It used to be that the first thing I’d do when I wake up is go to the PC for news, e-mail check, Facebook and blog updates. These days, I find myself inevitably avoiding it like a plague, and with good reasons. Aside from having to rely on an ancient teeny-weeny 14-inch monitor for viewing, the monitor now lies hidden underneath the computer table in the space where my feet should be. Not only that, it is covered by a chair filled with blankets to disguise its current position. While the LCD monitor has finally been repaired, we could not risk setting it up until Alphonse has tired of his “search and destroy” missions around the house. This 14-inch monster, ehr, monitor, is bulkier, heavier, and definitely more stable, so it has less chance of toppling over when pushed. The LCD flatscreen just seems too fragile for the current state of our household affairs.
To get to the computer, I have to remove all the blankets and crouch way down low to even see anything at all. My back and knees are constantly complaining as I shift positions- from sitting lotus style or in full squat, to kneeling, to half-sitting geisha style, with my legs tucked beneath my thighs. Of course, I could try it Alex’s way- lying prone on the belly with the upper body suspended in mid-air like a trapeze artist or sitting on a low chair set close with the head bent lower to peer down- but contortions like these simply do not work for old mothers with bad backs and awful joints. The latter gave me migraine headaches when I tried. I tell you, just getting the position right can be such a pain that I am almost tired even before I start. And don’t ask me about the “getting up” part, which by itself, is just as bad as sitting down.
Still, I finally get a few minutes here and there to surf and read on the Net, a luxury I have not had in weeks. Although Alphonse continues to improve, it is an excruciating struggle to see him wrench away from me. He does not seek me out. He ignores me completely and pushes me away with disinterest and disaffection. My presence incites him to anger most of the time, and for the sake of peace, I move away from him as much as possible and seek as little contact as he would allow.
There’s something permanently fractured in our relationship and it is painful to accept that helping him regain his foothold in this world has meant a certain loss of our bond. I should be happy that he needs me less, that I have more time to myself to do the things I want, but the knowledge that I bring him unhappiness is particularly painful to bear. “All teenagers hate their mothers,” my friends joke , as they encourage me to seek new interests and do new things, but for now, I am still stuck in this rut of unwantedness. The only thing that gets me through this is knowing that he can be happy without me, that he can sleep better when I am out of sight, that he can at least relax and smile when I am not around.
And so I sit here, my knees groaning all the time, weeping. There is no “happily ever after” to this tale, it seems. There is only the certainty of letting go.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.