It is a snowy-rainy weekend. I am in Maine at the boarding school my youngest son attended. It’s a parent/student seminar. I am helping. Having done my time, I’m here to give back. I think. Well, at least that’s what I signed up to do. Help other parents make their way through the haze and confusion of parenting a child who’s gone off track. But, as on the other occasions I’ve shown up to facilitate workshops, the person I’m really helping is me.
Like these families, I came to this school desperate for my kid. “Deer in the headlights” doesn’t begin to express the overwhelm, confusion and sheer terror in which I abided. However, the truth was that my entire family was in trouble. And that, my friends was because my marriage was a disaster. Not because my husband and I were bad people or that anyone had done something unforgiveable. It was because we were unconscious. Being unconscious we couldn’t communicate what was restless in our hearts. We repeated patterns laid down by well-meaning parents who were unconscious themselves. We argued to be right. We defended our positions and protected our bruised innards. And, having convinced ourselves that only perfection was acceptable, we couldn’t face the very human misadventures we had inadvertently created with any compassion for ourselves or each other.
There’s a word. Compassion. It goes a long way toward healing. At least it has for me. This is an ongoing process. I realize it especially when I return here, to this school and walk a little in the paths of that former time. Because, I haven’t found the perfection I might have hoped for. I’ve had to relinquish that for a reality that is more messy but deeper in meaning. There’s a thousand things I feel I should say to my son to be sure he stays on a true course. But rubbing up against my desire for control is the budding knowledge that this is now his journey.
Mine blossoms before me. I find that life is good. Some mornings I awake with excitement and desire. I run to the studio full of ideas. Others are just snowy-rainy and that’s far more than perfect.