letting each other go

Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

I don’t know who you voted for…

Posted by Leo G on November 4, 2008

and I don’t know what you think about President Obama. But let me tell you something. Last night, as Barack Obama was elected to the Presidency of this nation, my seventeen-year-old son wept. I don’t mean a few tears. I mean ten minutes of quiet tears, rolling one after the other down his face.

See, my son is mixed race. He read President-elect Obama’s first book a few years ago. He told me back then, “Barack Obama is me.” And last night, he saw that this country can overcome racism, division, and pettiness and elect a mixed race man to the highest office of the land.

Something in him broke open. Something was deeply affirmed–for the very first time. My son knows he matters. He knows he can recover from his mistakes and do anything. He knows that more people in America believe in hope than in fear and anger.

He wept. For ten minutes. So did Rev. Jesse Jackson. So did every African-American person I know. The white folks smiled and cheered and celebrated. But our African-American brothers and sisters wept. Before they could cheer, they had to weep.

I can’t say I completely understand. Even for me, it’s second hand. As much as I love my dear Bup, I could only observe and be affected by what he was feeling. I didn’t feel it in the same way. But I witnessed it. And I want you to know that it matters. Forty percent of the children in this country are people of color or mixed race. And they just understood, for the very first time, that their lives matter. They understand that they can make a difference. They understand that it is possible that they too could be president of our nation.

My son has been clean for seven months. His grades are good. My marriage ended, and Bup and I are living in an apartment in a way that I can only describe as “easy.” He still hides his vulnerability most of the time, fronting about how strong he is and how tough he can be. But tonight, for ten minutes, tears rolled down his face. Tonight, the part of him that was beginning to be beaten down, draining his hope and self-confidence–tonight, that part began to be healed.

President Obama, I will pray for you every day. I will pray for wisdom, for strength, and for your safety. You have taken on the burden of leadership, and I thank you for your willingness to serve in this way. I believe that tonight you began to heal our nation. Perhaps the healing is just in the heart of one adolescent young man for now, but it will spread. Thank you and God Bless you and the ones you love.

Posted in Before and After, gratitude, Trying to communicate, Ups | 4 Comments »

The Good, The Bad, The Difficult Way to Learn

Posted by Leo G on November 27, 2007

Let’s see. Well, I lived through (okay, I admit it…I actually enjoyed…) our five days in a cabin in Zion National Park with no TV, electricity only by generator, no phone or cell reception, and no internet. Instead of staring at screens we talked and played games and ate a nice Thanksgiving dinner and the kids drew and made houses of cards and we all slept a lot. We tended the fire (our only source of heat.) We played with the puppy. We absorbed the beauty around us and some of us hiked. We saw sunrises and sunsets and admired the full moon. We hung out together. It was good and powerful family time. It refreshed me personally and I feel especially grateful to be reconnected with the kids.

Then we came home to the “real world.” (Wasn’t that peaceful, connected world real too?) My son went to school yesterday to find out that one of his friends died over the weekend. He’d been drinking pretty heavily and fell down a flight of stairs, hit his head, and died of exposure. They’ve arrested a man in his 30’s for child endangerment for giving the kids a LOT of vodka. According to the other boys who were there, the boy who died fell down the stairs while they were there. They took him into the man’s house, where he seemed responsive and okay so they left him on the couch to sleep it off and went home to check in. About six o’clock the next morning, the police found his body at the bottom of the stairs. No one knows exactly what happened in between.

My son sat for several hours with his friend’s father, who was hysterical with grief. He talked to me a little about how hard it was to watch him cry and repeat over and over, “My boy, my boy. Why did they have to take my boy?” I reminded him as gently as I could that it could have been him, with me crying like that. “As much as you want to believe nothing bad will ever happen, it does.” “Yeah,” he said, “he was such a big, tough, kid. It didn’t seem like he could die.”

Parenting is hard. I want to protect him. I want to shake him and wake him up to the danger he’s been flirting with. I want to run away to that cabin and keep him there until he is old enough and wise enough to take care of himself. But mostly, I want to be able to trust him, but he’s just not there yet. He’s getting closer, but he still gives in to his impulses too often and believes the magical messages that he will never get caught, never get hurt, never die.

This is a hard way to learn these lessons.

This weekend he talked about his new practice of talking to God about stuff. He talked about a time he asked God if he should stay with his friends or come home and God told him to come home. Those friends went on to have a car accident that night. Luckily the worst injury was a broken collar bone. Then he admitted that sometimes he thinks that I must be God. Who else could know him so well? Who else would love him enough to want him to always do the right thing?

It made me chuckle and it made me happy that he thinks of me that way. It gave me some hope that he is developing, in his own way, his conscience and his judgment. And then I asked him to imagine that God was someone who knew him even better and loved him even more than I did. I so hope he can.

Posted in Coping, Downs, gratitude, parenting, teenagers | 3 Comments »

Release and a Few Blessings

Posted by Leo G on March 22, 2007

I just reconnected with one of my dearest friends, and even from halfway across the world he was able to be present to me in a way that finally released the tears. I need a new word for this man. He is more than friend, more even than brother. He listened until I admitted my deepest fears and the guilt I’ve been carrying. No matter how silly it seems, parents always blame themselves. I am no different. I keep thinking of all the ways I should have prepared him, all the things I should have said, all the ways I should have been able to make his life better. There is little truth to it, but I still carry it. Tonight’s cry was only the barest beginning. But it is a start.

It’s been a very hard week, but even so there are blessings. My son now has people of many faiths all over the world praying for him. As do I. Who would have thought when I started this blog as a place to let off steam and process my feelings, it would be the beginning of a this strange kind of community? From “mommy bloggers” to religious leaders to other adolescents and young adults who are struggling…we’ve found this little place where it seems the whole point is to be honest and kind and supportive. (I could only do the honest part…you’ve done the kind and supportive.)

In the face of so much rage and pain coming from my son and sometimes invading my soul, it is incredibly important to also witness the good in people. So thank you. You are making a difference.

Posted in gratitude | 2 Comments »