Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Young Man, Your Time Will Come


Mr. Curry and I took Dakota to a therapy appointment today in the warm small evening of San Diego California, our little patch of Earth to inhabit, the place we hoped was safe for our children. When what you hope for your children is not what is, you can retreat into denial. You can thrust into rage and fear driven control. Or. You adapt and bend and wind and wiggle and do every damn thing you can possibly do to help your teenager make it through intact. And therapy is on that list.


Dakota is 15. He is the kind of complicated, introspective, intelligent competitive, aggressive, shining personality that attracts people and makes life very hard for himself at times. He is, I'm betting, going to be a person whose teenage years prove to be the most tumultous and painful of his life by his own hand, and someone who will, in adulthood, evolve into a particularly interesting, dynamic, soulful, large hearted person who will be a joy to everyone who loves him.


I remind myself daily: It is my job to know that this will happen for him, to believe it, and to show that I believe so in my dialogue and actions with my son. It is my job to know and to believe in the best of each of my children when no one else, especially not them, can see it.


Things have happened to someone that Dakota loves very deeply and who is irreplaceable to him. Bad things. And Dakota has suffered for it. When he was a little boy, we watched Star Wars over and over. He loved everything you would imagine a young boy loves about Star Wars, and we often discussed the characters and plot. He asked me ' Why is Darth Vadar so sad, Mommy? ' I told him that when a person has pain and keeps it all inside, they slowly hurt themselves over time, and that hurt turns to rage. Dakota responded, ' And that is why Darth Vadar is dark and black and doesn't show his face. ' Yes. And now Dakota has to find the way to express his darkness so that he does not become faceless and dark and lost in the galaxy.


So many boys do. It's a tremendous loss, when a young boy loses his soul to the incohate dullness of irony, apathy. The front page of The New York Times today broke my heart. A sixteen year old boy, walking with a look on his face I recognize from my own wild son, when his heart is broken and his spirit is battered and he just can't find solace, when the brute work of life is too much and he slackens into apathetic, bull headed shock. This young man had the lost shock hardened by repeated exposure to violence. He was flanked with serious eyed policemen, who I am sure looked at this young boy and thought of their sixteen year old selves, the boys they had been who had gotten through teenage years without murdering another human being. This young man did not.


More common is the slow subtraction of self esteem, when a young man does not fit in a comforting box, when he is not a sports fanatic or a math whiz or a computer geek or --. When, for instance, he has an IQ anyone would be proud of but cannot sit for six hours a day in a classroom taking in facts and discussions and correctly mark down the required two hours of homework and then return home to eat a snack and sit and struggle through the two hours of homework. When the natural and obvious intelligence that has been remarked on by every teacher he has ever had begins to crumble underneath the weight of the lack, the lack of fitting in the right boxes, the lack of successful learning in a school environment, the years of sitting and sitting and sitting and feeling a wild heart and energy and intellectual curiousity turn into bitterness and anger that is, of course, eventually directed inward, to the heart, to the core of self, where the answer rings out like a finger pressed to the doorbell: You are stupid, a failure, and will never live up to your parents expectations so why, why try? And before this you had been as close to your mother and your stepfather as any child could be, before you were convinced that you would fail them, and continue to do so. Before that certainty turned to despair.


Most teenagers who commit suicide do so before a report card.


Most teenage boys don't know where they belong or how to be men in this world.


Did you know that Dakota is offered drugs at least once every day in his high school? Did you know that most of his friends parents don't follow up to see if their boys are where they say they are or are doing what they say they are doing or engage them in dialogue about their friends and their lifestyle and their opinions, to the point where Dakota's friend's mother said to his friend ' I worry that you might know kids who do drugs? ' If you do not know that your child at age 15 knows other children who are doing drugs in a large public high school, then you don't want to know. That's what that is. I want to know. Even though knowing, at times, is literally heart breaking, and even though knowing what is real for my son and his friends, what they see and hear at school, has at times left me sobbing into Mr. Curry's shoulder for an evening. Because to see my baby boy, who I nursed until he was two, who I coslept with until age seven, who still holds my hand- to see this boy turn into a young man stepping into a world full of pain and drugs and loss - it is the hardest thing I have done so far as a mother.


