“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons,
they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes”
~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
Well, technically, it was yesterday; yesterday 25 years ago. The day that my life changed so drastically, in a positive and most incredible way. You see, 25 years ago yesterday, my son was born. Not without great difficulty (a recurring theme in my life, as you may have caught on) but certainly worth the reward. I was one month shy of 21, a child myself and blissfully ignorant as to how much of a roller coaster ride being a mother is, whether one is “normal” or “extra-special” or my all-time favorite, “in flux”. The joy of bringing a new life into the world, combined with the relief of that sweet child OUT OF MY BODY at last, brings tears of happiness and love that I’ve never felt before or since. The self-doubt and fear waited until later that night, when I was alone with my thoughts and those doubts rose in my mind like steam rising from a hot cup of coffee; slowly but surely making its way to the front of my mind. “What have you done?? This is for the REST OF YOUR LIFE and THE REST OF HIS!!” Holy Premature Parenting, Batman!!! It’s one thing to criticize your own parents and their parenting style, but it’s a whole different thing altogether to actually be a parent. I could have never imagined that I would have times where my doubts were actually stronger, I was terrified (as opposed to being only scared) that I would never see him again, never be able to tell him how much I loved him and how he saved my life; how many times he saved my soul. Mental illness does not discriminate when it delivers the devastation and catastrophic emotional wounds it tends to specialize in.
Long story short, I lost him for a while, got him back but had to earn his trust and work to heal those God-awful wounds. I can’t say that we’ve transcended those difficult years, but I will say I have done my best to “own my shit” and make focus on the present and the future, leaving the past in the past. Along the way, he’s taught me enough to fill a classroom; fantastic music, (think Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into the Dark) movies such as Donnie Darko, Boondock Saints, Love Actually, Goonies and TV Shows – (back in the day) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man (By the power of Greyskull!!) and many other interesting facts, perceptions, works of art and many incredibly awesome friends with widely varied interests, talents and tempers. My heart was always happiest when they were around, keeping things lively and getting me to come out of my self-imposed solitary confinement. Things weren’t always so happy and there were many arguments, upset feelings and tears on both sides, but somehow we managed to get through those times, thank God.
I have supported him in every way possible and continue to encourage him when life starts throwing bricks at him (figure of speech, folks, no need to concern yourself with flying masonry) or sending him an especially difficult Life Lesson. I may have over compensated at times, but life is a balancing act, after all; there is no perfection, there is no “right way” or “wrong way”; there is only the best I can do. I try to improve upon what I’ve done before, to keep learning and growing. My son is my greatest blessing, my biggest fan, my most honest mirror and my heart and soul. I thank God every day for bringing him to me and opening my heart to real, unconditional and pure love.
I love you, Devon!