Sunday, August 23, 2009

Brandon's letter

I received a funny, newsy and insightful letter that helped my mood and attitude enormously. Brandon describes a visit to the prison doctor (nothing serious) and then comments on life and growing up. I'd like to share the latter. I wrote to him about some concerns with his sisters, and this is his comment on that, and on his attitudes:

"...I can identify with someone who imposes hardship on themselves, not out of guilt, but the desire to truly be an adult by making thir own mistakes and learning hard lessons. The irony usually is, as the person grows up and has their own children, they want to shield them from what they know better. The want to say "I already made this mistake so you don't have, here's what I did wrong, here's what to avoid." The child can heed the
warning and obey, or find out for themselves and act independently of the advice. Even if the result is failure, there can be joy in making what may be one's first unilateral decision. I did that a lot with you and Dad. I saw it as necessary change, it was only natural for teenagers to try and wrest control from the parents and perhaps not define, but separate themselves. I figured it was simply appropriate social order. It became something else entirely, too much discontent and unrest. As Mephistopheles said of Faust, "...His spirit's ferment far aspireth..." or rather 'his sould stinks to high heaven.' I was always listening to you both, I simply felt I had to do certain things or I wouldn't learn otherwise. The rest was just hedonism and self-servitude (laughs)."

So that is something I think at some point every parent needs and desires to hear, read, whatever the case may be. To know that they were heard, they were understood, even if the advice wasn't followed. He ends his letter by signing it "your little guy always" and he always will be in some sense that first day kindergarten student walking down the hall to the classroom as though it were a death march, big fat tears at the corners of his eyes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

time passages

It's once again been too long since I've posted anything. Oddly at this time, though we still have a few years to go, Brandon's return seems so close. I guess I've never really thought about it as practically as I am now, admitting the excitement, the fears, the uncertainty of the whole process. I didn't want to think of it, as though thinking about it would somehow jinx it and add more time. Our home is empty now. The youngest has more or less moved on, so I'm cleaning like a madwoman and fixing up. I guess that made me think the next occupant will be our son. It will be like bringing a baby home in a way, or a stranger.

I did decide to invest in professional help to help my anxiety and to better prepare my mind. As I said, up to now, I didn't think about it much, but now that I am, I know I need better preparation, more coping skills than I currently posses or maybe just someone with a degree to tell me it'll be ok. I don't know. I feel like I've reaching a high water mark emotionally and I can't take in any more water without mental distress. Even thought things that are happening now are normal passages of life. So I trust and I pray this is where things need to be now. There aren't many how-to books on families of inmates who return home.