We are not religous or living on a farm or a cooperative community. We exist in the bigger world, where all kinds of troubles mix with all other kinds of troubles. Dakota is coming of age in an America that is completely reinventing it's definition of manhood. Whatever adults speculate and pontifiate and study and research about teenagers, only they truly know what their insular teenage worlds are like. For boys, trying to understand themselves as young men, this is a combustive mix: confusion not only about who they are personally, but also about what society in general wants them to be, at a time where they desperately need guidance they are feeling left adrift. I set Dakota up to be a certain kind of man, and in many ways he has grown into this beautifully, with a caveat: when he left Montessori school, and entered public school in fifth grade, he felt tricked. Everything I had taught him was not valued, and the skills he had been left without were imperative. Not all adults listened to children, or cared about treating children well, or cared about children at all. Not all teachers were patient or good hearted. Not all adults told the truth or did the right thing. In addition, to his observing mind, he lacked social prowess, ' hardness ', and this combined with a lack of fitting in the before mentioned boxes, made him angry. He felt unprepared.


' You didn't prepare me for how the real world is, Mom, ' he said.


He still says this.


Nothing has been the same since he entered public school. I tell him about Bill Gates, Einstein, every male I can think of who is happy or successful and did poorly in school. I tell him my own story, Mr. Curry tells him his. We tell him about what success really means and is and more important we try to live that example in how we live, we tell him about the emotional consequences of choices we make and we tell him about holding your own even when it's lonely. And each day Dakota gets up and goes to school and turns down Oxycotin and Pot and Poppers and doesn't make out with girls for cred. and refuses to get into fights and each day he compares what we tell him to the world he lives in.


What if, I often think, Mr. Curry told me that I could go online and watch TV and see my friends and be happy only if I would go each day to a Computer Technican job and spend the entire day repairing computers?


I know I don't know anything about computers or have any instinctual understanding of their funcitoning to work with. I know math is my worst subject, in all the forms it takes. I know, deep in my guts, that I will never be truly successful at this job, no matter how hard I work.


I won't do this to my son.


One day he is going to be stopping by my home. Mr. Curry and I will be at home, maybe Lola will be around, and hopefully another child borne before Dakota moved out, playing on the rug. The dogs will bark. ' Dakota is here! ' we will smile. And his beautiful, broad smile will light up his face the way it does, his big blue eyes crinkle the way they do, and I will hug him so tightly that he will laugh, the way he does. And I will hold this tall broad man who is my son smiling into my arms, and I will not care that he flunked Spanish or barely made it through Science. I will not remember what grade he recieved in Junior Year Biology. I will remember how I loved him.

And Dakota will hold me and remember only that I did.





A Musing Mom (Taylorclan6) said...

I like to leave snarky comments that tickle the funny bone. But not today.

If you haven't read "Raising Cain" (although I suspect you may have, given your philosophy), read it.

For Lola, read "Reviving Ophelia."

For you, I share what touched the spot within me that I keep guarded but sometimes something sneaks in and resonates with me. Understand I don't sense a pity party from you by any stretch, that's my arena, but if this can help, I will share.

With my difficulties over the past few years I have also asked the question "Why?" I've asked God, a therapist, my husband, the wall, the empty air. But what good will "why" do me.

What if I were to stop asking "why" which serves no purpose but allow me to throw the confetti at my own pity party and ask "how."

It's very empowering to look for a tangible answer that I can use. How will I help my daughter gain self-confidence when all she sees is the brick wall standing in front of her? How will I encourage her without pushing her?

In quiet moments, the answers come.

Maggie May said...

