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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Red Skies in the Morning, Sailors Warning

James 4:17
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

More choppy waters on the home front. And a safe harbor at the end of the day.

Our struggling son has ONE ally in this house. ONE person who he has not injured, lied to or worn out to the point of weariness. Our newest son.
Newest Son is a Godsend for so many reasons. He not only brings extra light, life and cheer to this home but he was perceptive enough to know right away that our struggling son has "issues" and he shared with me that he feels like he can be a good influence on Struggling Brother. He has been. He is.

But last night, Struggling Brother blew it.

(side note)
Our home is structured like most Filipino homes. Our younger children are expected to show respect and obedience toward their older siblings. The older siblings are expected to be kind leaders who put the needs of the younger children before their own. Our younger kids have to call the olders "Kuya" (big brother) or "Ate" (big sister). Is is a family structure that has been in place since our first kids were born and I love the way it plays out. Our kids do NOT hit one another. Our younger children have NEVER said to an older sibling "you're not the boss of me" or "I don't have to listen to YOU! YOU'RE not my father/mother". The olders are, in fact, the "boss of you" and you DO have to listen.
Likewise, we don't see cruelty from your olders to our youngers. It's a structure I would never have known had I not married into it and it's one more reason I'm so HAPPY to be married to my Filipino hubby!Well, that and the incredible food his culture has brought into my life (can somebody pass the pancit, please?).
(end side note)

Struggling Son walks into the room where New Son is playing an NBA video game and says "I want to play". New Son says "I'm in the middle of my game. You can play next". Struggling Son says rudely "I PAID FOR THAT GAME" and proceeds to plug in a controller and pause the game on New Son.
New Son shows great restraint in putting down his controller, saying "here, have it" and leaving the room.
Struggling Son says "sorry, sorry, sorry" over and over as he realizes he's about to get into trouble.
New Son keeps walking, goes to his room to cool off (well done!).

Struggling Son, my great saboteur and self isolator was in need of putting a chasm between himself and New Son, who has been a great friend to him.
It hurt me to see this play out. It hurt me for both boys. I went upstairs to talk to New Son first. He was very understanding. He said "I see how it is with him and I always try to help him but NOW I see why nobody wants to spend time with him."
Sad but insightful. And true. But still mostly sad.

I go into Struggling Son's room next to talk through what he did, why he feels he did it and how he can now fix it. He GREATLY over reacts and ends up telling me that he doesn't want to be close to me. He will be out of the house soon and he's fine if he and I don't have a relationship. I did NOT make this event about he and I. He did. Everything always comes back to me and him in his mind. It's the "mother part" of Reactive Attachment Disorder. I'm paying for the sins of others. I think I always will. I hope not but I think so.

Struggling Son pouts for awhile but, hey', it's "Fun Friday" and we always watch a movie as a family and have popcorn and/or ice cream. Struggling Son comes out to watch the movie but refuses the food. Apparently, he doesn't need anything from US. He sits in a bean bag chair he has slid as far from the rest of us as possible. It's a small house. He can't go far. But he's here. That's progress.

We watch "Tangled" and it ends at about 9pm - still early for a "Fun Friday" so we decide to Netflix "Mars Needs Moms". It's a little dark for kids and pretty odd but we didn't pay extra for it so I eat my havarti and crackers while we watch.
Immediately, the child in the movie gets into trouble and tells his mother he doesn't need her! He tells her he wishes he didn't have a mom! A tear slips down mom's cheek as she gently shuts his bedroom door.

I hear a sniffle that is NOT coming from the television.
Struggling Son is all teary on his bean bag.

By the end of the movie (spoiler here . . . ), the son is clinging to his mother and telling her how much he needs and loves her. He talks about how she tucks him in at night and feeds him. How she vacuums the house and bandages his cuts. How she washes his clothes and cheers at his soccer games . . . gulp. . .

Struggling Son is in the bean bag and is now wrecked. He is trying to sob silently but not all that successful in said endeavor. The occasional wet snort reverbs around the room.

The lights are all off. The room is dark.

I make eye contact with hubby and slightly shake my head. Hubby is NOT to mention what is taking place. None of us do.
We leave this muscular almost 14 year old, sporting his faux hawk, with a little dignity. We wait until he pulls himself together to turn on the light. He makes a bee line for the bathroom where the nose blowing commences.

I go to my room and wait.
I hear him trying to find me and the slightest little "tap tap" on my door.

He comes in and when he sees me, the water works begin again. Apologies. Forgiveness. It's over. Again.

And so goes it with such a tough and yet fragile child.

I do love him so very much. Sometimes the love gets caught up in the circumstances and swept way like debris in a fisherman's net. But then some connection of his ability to hurt with words will float to the surface and it looks like a buoy in the storm. He's GETTING IT! I do believe he's getting it.
And it scares him so much that he lashes out. And our whole family thinks "here we go again" and some of us wish, secretly and not so secretly, that he was just passing through. And the visit was winding down.
But that's not what our Heavenly Father called us to.
We met him in that psyche hospital. We prayed to our sovereign God to show us how far we were required to go and our loving, all-knowing, always-good Father said
"all the way".
Those are facts that can not disputed. Not then. Not now.

We have to keep on keeping on so the name of our Savior is made to count for something in this little household, among our friends, in our church, hopefully even in the blog community.

We want to make a mark.

We just want all of this to matter. For now and for eternity.


  1. You have such a beautiful and eloquent way of saying things. Thank you for that touching post. Praise the Lord for this break-through. Praying that it will lead to bigger and better things.

    It is the same way with me & our struggling son. Every talk comes back to me and him. Like you, I'm paying for the sins of others. Hang in there. God is blessing what you are doing for him and he's beginning to understand it.

    1. I know we walk a similar path with our tough sons. I love the solidarity! I wish they could understand that we are not the ones who abandoned them . . .we're right here . . .sigh . ..

  2. I'm sooooo happy to read this. I do believe HE isn't finished with struggling son yet. =)

  3. This post makes me smile and feel hopeful for you! Praise God!

  4. thank God for the kuya, huh...i love that your family is structured on Filipino lines. praying for you and the struggling one. it must be so hard to be so fragmented. love you guys!

    1. Your comments buoy my heart! Thank you so very much!