I am missing two of my children. Not in the traditional sense; I know where they are. One, Eli, is in juvie again, this time for five days, and Hannah is just down the road in her new apartment with her boyfriend and Aubry. Still, I am missing them, I don’t really know where the essence of either of them is, I don’t know, really, what happened or why they have both become the way they are.
Too many things that I cannot write about, not about me but about these two children who are ripping pieces of my heart out-partly out of respect for their own privacy but partly-maybe mostly-because I don’t really know their stories. I know that my son has been skipping school again, I know that he has been, unbeknownst to me, hanging out with some people who have been proven to be bad news to him in the past. I know that he is going to be kicked out of high school his senior year, know that he has to go to court on Monday for a racing ticket, know that I have to watch him be brought into court with handcuffs and shackles on because that is how they transport juveniles to court dates from the jail. I know that my daughter has been a party to several different things by lying and covering up for him, I know that in many other ways she has been dishonest with me, and I know that at this time, she isn’t speaking to me. I know that they are both in their own ways lost, but I don’t know anything about how to try to help them anymore.
I went to an AA meeting last night because I know where I need to be when shit hits the fan. Steve got his one year sobriety chip (over a month late, so he has 13 months, go Steve!) and talked about how blessed he is, even though earlier in the day we both shed tears over the heartbreak of watching two lovely, beautiful, kind children make choices that have life-altering consequences. I listened to people who know us and love us, who know and love all my children, talk about how the best thing we can do for both of them is get out of the way. That they need to make the choices they are going to make, and that I am powerless not just over alcohol but over people, places, things. I heard things I already know, but hearing them again helps. That even when things happen that shatter us into little pieces, there is still so much beauty and love and peace in the world, that it is possible that heartbreak and redemption can be felt in the space of a single heartbeat.
I am so sad today, and so goddamned angry that I could chew nails, so scared and worried about each of these children, and so full of love for them that I can hardly breathe. I believe in them, in both of them. I believe in who they are, even though their choices right now do not reflect that. At the same time, I have to practice tough love and make some really, really difficult decisions about how much I can and am willing to do for either of them any longer, for my own sake. I will not give up on them, but I may have to simply give them the room to make their choices and deal with the consequences.
In the meantime, as I am constantly reminded and was reminded of again last night, the best thing I can do right now is to take care of myself. To not drink, to take care of my body and my mind and most importantly my spirit. To practice gratitude and to live in this day, to see the beauty and the pain and dwell in both of them as they come.