I have read Raising Cain, and enjoyed it. My favorite books for help in this area have been The Wonder of Boys, and strangely enough, Comeback. Comeback is about a teenage girl, but it's the rawness, honesty and bare bones advice of the memoir that gets to me. I recommend it highly.

I totally agree with looking at the how. I have, over the last ten years, become a HOW person. I have told Dakota many times I don't know what the exact solution is, but I DO know it exists and may be in several different answers and not just one. You just keep looking. I have that feeling that you get when you are on the right track. The direction we are heading right now is, at least, not downward.

Home Girl said...

oh dear this entry goes straight to my heart. i try to remind myself how easy these toddler years are in comparison to parenting a teenager. at least i always know where my wild hearted boys are and can control who they mix with. someone once compared having teenagers to training astronaughts. u give them all the preparation you can then at some point you have to let go and hope for the best. i don't envy the huge struggle you have on your hands, but imagine that i will experience something similar in the future. dakota sounds like such a beautiful spirit, who sounds like he has the bestappears to have the best possible parents to guide him to eventually become an extraordinary man, goodluck lovely family xx

Vashti said...

hey lovely! Reading this scares the shit out of me! I have 2 boys.....aagghh!
the temptation to lock them up and homeschool and isolate is over whelming and they are only 3 and 4 years old!
Yet again my boys got told that they are not going to a party this week....cause they are black and dont fit in!!!
My heart breaks!
On Dakota being a whole man a good book to read is Wild at heart by John Eldrige.
I have read it a couple of times and it talks about what a man is created to be and what the world tries to make him. Its powerful and insightful. Might help with your beautiful boy.
I love that photo of the two of you. You are so alike.
I will be praying for peace and protection for him.
Have a great weekend.
xxxxx

Nancy said...

This really touched me because I have a 19 year old son in his 2nd year of college.
I have worried through the years (still do!) about him, his self-esteem, his ability to deal with life and everything going on around him. Added pressure is the alcoholism that courses through both sides of his family tree.
Although he hasn't always made the best choices, I think with love and support and good life lessons from my husband and me, he's on his way.
I wish for the best for your son.

Garden Pheenix said...

My daughter is 4 but what you have written about resonates deeply with me. Not only with what I went through, but what I fear she will go through. And what I see my 15 year old step brother who I adore goes through. Is there an answer to how to protect who they are? Aside from not being among those who shove them in a box and should they not fit berate, degrade and tear them down? I won't be part of it - but I still lack the knowledge of how to protect them from those who are.

Thanks for the authentic blog...

:c)
<3

starrlife said...

Maggie- that post touched my heart deeply- thank you. I think of my own daughter who will have to deal with extra hard things as a teen and I work so hard not to worry.... You have a rare and beautiful perspective and it helps to read it and join it with my own.

Petit fleur said...

Love to you Maggie and love to Dakota.

I think it's must be so hard when kids see all sorts of adults in powerful positions acting like emotionally dysfunction children, and misusing their power/position. Our society shows little mercy and villainizes every chance it gets. It's so hard for a kid to know where and how to channel all this anger at the realizations that come with growing up and being a sensitive.

You and Mr. Curry are doing all you can Maggie. Just keep on following your instincts. He's trying to find a way to live in the world and keep his integrity and it's just plain hard work.
Love love and more love,
xo pf

Nancy Campbell said...

I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and artistry of your work.

I'm grateful, as a mother of sons, to read this. I can only imagine the challenges of giving space while providing a safety net, of loving without clinging, of seeing reality but not being consumed by it.

Dakota will be such a strong, capable young man, because he knows that he is loved, and that you are watching his back.

the real mia said...

If only every teen had an understanding mom...

Evangeline said...

This made me cry today.
My two boys are only in Grade 4, but they struggle hard already. Nothing comes easy for them...not socially, not academically, athletically, artistically, each area is a hard slog, an uphill battle. And it's only going to get much harder. My heart hurts for them.

