It was brought to my attention there are plenty of parents who would give anything to be in my shoes, watch their healthy child grow up, send ’em off to school in a safe neighborhood, get to participate in an active relationship as they thrive in life. That sentence alone is loaded with blessing after blessing I for granted, I’m afraid. It almost makes me feel silly, spoiled even, to blubber and pine away for the “good ol’ days” I was fortunate enough to experience the first time around. It’s not like I’m preparing a eulogy for a funeral. I don’t mean to sound like I take him, all of the privileges and day-to-day living for granted. That’s just it- I DON’T!
When I got clean, it’s so cliche to say, I know, but it was like I was reborn. Everything was new and seen in a completely different manner. Immense gratitude, relief, appreciation, and earnest perception are a few things that fill my heart to the point of bursting. What also fills my heart, mind, and soul to the brink of overload is unbearable guilt, incessant shame, and an aching so great, so palpable because I had it ALL. And traded it all to the devil. Watching friends, other users, drop around me like flies never persuaded me to stop. Talking with hard-core criminals, who had done serious jail time, who started just like me, didn’t convince me to seek help. Losing houses, family members, long-time, cherished friends, threats of going to jail, fear of overdose didn’t keep me from ingested thirty pills at a time or shake me “straight”, these things didn’t stand in the way of my next fix. Broken, penniless, helpless, hopeless, homeless, and emotional and spiritual dishevelment didn’t snap me to attention. Not even the fear of death itself. What did? The moment I looked into my son’s eyes: he was no longer a trusting, carefree boy, looking up to his Mommy as if she were his superhero. He knew. No more hiding, lies, excuses, or wild, far-fetched stories kept his innocence at bay. He knew. It was in his eyes, his look of disapproval and shame, fear…And in that moment, I knew I was one “hit” away from losing him. Forever. In forty years, NOTHING has EVER had a direct channel to my heart like that boy. And it was that boy who shook me to my core, shook me straight. Of ALL the things I’ve lost or disregarded like a wadded gum wrapper, my son, my relationship with him, I KNEW was not someone I’d ever get over disposing of. When I looked into that little face, I knew it was time. If I couldn’t, wouldn’t get clean, I would miss out on the greatest, most priceless gift I have ever received. To me, that punishment would be so irreversibly damaging and cruel…a constant torture and relentless torment I, as a mother, could never bear.
Each day and every second filling them, I practice focusing on the multitude of blessings in my life. Filling my heart and mind with the joys of piecing together a once extremely broken person. Reminding myself to appreciate the gift of the present, while reflecting on my past for self-inventory or perspective. To emphasize that getting to where I am today was not my doing alone. It’s nothing short of a miracle, really. In fact, look around me! The mere fact I have a single person, place, or thing in my life- right now- is NOTHING BUT a pure miracle. I try not to think of what “could’ve been” too often. It never turns out well. The focal point in my life is my son and the relationship I am beyond blessed to share with him.
I came across some old school pictures and snapshots recently. Once I got through a brief “weepy-weepy” session and some sweet recollections, I took a hard look at the man he is now, the man he is becoming. And I tell you, it blows anything and everything else I was greedily spending my life on completely out of the water. Level-headed, articulate, kind-hearted, thoughtful, talented, and then some. He’s slow to anger and is meticulously careful with his tongue. He is a young man, with wisdom well beyond his years. With wicked humor and equally sharpened wit, he keeps me either laughing or scratching my head- if it didn’t go OVER my head, that is. He is engaging and respectful, knowing when and where to express his thoughts or concerns. Ya know, he’s simply a fantastic kid and I could go on and on and on, like any proud parent. Because he makes me PROUD in so many ways. Britt is like me in the tiniest of ways, but NOTHING LIKE ME in areas of fault, negative character, or self-punishment. I pray that continues….With that said, I think he’ll do just fine his Senior Year.
I want him to go farther in life than I ever dreamed of going. To seize opportunities and never give up. To set the bar high and then use it as a foot stool. To find love in life’s most unexpected places and never lose his curiosity. I want him to be safe and secure. Secure in himself and those he holds close, to be the one who stands up in the face of evil and rejects ALL ideas or plots of inhumanity. MOST of all, I want him to know how much he is loved. By me. How I never gave up on my role as his mom, how I never stop fighting. And all of that comes from a place of true love. I reckon that’s most parents’ wishes, huh? I’m really not unique in this. But this fella’s MINE! And to watch him finish up this last year of high school, reach his biggest milestone to date, I couldn’t be more proud. And I don’t want to take up another moment- not another SECOND!- on wasting one more precious breath on backsliding away, risking it ALL. I want the limelight to be on my son, his glory, achievements, and dreams as he wraps up his high school history. I just wish to be present, cheer him on from the sidelines. This year, it’s ALL ABOUT BRITTON! So, Son, I say to you, “Go get ’em! You EARNED your right to be here!”…And with a hint of irony, I guess, so did I. Ready or not so ready, we’re gonna do this. Together.