I haven’t written much in the last couple of days. Things have been crazy in my neck of the woods. Most of it has been non-diabetes related, but its crazy how the things in your life can affect your blood sugars even when you think one has little to do with the other.
My eldest child is twenty-two, will be twenty-three in five weeks. His life began in turmoil since I was eighteen, still in high school, unmarried and living at home with my overly controlling parents at the time of his birth. Somehow we managed to survive together. I married when he was eighteen months old and built a family with and for him. We had our ups and downs, but we still have a good relationship.
My son moved out of our home at eighteen to attend school eight hours away, promptly fell in love, and began to have a life of his own. After two years, he came home and switched to the local university. Not long after tensions between he and his stepfather caused him to move out.
My son has continued to go to school while dealing with relationship woes, job difficulties, religious persecution, and medical problems. Every week he takes time out of his incredibly busy schedule to call me or come see me. It makes me feel like I am still a part of his life even though I know there is so much going on in his world that I am not a part of. While struggling with myelodysplastic syndrome, he underwent chemotherapy treatments, but never told me. It kills me to think of my son going through something so overwhelming and feeling like he could not share it with me. I believe he did it to protect me….but I am the one who is supposed to be protecting him.
He recently got a clean bill of health and less than a week later was in a car accident that caused his car to flip twice. It is a miracle he was not killed. He walked away with barely a scratch. His new girlfriend, a kind lady he met through his church, was there by his side in the aftermath. I can see the love they share. So when he announced that he plans to marry her, I was not surprised. I was devastated, however, to learn that I will not be allowed to attend their wedding ceremony because of the rules and traditions of their church.
Over the weekend I spent several hours trying to convince his new girlfriend that I was okay with this. But really, how am I supposed to be okay with something that excludes me from such a monumental moment in my child’s life? How am I suppose to feel when I know her mother will be by her side, but I can’t be by his? I understand religion and traditions, I understand this is important to them…but how am I suppose to ignore the hurt?
To add to this stress, my estranged mother had some medical problems over the weekend. Two of my five siblings texted me with details. I have not talked to most of my siblings in years…we all live scattered across the country with our own lives, our own families, our own problems. No one wanted to deal with mom’s problems…though we all know we have a moral obligation. What do you do when your parents become the children…when you thought you were done raising your children, only to be forced to take on the burden of caring for elderly parents?
The two issues are on such opposite ends of the parental scale that the irony of it almost had me pulling my hair out. On the one side, I’m fighting and scratching to figure out what my role is in my eldest child’s life without placing on him the burden of my emotions…on the other side, I am resentful and frustrated that my mother essentially gave up on life and expects all of us to jump whenever she has a meltdown (that sounds callous, but it is the truth).
I have always believed that children are a gift and that they owe us nothing. I choose to bring my children into the world, I choose to raise them to be competent, independent adults. Do I have a right to expect them to include me in all the special moments of their lives?
My mother lives with the belief that she gave her children life, therefore her children owe her. My mother had a difficult life…she lived with parents who suffered through the Depression, who learned early in life that complaining would get them no where and therefore had little compassion for their own children’s common childhood complaints. She comes from a different generation, a different time. She never held a job in her life until she found herself divorced after more than thirty years of marriage. Work was not something she enjoyed. She resented having to work and resented having to be independent. So she quit.
So where does all this leave me?
I find myself thinking about my mother, about the loneliness that brought on this latest bought of depression and the overdose of antidepressants that led to this crisis. What will my life be like when I am in my sixties, when my kids are all grown and have families of their own? Will I be able to care for myself? Or will my diabetes lead to complications that will leave me dependent? Will my husband be able to care for me if the worse happens? Will I be a burden on my children?
My husband always tells me there is no point in worrying about things that will never happen. But how can we predict what will or will not happen? My son, the child of a teen mother, was supposed to end up a high school dropout and a burden on society, but in reality he is about to graduate college and become a high school teacher. Who could have predicted that?
I have diabetes. I have mild neuropathy in my feet and hands. I have intestinal problems that are more than likely caused by the development of gastroparesis.
Who knows what I might be dealing with in twenty years?
Will I be the one who has a medical crisis and no one can be bothered to come to her aid?