When you said. "I remind myself daily: It is my job to know that this will happen for him, to believe it, and to show that I believe so in my dialogue and actions with my son. It is my job to know and to believe in the best of each of my children when no one else, especially not them, can see it."

I remind myself daily of this too. We are the cultivators of optimism, the keepers of the faith. We help them hold on to what is best in them, even as the world tries daily to strip it away. I am so glad Dakota has you to love him. I am so glad I am here to love my boys. That is powerful...may be even more powerful than all that other shit from out there that surrounds them every day (it just has to be).

Erin said...

Oh lady. My biggest fear is not that my son won't succeed, but that he won't know how much I love him, and how much I want him to find a place in this world for himself.

You're quite a mother, my friend, and one day, when he's on the other side of all this, Dakota will be able to grasp the depth of your love and support. I'm sure of it.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

This made me eyes well up, Maggie. You are such a gift as a mother. I hope you know that and believe that. I know you think you fall short sometimes. I feel your worry.

Like Dakota, I did not fit in and I struggled mightily in my teen years. Fortunately and unfortunately, I had loving parents, who had not a clue what to do with their sullen depressed teen. If my folks had had your knowledge I think it would have helped me tremendously.

I love you a lot. You are a very, very good Mother and a blessing to your children. Please believe that.

Love, SB.

thailandchani said...

This is absolutely brilliant! If only more parents could have such insight.....




~*

Petunia Face said...

We should all have a mother like you. Stay strong.

Madge said...

I have an incredibly sweet, sensitive, overly empathetic 11 year old son and I am terrified for the years ahead.

Thank you for this post.

jennifer said...

you are a good mother for caring. i have seen so many children left to themselves by age 15, just when they need guidance the most.
i'd like to say in response to Vashti: homeschooling is NOT isolation. In fact, just the opposite.
Maggie take good care on this journey and trust in yourselves.

Mel said...

Maggie, I stop by often and love your posts and wish I commented more....this post really speaks to me. I have a 15 year old son, so much like yours: bright, inquisitive, creative, kind, and on and on, with a lefties dyslexic view of the world, which is hardening him into such a cynic, as he daily navigates a student body of 2200, drugs offered daily. I don't know how to prepare him for this world, I'm poorly equipped myself somedays. He is glad that I trust him to make sane choices, but I worry about bad luck, bad timing, bad people. I especially worry now that they are all driving, and most of them lying to their parents as a matter of course. I have wept a few tears over the whereabouts of that little boy I have raised into a young man who towers over me, who struggles to find his way in this overwhelming world. I miss the easy way he used to laugh at everything. Life isn't so funny for him now, and I fear I've passed on the worry gene along with the alcoholic one. I wish us all luck and hope and happy crinkly smiles in the future....
and you are so right, if all else fails, our children will know they were loved fiercely.

ps Come Back haunts me years later. Thanks for the other book recommendations.

Kay said...

oh, you are just beautiful, moving...I would strongly recommend a book 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell, I think you may find that your values instilled in your son, will no less provide him with the tools to succeed, as well, he may find some solace in it.

La Belette Rouge said...

Dakota is so lucky to have a mother who is responsive and respectful of his nature. The world is lucky to have boys with such thoughtfulness and sensitivity, the world needs such boys.

Middle Aged Woman said...

A young man with a good center can survive public school. That good center came from you. Who cares about high school grades, really? He is learning what it takes to survive on his own, and to cut through the mess and how to define REAL friends. That's a life lesson that counts. He will find a comfort zone. Usually it takes a couple years of high school.

Annje said...

You write with such a raw vicseral elegance, I love it. I have small kids, and even now it is hard at times to focus on the larger task of developing poised, confident, sensitive people who are true to themselves... I can only imagine how difficult that is during the tumultuous years of adolscence. the hard part is that it may take years to see the fruit of your love and dedication, but it sounds like he is one lucky young man to have you as a mother.

