Monday, March 06, 2006

the unbearable gravity of being

I made pork roast, white rice and beans tonight for dinner. It doesn't get any more PuertoRican than that, unless you fry something...

Cooking has been my refuge for years. I learned to cook when I was eight, because my mother stopped cooking after my parents' divorce and I quickly got sick of eating canned or frozen dinners. I never learned to sew, crochet or knit but early on, I kicked ass in the kitchen. It was not only something I could do for survival but also to please and impress others. And it was something I could control, I could control amounts and outcomes in a way that I've hardly ever been able to control other aspects of my life. When I'm stressed, I cook. Something that requires lots of chopping and paying close attention to what I'm doing. That way, I can stop thinking. Except when I can't, and then things don't turn out right. Like tonight. For whatever reason, my energy "flow" perhaps, nothing on my stove cooked in the amount of time that it should've. We actually ate our dessert first, and even then the roast wasn't cooked, the rice came out a little crunchy and the squash in the beans needed about another hour to be edible... *sigh*

So, why am I stressed? A little over a week ago, Mo and I came home to find our 14-year-old, now Mr. Hyde, had run away. He wasn't home and his backpack was gone with him. It was obvious that he wasn't planning on coming back home that night. He left a garbled message on the answering machine, so I had reason to hope that he hadn't done something extremely stupid and dangerous. I cried my eyes out and then, when I was too exhausted to keep crying, found a recent picture to take to the police, if we got to the point where we decided we had to get an Amber Alert put out. How did it come to this? When did we become such horrible people that our son can't stand to live with us?

He's home now and we're seeing a therapist to work on the anger and rebellion, and the family dynamic that is NOT working for any of us. Mo and I are also taking a Parenting Class at church, based on the "love and logic" principles. I'm also planning to read up on Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting approach to see what we can use to benefit ALL four boys. But right now it feels like we have a big elephant in the middle of our living room, one that none of us know how to address...

Nothing in my life prepared me for this. I didn't know that I could bust my butt and try to do everything I thought was right, and my son could still be so angry at me, still feel so unloved that he'd be willing to chuck us out of his life. People constantly ask me if it's hard to have such a huge age gap between my sons and I always respond that no, it helps. It reminds me that the surly guy with questionable hygiene that I'm often at odds with was once my sweet baby. It reminds me that I've struggled for years to teach him and guide him and raise him up right and now is not the time to give up on him. No matter how much he fights me, I still need to teach him and guide him and nurture him. Even as I'm choking back tears or angry words. Even as I feel an ulcer spawning inside me.

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