From my morning pages dated 5/16/13:
So [the spawn] is with his grandmother now. His “Grandma Boat.” I hope it is peaceful enough that he can relax and begin moving forward in his life. I have a little bit of faith that he’s going to do this.
I don’t think I would have expected him to turn out the way he has. Not that all is a foregone conclusion – he is, by his own assertion, a pretty late bloomer. But [the spawn] as he is now? No, not what I expected. I did think he’d be smart and creative, though – those I managed to anticipate.
What I thought was that he [wouldn’t have] the mental, emotional problems with depression that he has. His intensity is a bit of a surprise, too. And his politics? Where did those come from?
But isn’t that always the way? We see some things, and really can’t see others. What is the saying, “believing is seeing?” Well, it’s true that I always believed he’d be and smart and creative – and good looking – and so I saw those and continue to see those qualities. The others I didn’t want to believe or just didn’t think about at all.
My son will very soon be 30. His unfortunate fate was to be born near Mother’s Day and so, some years, his birthday falls exactly on that day (like this year.) Not that this is a big deal but like all kids with birthdays near other holidays, you try to make sure his birthday is celebrated separately from the other holiday.
However, with the spawn, we haven’t always had a smooth time with his birthday; on his 25th, he allowed us to give him a party a week later. But most years, he’s demurred and just said no to a party, so we end up giving him cards and checks on Mother’s Day (when we’re all together). It has been a mess, frankly. And he has, on more than a few occasions made a scene on the day, probably as a way to say, “No, I won’t accept this piss-poor birthday on this holiday. Shove it!”
We had a big blow-up last Thanksgiving, mostly over nothing, but probably over everything, too. We all know those arguments that get more heated and nobody can figure out what the beginning was. “What were we fighting about?” we ask ourselves.
That was the type of fight it was. It was the day after a very nice Thanksgiving where I’d done all the cooking of as much heavy, wonderful food as I could muster. Everybody seemed to like it; the spawn showed me this amazing video game that he’d gotten recently and it was really wonderful and we spent a lot of time going through the game and then talking about the game. I suggested he stay over the night and he agreed.
The backstory is that a year earlier, he’d moved up to Portland and quickly fallen in love with a young woman and then just about as quickly, fallen out of love with her. Mostly she fell out of love, but unfortunately the break-up also included him losing his job, since his job was in her business. Ooops. He had a hard time getting another job and fell into a deep depression. Eventually in the spring of 2013, he decided to drive back down to Los Angeles. He bounced from staying with us to his grandmother who lives on a boat, to his Dad. By Thanksgiving he was mostly with his Dad.
So the day after Turkey Day he began to pick at the ‘Publican, who given his nickname, is not of the same political stripe as the spawn. It started out polite, but then the spawn went in for the kill, trying to box the ‘Publican into a corner which was not where my husband was willing to be for a second. The ‘Publican just began to turn away and not listen to the spawn and as it went on, I could see my son getting angrier and angrier. The ‘Publican had decided to take the tack of non-engagement and vague amusement which got interpreted by the spawn as he wasn’t listening, he never listened, and he would never listen to him.
At a certain point, the spawn had had enough, stormed out, and until very recently had absolutely no contact with me. Basically, he was angry with my husband for being an evil republican, and just as angry with me for marrying an evil republican.
I was honest when I said I didn’t expect him to struggle with depression. Like all moms, I’d look at him as a baby and small child and think, “thank goodness, he’s not like me” as I’d struggled a lot with depression. In fact, I had it so bad, I considered suicide. When I had a youngish child. Thankfully, with the help of my own therapist and loved ones, I dug my way out and it was never that bad again.
But I didn’t see this similar possibility in him. We have depression in our family – and in my inimitable wisdom I only saw it in the women, so I thought having given birth to a boy meant he was immune. That was naive. And stupid, too.
Depression knows no boundaries of gender, age, religion, ethnicity, race. I intellectually know this – but emotionally, I didn’t want to accept it. So I didn’t see the signs and the ones that were there, I misinterpreted. And me, a trained professional.
A week and a half ago, I saw the spawn for the first time since that fateful Thanksgiving fight. We had coffee and he caught me up on his life; he was in counseling, but not on medication. Making desks for his dad so he was learning some carpentry skills and had made the fateful decision that indeed, he was a writer. He was also dating. Basically, moving forward in life. As an adult, not quite ready to leave the nest entirely, but getting much closer.
There was still the intelligence, the good looks (truly, that’s not just a mom talking), and the definite creativity. But the rest? I still don’t know.
And . . . I didn’t mention his birthday. I didn’t want to jinx our time together. Anon.