Simply Mel said...

My heart breaks for you and Dakota, but in a good way...because you are an incredible mother. You listen, you love, you carry his pain...and for this, he remains good and close to you. He is a very lucky boy, and you are a very lucky lady. I will think of you both daily and wish you only peace and comfort.

Jessica said...

As someone with no children, I can't say I know what you are going through. However, being so young, I remember very well the pressures of high school and college life. I was blessed with parents like you, who knew the real world and talked to me openly. I can proudly say I never did drugs or drank in high school.

Unfortunately, I remember many friends whose parents were blind to the risks. When they did acknowledge this stuff, it was condemning and you better never attitude. Most of my friends ended up doing both at early ages and many ended up pregnant having sex while out of it. On a positive note, they all turned out fine. They got their lives together as adults and are productive, happy people.

All that rambling leads me to my point. I think you are doing a great job! The fact he's saying no still tells me he's been given the tools to be himself and stand on his own. He doesn't have too much left of high school. Then, he can enter the world and start fresh.

Many of the kids that I remember being teased and picked on in high school turned out so much better off than the jocks and popular kids. They went on to accomplish more things and live a fuller life. It sounds like this is the route Dakota is on to me. I hope life gives him all he deserves for being such a great kid.

Just.Kate said...

Your are a beautiful mother. I'm glad I read your blog- it's very empowering.

beck said...

This is a really amazing and thought provoking piece of writing, Maggie.I couldn't help but cry as I read some of your words. Your son is having a tough time but how lucky he is to have a mum who tries so hard to help and understand. You have a powerful way with words, I wish I could express myself so well! Thanks for sharing this part of your life and love to you and your gorgeous family xo

Elle Bee... said...

I agree with Sarcastic Bastard. You're an amazing mother, Maggie. This is heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

Dakota is lucky to have you.

abc said...

good....................................................................................................

Shaista said...

One day he is going to be stopping by your home. And his beautiful, broad smile will light up his face the way it does, his big blue eyes crinkling the way they do, and you will hug him so tightly. And Dakota will hold you and remember only that you loved him. Unconditionally.

K Soucy said...

I think I was meant to read this today. Somehow I ended up here tonight, and as the mother of a 14 year old boy and a 15 year old girl much resonates. Thank you.

Dakota said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Captain Dumbass said...

With two little boys this scares the hell out of me. I lose a lot of sleep worrying if I'm doing it right, if they're going to get through that stage scared or just bumped and bruised.

katiecrackernuts said...

We have a son, 15, too. He liked Star Wars. His friends drink, too much, do drugs, too much, don't go to school, too much. But he seems to be doing OK. He gets bored, but is resolute about being healthy and staying strong. He went body boarding this morning. He went out to dinner last night with his girlfriend and her family - and it was a big thing, he's so shy. I don't know about whether he feels he can cope with the real world, but I am pretty damn proud of how he's dealing with his world.

Dakota, I don't know what you said in that last comment, and I don't know you, or your ma, for that matter, but you know what, I know I wouldn't want to be a 15-year-old kid for quids. I think you do just fine for being 15 in 2009. Kudos to you.

Elizabeth said...

Wow. This post resonates with so many people. I feel like printing it out and saving it for the few years I have left with my own little boys. You are so wise and beautiful, Maggie; I can't imagine any child of yours being anything but wise and beautiful as well.

Maggie May said...

Maybe I shouldn't have deleted his comment? It was a spur of moment reaction, I was surprised to see him! He said:

' It is awkward having people you don't know comment on your life... '

Which yeah. I was surprised, I didn't know he read my blog! Hi, Dakota :) Um awkward.

Bex said...

Talk about a post that cuts straight into the heart of every mother. My baby boy isn't even a year yet, and I fear for him learning to become a man in this world.

Even more than that though, your post made me think of my own man. He lost his way somewhere way back, was one of those people who never fit into a box, as you said, and I think suffered greatly for it. Only now, in his thirties, is he finding his way back. But there is detritus from the process all around us.

When I was going through my own struggles as a teenager, my mother used to say to me "The purest gold goes through the hottest fire." God, that meant the world to me to hear when I felt like everything was just too hard. Her constant encouragement kept me afloat, all the way up until I could swim on my own. Scratch that, she still does it sometimes. That's what mothers are for.

Lydia said...

This post was a study in love. My sister has two boys: 13 and 16 and even as a practicing clinical psychologist I don't think she has a better handle on them than you do on Dakota. You see. You care. You deal. You survive. You thrive. I wish the same things for your son.

But my only real reference point is myself because I don't have kids. I do, however, well remember sitting up at the kitchen table with my mother when I was in my junior year of high school. All night I cried and all night we talked. I asked her if I could quit school or change schools (then it wasn't an easy thing to do to switch to another high school)...anything to keep me from having to return to the halls of hell. And she said I could do either of those things if in my heart I knew I couldn't survive 1-1/2 years more in my high school. Strange, but when quitting became a possibility I quietly inside myself that night decided to stick it out.

I didn't excel, but I didn't fail. I made good friends, some who are still in my life. I had my first serious relationship with the student body president, in spite of the fact that I wasn't pressing to be in the popular crowd. I decided I'd try university, without having prepared academically or financially - and I found college to be like a dream compared to high school. I even liked my part time job in school better than anything I'd experienced in high school. It's a strange world not meant for everyone. But those who gut it out and have support like you are giving to Dakota (and like my dear mother gave to me) really will have their time in the sun later.

Hands down, this is my longest comment ever on anyone's blog. :)

Mwa said...

You are so right. When I was teaching a couple of years ago, I would feel so bad for some of my pupils, and most of them were boys. I only got them at eighteen, and some of them you could tell that they had been pestered for years by the horrible system in which they were forced to do everything against their nature for years. One guy flunked his final year three times. When I tried to talk to the other staff about how surely this is not the way to treat people for years, they just didn't get it. But there must be a better way.

Allison the Meep said...

This makes me so sad for future Julian. And hopeful all at the same time. Because you're involved and you care. My parents, though I think they did the best they could at the time, weren't so involved. I pretty much raised myself. We never had talks, they never really knew what was going on with me, and I certainly never went to any therapy sessions. It's amazing that I didn't wind up in a ton of trouble, considering.

Such a great thought provoking post.

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

I never know what I will find here
And I am always happy when I come to a visit.
I always find that I learn new things.
Sometimes they are happy things
And sometimes they are sad.
They are always about the human condition
And the frailty of life in general.
It is almost like an emotion ball of twine unraveling.
There is love and laughter and the haunting sound of death.
There is hurt and anger and the untimely lenght of healing for this and that.
The resolve is always just a hand touch away from you or me
Or they and them.
There is music swimming in my ears
And dormant memories resting sleepily awakening from a life of hibernation.
The laughter sets me free and I smile. I gleam.
Thank you for all that Maggie.
Thank you...

Petit fleur said...

Hey,

Glad I came back... you know I was wondering about how Dakota would feel being written about. I sort of hated it when my parents talked about me to my aunts and uncles. It's tricky.
Now I realize what they were doing and why... parents need support! They weren't gossiping, they were trying to make the best decisions for me and to guide me in the best possible ways. Sometime you just need some reassurance because the responsibility involved can be too much for one couple on their own.

To Dakota, Yes, it must be very strange to have people you don't know commenting on your life. The up part is that we have all come to care about your family through your mom's writing, even though we've never met. Many of us are parents, and I'd say most of us have been 15.

We may have had different framework for our struggles when we were 15, different time of growing up(--mine was the 70s-80s),different current events or family struggles, school struggles, etc... but the binding link is that we all did struggle, most of us very very hard. So I think many of us see this issue from projecting back to when we were that age, and now also as parents. It's very intense stuff.

Anyway, I think I can speak for most everyone that comments here when I say, we do care about you and wish you clarity, and to keep to the path of your highest good.
Much peace.
pf

CitricSugar said...

Beautifully written. I am moved.

The interesting thing is that the "real world" exists in pockets, and is coloured by perception. It takes time to find the right pocket and to know how to "see" that pocket. And the path to it is thick and muddy and a lot of seemingly useless and wasted effort. The trick (and it does seem like an impossible trick sometimes) is to just get through it. And to realize that your experiences will colour and influence who you are but they should never define who you are.

michelle said...

This breaks my heart and scares the hell out of me. The world is a soul crushing place. It shouldn't be, but it is. And all we want to do is protect our babies souls. And hope they make it through and hope the light remains in their eyes.

krista said...

it's a wonder anyone makes it out of 15 alive. i almost didn't. my man almost didn't. we were different types of teenagers, to be sure. i was the overcompensating girl who desperately needed school to be perfect because my home life was anything but. he was the kid who didn't care and ditched and lied and basically was everything i was not. yet for all the same reasons.

dakota, we don't know aside from reading snippets here and there that really don't delve too far into your personal space. know that. know that your secrets are safe with you and that these online forums serve a great purpose in tying us all together in this mess of a world. i'm sure it is very disconcerting to have strangers comment on your life, but we're all learning from you and your mom and your family. we share so that we know we aren't alone. and no matter what...know that you are loved in a way that is enviable, unwavering, strong enough to crack against the shore and remain intact.
and i understand the frustration at feeling you weren't prepared for how hard the world really is. perhaps that is one of the downfalls of being a woman who has grown up all to well-versed in the hardness and violence and danger and rage. out instinct is to never let our children grow up with that knowlege. it's hard to find a balance.
i wish you peace in these years. i'm not pitying you or patronizing you. i just know that being a teenager blows. sometimes the best you can do is just make it out alive without hurting people along the way.
okay, i'm done rambling. i mean, what the hell do i know, anyway?

Ms. Moon said...

I have had all sorts of teenagers and I will tell you that it is hard to live through those years.
But I will also tell you that if you just keep loving enough and telling him enough that you love him (and there are so many ways to do this), he will, eventually, be at peace with the true higher self that he is.
I promise you, Maggie. I do.

SJ said...

Maggie, you're such a good mother. I hope I can be half of what you are, and love my kids through every stage and every age with the grace that strive for every day.

Jason, as himself said...

Huge sigh. So painstaking, all of this. I get it. I know, only my angst has been with a teenage daughter.

Movingly written, Maggie.

Angie Muresan said...

Oh Maggie. My heart goes out to you. My son is only 10, but I think about this every day. The world is such a cruel place for our young sons and daughters. I am not religious either, although I grew up in a very religious community, but those places aren't any better.
Your son will make it Maggie May. With a mom like you, and with Mr. Curry on board, he will get through this, victoriously. Thinking of you.

dad24 said...

some of us special folks make it through that mine fields, self-esteem enhanced, heart open, on our path of bliss. It just takes a while.

we discover our specialness even and share with human kind. Great Post.
67 years

Maggie May said...

I can't thank you enough for your responses. So many of you nailed it on the head-- I posted this because sometimes Mr. Curry and I feel desperately alone in this, and totally out of our depth despite our great care and attempts at learning (books, websites, people) that reaching out for feedback or reassurance feels like the thing that is keeping me breathing steadily, one breath at a time, one day a time. I have never in my life outside of the kids infancy felt the enormous weight of responsibility shaking me to the core like I do now. Every resource at my fingertips must be utilitized.

Dakota read through those of you who personally responded to him and smiled. He appreciated your comments. I read over his shoulder and watched his face as he read.

Thank you guys. I really can't say how important having this feedback is to me and to Mr. Curry, who will be reading this.

xo

Barrie said...

