and non-defensive. I learned a lot about what he’s actually thinking and while it’s full of a sixteen-year-old’s conviction that nothing bad will ever happen to him, it was good to hear that he seems to be trying balance his desire to do nothing but have fun with some forethought about his future.

My sense of relief comes from spending enough time with him to really listen to his thoughts and realize that while he is definitely abusing drugs, his thought processes (when not using, which he wasn’t this weekend) are still sound. He is negotiating a particularly difficult peer situation that is worse than the usual peer pressure. He’s trying to get clear about how to be loyal to himself and balance the crazy intensity of adolescent friendship. Our time together, at very least, helped me start feeling compassion alongside all my worry. And that’s a good thing.

Posted in Ups | 6 Comments »

A Funny Story

Posted by Leo G on April 2, 2007

This has nothing to do with Bup or addiction or anything else on the blog, but it cracked me up in a sad/hysterical kind of way. A co-worker of my partner recently took a trip to Costa Rica with his family. About two days into the trip his mom suddenly remarked:

“I just don’t understand why there are so many Mexicans here.”
He replied, “Mom, where do you see Mexicans?”
“Everywhere!”
“Um…Mom, those are Costa Ricans.”

I know I shouldn’t laugh at clueless racism, but for some reason, it just cracked me up. C’mon….sometimes ignorance is funny!

(Of course, the sad part is that fully 94% of the people of Costa Rica are descended from the Spanish. Only 2% are Afro-Costa Rican and another 2% are indigenous. It’s the “whitest” country in Central America. But they were speaking Spanish, so they must be Mexican!)

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »