Growing Pains

I just had a lengthy discussion with my oldest stepson and tried to work through a difficult situation with him. At midnight he came to me stuck with two demanding college level papers to write due tomorrow, no possible extension. As I helped him weigh his options (some, all, nothing and a full night sleep) and informed him that ultimately the responsibility and consequences were his, I also realized that my fears that he had been internalizing the news of his mothers cancer and shutting down were true. All the physical symptoms of depression apparent, but all the while maintaining that he was FINE (you twelve steppers know what that stands for). I told him that I supported what ever decision he made about the assignments and that we all drop the ball when it counts from time to time and that as long as we don’t give up we get to play again next season ( why I chose to use a football analogy with a punk rock kid I’ll never know, but you get my point and so did he). I also told him that he needed to find a venue to work through his feelings so he will be able to function at the level he expects of himself. I told him how I cry some, how I talk to my friends constantly, how I pray a lot. I have made myself available to him, but i know that teenagers don’t always use their parental figures to work out their feelings with. If you are in these kids lives I ask that you make your selves emotionally available with them as well. Its easy to have fun with them, they are fun kids, but they also need to be able to find their own emotional sounding boards and shoulders to cry on. I know now that no matter what the outcome of Andrea’s fight with cancer, we will be forever changed. Our lives have changed so much over night and I know that this is not going to get any easier. Yet at the same time life has a perfect simplicity right now, the only things that matter in fact really do matter. I love my step son and am not really disappointed in him. If he can learn from this experience, take care of himself emotionally, and pick up the ball and run with it when he is able, then I am proud. I am so thankful for the Orion Landaus and Josh Graces of the world who allow me to process pain and fear, pride and shame, joy and faith, with them.

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3 Responses to “Growing Pains”

  1. shayna says:

    If It Be Your Will

    If it be your will
    That I speak no more
    And my voice be still
    As it was before
    I will speak no more
    I shall abide until
    I am spoken for
    If it be your will

    If it be your will
    That a voice be true
    From this broken hill
    I will sing to you
    From this broken hill
    All your praises they shall ring
    If it be your will
    To let me sing
    From this broken hill
    All your praises they shall ring
    If it be your will
    To let me sing

    If it be your will
    If there is a choice
    Let the rivers fill
    Let the hills rejoice
    Let your mercy spill
    On all these burning hearts in hell
    If it be your will
    To make us well

    And draw us near
    And bind us tight
    All your children here
    In their rags of light
    In our rags of light
    All dressed to kill
    And end this night
    If it be your will

    If it be your will.

    I thought of these words from this Leonard Cohen song when i read about Alec. I pray for you guys everyday. THere are no words to fit to explain what an enormous task it is for the kids to digest the news of Andrea’s cancer. The kids, they are really amazing, their strength and their understanding.

  2. Heidi Barr says:

    Kelly, I have to say that as I read this entry I wept.
    I wept because it is so beautifull and rare.
    Your understanding that the emotional lives of the kids are as important as their physical lives is a relief.
    In my world…emotionally connected and available men have been rare my friend. To know that you are there for the kids, that you know the limits of that and have the grace and courage to ask others to help and that you are passing this on to all those beautifull sons by your example … well, I guess really it’s the way it’s supposed to be, in a perfect world, so I’ll name it…perfection.

  3. Rob says:

    My step-dad came along when I was about Bailey’s age. We had fist-fights. I smoked pot with him. I refused to call him “Dad” for years.

    But with all of his flaws, he never stopped working on being my parent. He married a woman with three kids. And he did it knowing that this woman had three kids. I don’t think my mom understood that he was making a commitment to all four of us when he married her, but I know that he did.

    When I watch Kelly, I know that he has made the same commitment to Andrea and all of their kids. And I understand today how much of a choice that commitment is. My dad (who I’ve called “Dad” for twenty-five years now) made that choice every day. Sometimes every five minutes. Because marriage is hard. And parenting as a “step” is even harder. Happy Father’s Day, Kelly!