Sunday, April 1, 2012

What a week we're having!

Romeo turned 21 this past week, but it was not a joyful celebration.  The day I mailed his birthday packages to him, three days before his birthday, I was driving the 100 miles to go pick him up following a crisis that necessitated bringing him home from school.

DJ sailed right through it.

She had been having an "off" day herself.  She was rather down that day and was experiencing some frustration.  About what, I can't even remember because her "off" day was dwarfed by Romeo's crisis.  The poor girl was literally on the doctor's table having her pre-op physical performed, having blood drawn while I was talking Romeo through his crisis.  He had lost his temper, broken a glass and was bleeding.  All the while, I'm trying to determine, by phone, how bad he was, physically, so that I could hang up and call 911.  Then I couldn't get Bulldog on the phone because he works at remote locations oftentimes.

Simultaneously, I'm trying to not focus on the possibility that the nurse was thinking that our family was  a bunch of crackpots so that I could stay centered on getting Romeo focused on packing so he could come home, and on finding out if Goodwrench could go pick his brother up until I could get there to get him myself.

I am driving the piece of crap car to DJ's appointment just to keep it running, but am debating whether or not to take it on the 200 mile trip because DJ is insistent that she wants to accompany me to get her brother and there is no room to carry three occupants plus Romeo's belongings in my usual vehicle-the standard shift pick-up truck.  This, too, is stressing me out as I make my way back home, which is in the opposite direction of where I need to go to get Romeo because I have to bring the dog in and make DJ a meal she can eat on the road since eating out is problematic for her AND because we must keep her on her eating schedule.

I am cursing the entire way there in frustration with Romeo and the fact that I can't reach Bulldog to enlist his help.  We grab food, bring the dog in, and take the piece of crap car and head out the door.  This too is stressful because I'm uncertain if the car will make it, but then I figure that while my resources are slim at the moment, I do have room on my credit card.  I can always rent a car if the one I'm driving breaks down.  BUT, I have to teach a course the next morning that is roughly halfway between home and where Romeo is-I grab my supplies.  If I can find a substitute at this late hour, at least he will have the appropriate supplies that I can drop off at the office, after hours, on my way home.

THIS SUCKS!!!  Still no Bulldog.

In the meantime, I've got Juliet on the phone who is very upset and rightfully so because Romeo lost it during an argument with her.  Shame on him-and he knows it, thank goodness; we're bringing him home to get the appropriate help.  At that moment in the conversation, she says one of the saddest things I've ever heard before which is only second to the sound of a preterm baby I heard in the hospital who had just fallen asleep after being assaulted with medical procedures all morning, just to be woken again for another procedure.  It was the epitome of pathetic and pitiful and broke my heart-obviously I've never forgotten it because it happened 21 years ago.  Nonetheless, when Juliet said in her heartbroken way, "I don't think we can be together anymore," I felt my heart breaking and I managed to hold it together just long enough to hang up before she heard me sob.  It wasn't what she said so much as how she said it as if her heart were breaking just thinking of the reality of what she was saying.

Not many times in my life have I sobbed in this manner.  I fight crying vehemently nearly all the time, which is a blog topic for another day.  But you know when you have that deep hurt that causes the noisy sobbing that is impossible to stifle?  That is what happened to me on the side of a four lane highway.  The sound in Juliet's voice literally broke me.

DJ just laid her hand on my arm as I sobbed.  I felt terrible that she saw me this stressed, followed by this upset.  She didn't need this.  Well, apparently it was just what the doctor ordered because it shifted her mood.  She was so focused on making sure I was ok, that whatever was making her feel crummy must not have seemed that bad compared to her mother sobbing uncontrollably at the side of a busy highway during rush hour traffic.  In fact, once we got on the road again, she was upbeat, likely in an attempt to support me.

When we got to the city to pick Romeo up, DJ practically sparkled at being in the company of her oldest brother, Goodwrench.  And this past week both she and Romeo have returned to being, as Bulldog puts it, "two peas in a pod" and he couldn't be more apt.  So what have we learned from this, boys and girls:

1.  Just when it feels like you're at the bottom, look around.  Someone may be feeling worse than you which serves as a great reminder that maybe your life ain't as bad as it seems.

2.  Perhaps the best thing for a person who is absorbed with how crummy she feels is helping someone else who feels crummy.  It takes the attention off of oneself and helping others almost always acts as a way to help ourselves.

3.  Sometimes the S  - - -  hits the fan and everyone involved does not see how any good can possibly come of it;  then you notice how other opportunities present themselves and the key is to take advantage of them.  Marvel comic book movies and episodes of "Friends" can be a great bonding experience for two siblings who haven't had the chance to connect much in the last two years.  Taking a trip into town looking to satisfy geeky hobbies is always a good time too.  Young adults can find out how supportive their parents really are and parents can find out how supportive their young adult children can be, in spite of their recent crises, as well.

4.  Learning that it's ok to take a step back and that the world won't end is a huge learning experience.  Romeo has been full steam ahead in an effort to keep his anxiety about his future at bay.  Perhaps learning that full steam ahead is not a good methodology for him will make his entire future more secure.

5.  Crisis serves to winnow out the good-time friends from the real-deal friends.  The former are great at parties and suck at crisis.  The latter are great at both.  The only way you can tell which is which is to survive crisis together.  Romeo is finding out that having a few real-deal friends is way better than having a dozen good-time friends.  He didn't know the value of it before when he lamented he didn't have " a lot" of friends; I think he understands the important difference now.

6. When you take responsibility for your actions, are truly sorry for the  hurt you've inflicted, and make concrete plans to make sure those actions don't happen again, most people will give you another chance because true love usually offers true forgiveness, as long as it's a two way street.

7.  When you wake up in the morning breathing and you have a pulse, life has just offered you a"do-over."  Most of us wish for do-overs when we make mistakes but fail to recognize one when we see it.  When you make it through the dark of the night and the shadows of your fears that seem to amplify at night, you've made it to another chance to make things right and to start over.  Life is giving you a second chance at living.