I always felt that I should be part of a family of 5. I don’t know why, but when my second son was born I didn’t feel that the family was quite complete … in contrast when I brought son #3 home, it felt whole, as though this was ‘right’. Subconsciously I realise I still think of us as a family of 5, although we have not been so for some time. I often find myself cooking for 5, buying food as though there were 5 people here… Now of course we are only 3 at home; and this is taking some adjustment.
Suddenly I have a lot of space. The absence of son#1 leaves a big physical hole, as well as a release of a lot of stress. Hard though it is to admit, I was so ready for him to GO AWAY. I was very, very tired of an adult child doing nothing productive, making mess and being generally unhelpful. With him gone, I realise exactly how much energy and anxiety he was creating for me. Some part of wanting him to go , must I think, be ‘normal’ – there comes a time when our offspring need to leave home and set up on their own… this is after all the whole point: from the moment the umbilical cord is cut our children begin to grow away from us until they can take their place as functioning adults in society.
He’s in touch, pretty much every day I get a message or a snapchat – but the immediacy of him, the worry of his day to day ‘management’ is no longer mine.
So there are three of us at home now, and the dogs.
Son#2 is deep in a teenage angst phase, strumming his bass guitar endlessly, headphones permanently in his ears, ready to argue every single point – reluctant to engage with the essential programme of study this academic year. My heart sinks at the thought of another unmotivated, immature young man sitting around the house because he WONT make an effort to study. Sigh.
There is more space to pay attention to him. This should be a positive. Trouble is he doesn’t want more attention, he wants to be left alone to do the bare minimum, and Mum with her ‘ridiculous expectations’ and ‘pressure’ is an unwelcome intrusion into a world of band practice, anxiety, despair and teenage hormones.
Dad seems slightly more palatable to him, but only slightly. More acceptable because he puts less pressure I think; and less because son2 is looking with a critical eye on his achievements as a father, his efforts … and is angry as he finds his father wanting .
Son #3, dragged into a meeting with his form tutor at the beginning of term, seems to have taken seriously the comments on last years end of term report. He at least remains sunny and uncomplicated. He has a focus, a career in mind and he knows it will take work and commitment to get there.
And I? I’m struggling emotionally watching J decline. No more of that as its not my story, but its hard. Nothing like as bad as it is for K, but painful anyway. I’m wondering what my life will look like in 5 years? in 10? I don’t have a Plan any longer. I don’t know where I want to be, to live, how I want to work / not work, all my adult life I’ve had a plan, something to work towards. Now I dont. Now Im not a family of 5, and I wont be again.
It sounds more gloomy than I feel. I think im just adjusting. Trying to work out where my boundary lines are – with everyone. Son1 wanting $1000 to go to Everest base camp next week (nope) ; Son2 wanting money for a trip to town on a school night (nope) ; son3 wanting yet more video games (nope) …. Just adjusting. I’ve shifted to not looking very far ahead at the moment – a week or two at a time. Focussing on small goals, trying to re establish some routine….
Very sober. And both very glad to be, and very very bored of it. That makes no sense, but its how I feel. I want some escape from humdrum. I want a purpose. A goal. Or escape so that the lack of purpose doesnt really matter any longer …