Following are excerpts from my journal from the March/April timeframe as I continue to share my personal crisis.
Day 14 – Ryan had a rough day. With the stresses of school, thinking about a friend’s mom who is dying of cancer, and all of our “stuff”, it’s finally taking a toll. He woke up early for school, but when I saw him he seemed a bit dazed, just saying he felt different. I told him to go back up and get more sleep.
I went back up after a while to wake him again. He’s been sleeping in Allison’s bed since she’s been gone. He told me he had cried before falling asleep and just wasn’t sure why… but he had never felt this before. I sensed it was a bit of a depression and explained that with everything going on, it was quite understandable. I told him I thought he needed a day off. He didn’t resist (very different for him) and he went back to sleep.
I went back in later to check in on him. There again, his tears flowed. He reminded me of a pressure cooker slowly releasing his pent up emotions. I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m trying with all my maternal strength to be his rock.
Day 16 – 2nd family therapy session and just under two weeks since the kids have seen one another. Al was SO HAPPY to see Ryan. It’s so heartwarming to see them together. They sat on the same couch together in the therapist’s office, inches away from one another. Seeing them together almost made me cry. But it was for a good reason. I was seeing them with different eyes tonight. I felt such a confidence that they would always be there for one another, no matter what.
Day 23 – Family therapy tonight started off positive with Allison so happy to see the three of us. But as we moved quickly into our session, I could sense it was going to be different. There was a distance about her tonight. After she started opening up, she expressed how she wanted so much to express her “true” self and to start being honest with her feelings. It took a lot for her to finally admit this… to go out on a limb.
After tonight’s session, I walked away for the first time truly feeling her loneliness and confusion. I see her trying to find her own voice, to be her own person and feeling the conflict as she is trying to be who she wants to be but feels outcasted from the core of our own family. I felt her defensiveness. I could also sense the kind of limbo she is sitting in– so much wanting to leave the Center to restart her life over with all she’s learned about herself BUT yet so fearful of coming back home to the place that may not ever feel the same as she left it.
She called the next night. She apologized for being so defensive – she acknowledged and took responsibility for her behaviors, explaining and making sure I knew it was not against us or out of disrespect. Each week I feel she learns more about herself, taking more and more ownership.
Though she is so eager to come back home, I see such value in her staying as long as she can. She’s come so far learning and owning her “stuff” while at the Center. Each day she uncovers layer upon layer; and she gets closer and closer to becoming and accepting her real self. And, of course, that gives us more information about how best to support her.
As a parent, it is quite a process to witness and come to accept. I am so humbled by this experience and my own discoveries. I am convinced that in our own ways, we are all trying to find our true and authentic voices and self-acceptance. I feel Allison has such a head start than most of us.