Tuesday, January 09, 2007

a decision

I had to make a decision yesterday. First of all I had to realize there was a decision to be made. My husband called from work and asked me what day would be good to make our monthly trip out to the prison to see our son. Sometimes we would go on Saturday because of our work schedule, and sometimes Friday because weekends at the prison are crazy and you usually get chucked out after a few hours. Sometimes we'd go Friday and stay overnight. It takes four hours to get to the location, and four back. If we go Friday, we have six hours to visit if we leave at 4:30 am. No matter how you cut it, the trip is positively exhausting for many reasons. It takes me usually a full month to recover emotionally from going. Well, yesterday after we talked I was getting weepy. I cried off and on all day, and realized it is due to thinking about and trying to prepare for that trip. I spoke to our youngest, who is in high school, to see if she wanted to go, too. We decided on Friday, and she said plainly she could not miss any more school. It began to occur to me that monthly trips aren't written in stone. Hence my decision to forego that schedule. I'm staying home this month, and plan to go every other month unless something in the family is going on that prevents it.

I began to realize that I often do things out of a knee-jerk reaction to a sense of duty that is sometimes misplaced. I love my son. I want to see him. But what I cannot do is sacrifice everything to that desire. I began to think, why should I? I have a life. My husband has a life. My girls have a life. I haven't ever been out to see my daughter in college, which is a shorter trip-not for a "fun" visit. Somehow I think my priorities are a bit skewed. I don't know why it takes me sometimes almost falling over the edge mentally to come to that realization, especially with my kids. Guilt? Perhaps. Growing up family loyalty reigned supreme, at times past what was healthy or normal. Maybe I err too much on the side of self-sacrifice because I was always required to. There has to be a balance. I have to tell myself the truth. My life cannot revolve around my son, and it isn't selfish to realize even monthly visits are too much. It is simply the truth.

I owe a debt of gratitude to certain people in my life who aren't afraid to ask tough questions of me and even enjoyable ones, like what was the most romantic night of your life like? Chuckle. They remind me that I too easily forget that life is full of good things, but I have to decide to embrace them, not trudge dutifully through without "smelling the roses". Also, if I'm to accomplish things I believe God has set me to, like taking my art to the gallery level, I have to have the drive and the energy, and I never will if I do not consider them priorities. One other truth I've come to see-judge people by what they do finally. My son did wrong, and it should cost him. Period. So many others in my life do right, and deserve to be treated in kind, myself included in this. Thanks to my understanding husband, my sweet girls, my many friends in CR, the Thursday girls, crazy sisters and all of the phone calls, one special orangeman...you all deserve more. I'm so glad you're in my life.

2 Comments:

Blogger jules said...

Good for you. I've been struggling with the same sorts of things myself lately. My son is not where I can visit him (in jail in another state) but the weekly phone calls so emotionally drain me that I cry for days. I'm seriously considering going to twice a month or less.

5:55 AM  
Blogger joannie said...

It's a hard decision, but for me it was the only one I could make or begin to lose what sanity I do have. I do write to him, but I feel what I had to lose was the expectation I had that he understand me. It doesn't matter. The separation is part of the consequences and I would urge you to spare yourself. School is a hard enough ride.

3:04 PM  

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