I wrote this in the hospital the other day, waiting for my teenage son to get out of surgery. It was not serious…but it involved general anesthesia and I was alone and it was a good time to have a good old-fashioned pity party. And yes, I trusted the doctors and yes, I should have asked for company and yes, I knew it was going to be OK. But he’s one of my babies. And I am it. And Mama Bear, she has a mind of her own sometimes….
But this was dark and mostly just therapeutic for me and therefore not really intended for any of you. Until I was working from home today and my son, two days post-surgery and surrounded by friends who came to wish him well, came in from outside to tell me that someone had spray-painted harassing graffiti about him on a telephone pole right outside our home.
So, to the kid(s) who did it, first let me tell you that I have counseled my son and his friends all day to keep perspective and let it go. Be the bigger person. People who do stuff like this have problems and deserve our pity, not our anger. And certainly not revenge. My kids are lucky to have good friends who look out for them. Not everyone has that.
But make no mistake about it, you are a piece of shit. And to your parents, congratulations on raising a piece of shit. I will look forward to turning him or her down for a job in the not-so-distant future. In the meantime, enjoy the reading. Everyone is dealing with stuff. No one deserves to wake up in the morning and see that.
I really hate hospitals.
I know, I know – very few people actually enjoy hospitals. They are generally not places you visit for a good reason…unless you are having a baby and even then, childbirth is not exactly a relaxing day at the spa.
But I really, really hate hospitals. Like, I fucking hate them.
I hate the smell, I hate the food, but mostly I hate the vast amounts of people pushing around trying to ignore each other. Despair in many different forms lurks in every corner and everyone walks around staring straight ahead, pretending not to see and hoping he doesn’t stop for them.
I know, I don’t usually go to this dark place, but believe me, I have my reasons. I don’t like to talk about it anymore, mostly because I don’t want to have to explain my story to anyone, never mind strangers who also are clearly not there for an extended vacation themselves. Also, when I have friends who need me, I want to be able to be there for them. No one should ever think, “Wow I really could use some company right now but I’m not going to call Lisa because she can’t handle it”. I treasure the people that have stood by me.
And yet here I sit – alone – and I realize that no amount of time, or strength, or getting up every day and going through life, has prepared me for the bumps in the road that sometimes take me back to these places. It’s one thing to have to do it for me…but for my kids, I can’t even. Can’t. Even.
My daughter the anthropologist would say that it triggers some deep, primitive, fundamental instinct. Since I do not have an advanced degree, I simply call it Mama Bear. You all know her, right? My Mama Bear was always a little…strong, but four and half years ago she had what I would call a mid-life crisis and she is truly terrifying. You mess with my kids, you risk running into her. She won’t hurt you physically. But believe me when I tell you, when she is done with you, you will wish that was all she did.
But this, this. What is she going to do? Sometimes stuff happens and no amount of telling my kids that they should count their blessings instead of focusing on what they’ve lost changes the fact that sometimes young men need a dad. And mine don’t have one. And guilt, like grief, is a powerful, powerful, sneaky bitch who strikes at the worst possible moments, even when it doesn’t make any sense at all.
In comparison to so many, our struggles pale. My strong, strapping young man has always been and will most likely always be a warrior…and he was that today. He is doing OK now and he will soon be back to his normal nutty self, driving me crazy with his goofiness. And I will be back soon, I promise. I was alone today and that was awful…but I was surrounded by so much love and support it’s easy to get back to focusing on all the good.
So I tuck my Mama Bear away and plaster the smile on my face that my babies all need to see and warrior through another tough day. And count my many blessings.
And I promise. I’ll be back tomorrow.