Susan's Blog

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Excerpt Seven From AMSG

Chapter 7: Letting Go: When Our Kids Leave Home

It is as if, by leaving home, Nat has been propelled to
another level where perhaps he now feels the need to communicate
with me in a way I will understand. I believe that
he needs, more than ever, to connect and he seems to be
aware of that.

Nat is always a surprise, sometimes because he shows me
that he is just a teenage kid, and not a Disabled Teenager.
This was clear when, another time, I heard him saying, “Peeiss”
and giggling. Could it be . . . ? Yes. Nat was laughing at
body parts, just like so many kids do!

Thus I realized that the words at the end of Nat’s seemingly
senseless phrases were full of meaning. This small
glimpse into Nat’s mind felt as good to me as any conversation
a mother could have with her teenage son.

It is often difficult for me to remember that Nat’s own
particular development and progress is actually OK. I guess
I am scarred in some way since his babyhood, when nothing
went as planned. But sometimes his phases parallel Max’s so
strongly that I get a kind of flash of understanding: They are
both teenagers, after all, and they are both leaving the nest,
one way or another.

One night during the summer Nat left home, I got a call
at eleven p.m. from Max, who had gone off to Vermont for a
week with his girlfriend’s family. I had put him on a Greyhound
bus Monday morning, reaching up to hug his hard,
broad shoulders and to kiss his impassive face. It smarted
just a bit to let him go, and to see how eager he was for me to
leave the bus terminal.

I asked Max to call me when he arrived, but he forgot
until late in the evening. He was a little sheepish on the phone
at first, knowing he had not done what I had asked him to do.
But there was something else that shaped his tone, a roundness, a curl of
happiness that I had never before heard from him on the
phone, or perhaps had not heard it in a long time. What surprised
and touched me even more was the content. He kept
offering information, descriptions. He told me how cows
were “really disgusting, because they lick their noses and so
their faces are always wet with either saliva or snot,” and then
he laughed. He described the beautiful large house he was
staying in, the icy-cold pond, the “crazy stars.”

When I got off the phone, I felt happy, full. I think it was
because for the first time in a long time, Max really wanted to
talk to me. What I realized then was that even though things
were so different for us these days, we were all still connected.
My sixteen-year-old and my eighteen-year-old were both
moving on from here, but neither one had let me go.

1 comment

Oh, that is sweet. My heart is happy for you.

— added by Spot On Your Pants on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm

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