Well, I have teen boys. So, this post really reached out to me. I must read the books you and A Musing Mom recommended. Dakota is so very lucky to have you and Mr. Curry.

yolanda said...

my teen years were awful, Maggie. i wish i had therapy at 16 years oldish- damn- i have therapy now.

everything will be fine, i promise!

oh, did you get my letter?

mucho amor
yolanda

Lora said...

I have this horrible need to write a post on teen pressures and suicide but every day I read posts similar to this one and I just can't do it. Maybe tomorrow.
You are doing the right thing.
Those kids that crumble? the ones that quit? They all say their parents weren't there for them.
It's clear that you are.

Phoenix said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: You sound like such an amazing, gentle, loving mother. What child cannot flourish under such warmth?

Dakota will be okay. I can read the proof in your blog and in your love.

Lisa said...

Went through the same thing. I pulled my son, after 7 years of trying to overcome the system, with specialist...IEP's...meetings...emails..phone calls. Only, no one has the time. He now has his GED, and his life is taking off in ways that he, nor us, dreamed it would. Public School held him back. It did not propel him forward as it did most kids. A fabulous read...."A Mind At A Time". Our decision made all the difference....

la fille vanille said...

Aw, this really moved me - my gosh... beautiful words about a difficult time...

Terresa said...

My brother was an acne-faced C,D,F student, sandwiched by some twist of fate between us 3 sisters who were all straight-A-ers.

His high school experience was hellish, but he survived. He was in Boy Scouts & a church group & had a family (us) who loved him every way we knew how, hopefully enough. Those things helped.

He was my parent's oldest son. The "wild" son. The one with nervous tics and no desire to sit in plastic primary colored chairs beginning at age 5. Today, my mom says she should've home schooled him. She did not.

As a man today he harbors some anger against my parents, but he now is living an even stranger twist of fate: him & his wife have 4 boys now of their own to raise up in this violent, tinny, suburban America that is at once our heart, our haven and our hell.

But we must try, in raising up these boys, our own sons, our friend's sons, our neighbor's sons, our grandsons. My 2 sons are ages 2 & 6, but I'm taking notes, madly. We need to try, all of us, because if we don't, who will?

PS: Maggie -- Glad you found my blog b/c now I've found yours. It is poetic, authentic bliss.

thetruebookaddict said...

Hi...I heard about your post from Angie and I'm glad I came over and read it. My son, Gabe, is 8 years old and he is very much like your son. He is going through the very things that you said your son went through in the past with school and all. I worry about his future every day. My only hope is that I am giving him good guidance and that through the outside help he's receiving through counseling, he will be okay. I know I always show him much love.

Thank you for posting this and letting people like me know that we're not alone in our struggles.

Ruth said...

I have been introduced to this post by angiemuresan.com. I am not a parent, though I have had to step up to the parenting plate many times. The post is helping me to understand what my brothers have gone through. It is refreshing to see that you are a friend to your son, not just a parent. If I ever become a mother, I hope can be a trusting friend to my child.

Holly said...

This is really an amazing post. I see so much of my son in this (he's 8). I am continually looking for ways to show him how wonderful he is and build his confidence so that when he is older and faced with these dilemmas he has the courage to say no. He is very intelligent but struggles socially and athletically and has a hard time finding friends who understand his ways.

I am amazed at the mother and fathers who think their kids are not involved in the things they are and choose to bury their head sin the sand. This is my job to be with hm to guide him, to teach him how to be a man (along with the hubby of course).

So glad I stopped by form Angie's.

Thanks

Holly

Existential Waitress said...

Such a beautiful post - it made me want to cry. It really hit home as I have both a six year old son with his own issues when it comes to school, and a brother that was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic at sixteen - school and teenage years were needless to say pretty difficult for him. Thank you for sharing such heart-felt thoughts. This post really touched me.

Robin said...

i loved reading every word of this. thank you.

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