?

Log in

No account? Create an account

One Cobble at a Time

Scenes from This Past Week

Sandra Tayler's Journal

responsible woman

A cobble by itself is just a small stone, but when many of them lay together they create a path . My life is made up of many discrete parts. I have to find ways to fit them all into place so that I can continue to journey where I desire to go. This journal records some of the cobbles that create my path.

Scenes from This Past Week

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
responsible woman

I talked to another parent with a son who is my son’s age. “He has a job now.” This other parent said. “It’s a restaurant job and he doesn’t like it much, but its being good for him.” The parent went on to describe how this boy is part way through learning how to drive and how he complains about the homework from his three AP classes. I sat there and listened to this father describe a parenting experience that was completely foreign to me. He wasn’t bragging, he was just telling me about stuff that felt completely normal to him. It was a description which matches the high school experience as witnessed in movies and on TV shows. And I vaguely remember going through something like it. I thought of my son, who spends so much time isolated. I thought of the therapy sessions, vocational rehab, and homeschooling that make up our existence. I thought about how none of it seems like enough and how I can’t currently picture my son going to college. It was like this other parent was telling me about a work of fiction, the fairytale of high school.

***

I sat in the elementary school office waiting for a meeting. As I waited for the teacher and the principal to be ready, I tried not to think about sitting in this same chair two years prior to discuss a different child in crisis. Two years is a long time, and you’d think that I’d have had time to process and let go of all the emotions. I haven’t had the time. I’ve been pushing thoughts out of my way so that I could take care of other thoughts. Mostly I don’t notice, until I hit a moment which would be déjà vu, except that I know exactly when and where I’ve experienced the moment before. It is so very familiar, same teacher, same room, same month of my child’s sixth grade year. But things are different too. Different child, different principal. This time there were only three of us in the room instead of five. This time we didn’t have to address behavioral or safety concerns. This time I didn’t show up with a plan for how to fix things. I’m too tired to make plans anymore. All I can do is say “this is where we are.” And to let them know that sometimes the homework won’t get done, not because I don’t think it is important, but because sometimes he can’t and sometimes I can’t. And I tell them enough about the things going on (beyond the those which relate to the child under their care) that they believe me when I say that sometimes the best I can give them won’t look like much.

***

My daughter was unsaddling the horse she’d been riding, so I wandered into the indoor arena. The big space was empty and the dirt was soft under my feet. I looked down at the shoe prints and hoof prints in the dirt and thought about how we all make marks upon the world simply by passing through. I looked back at my own prints, noticing the tread pattern of my shoes. I like going to the barn with my daughter. The priorities there are so different from anywhere else in my life. People tend not to be in any particular hurry. They chat, they pause to watch other people ride. The barn cats are friendly, glad to be picked up and snuggled. It is a space where my time is free of any other assignment than to bring my daughter, wait, then take her home again. Sometimes I bring work with me. Other times I just drift; watching my daughter manage a horse, listening to barn conversations. It is a much more pleasant form of therapy than the kind where we sit in and office and talk about hard things. Instead my daughter sits on top of an animal who outmasses her ten times over and learns that if she wants to control the horse, she has to first control herself. Telling people that my daughter has horseback riding lessons feels self-indulgent. Priviledged. But it is cheaper than office therapy by half. I walked back along my footprints feeling the quiet of the big empty space.

***

The words typed themselves on the screen in front of me. Or at least that is how it appeared. The truth was that my college daughter was typing words into a shared document. I was there to help her make sure the words said what she wanted them to say. It was a difficult message trying to give someone hope while also saying “I can’t be your security blanket. Please leave me alone.” It was the third or fourth time this year that I’ve helped my daughter sort out what words she needed for a difficult conversation. She’s had a semester of difficult conversations and growth.

***

The sun was bright in the front yard as Howard held up a brochure and squinted at the colors of our house. The page of the brochure showed shingles and we examined them to pick what would be on our roof for the next twenty years. The contractor stood in the yard with us. He’d made us a good offer, still expensive, but less than I’d been afraid we would have to pay. I’m just grateful we can pay. Even the contractor told us that the current state of our roof is a bit scary. All the gravel is loose, making the walking slippery. We couldn’t afford it last year or several years before that. I’m looking forward to being able to drive up to my house and not have to think “We really need to replace the roof before something breaks.”

***

After ten minutes of idling, I turned the engine off. My son looked up at this change in the status quo. We’d been sitting, mostly in silence. I’d run out of useful words. Instead I was waiting to see if he could decide to get out of the car and go to class. I could tell that part of him wanted to. When I asked, he said he liked his teacher, his classmates. He liked learning. Yet going was hard. It had been getting harder for a while. His teacher was worried. After twenty minutes I walked him into the building. He walked slow, his feet literally dragging with every step. In the hall we encountered his teacher from last year. She just happened to be there, and she happened to have time to stand and talk to us. She named what I knew, but hadn’t consciously recognized. I hadn’t wanted to recognize it because I really wanted one of my at-home kids to be fine. My son was depressed, chemically incapable of enjoying things that he would normally love. I mentioned that he’s already on medicine. She looked at my son, who was sitting, head down, arms curled around his knees, then she looked at me and said “If he’s on medicine, it isn’t working.” And I knew she was right. It was time for doctor’s appointments and teacher appointments. I am so weary of appointments.

***

“Take all the time you need.” He said to me in a quiet voice. We were sitting across a desk from each other in his office at the church building. I was there because I’d finally come to the conclusion that I should probably let the bishop of my congregation know about the mental health struggles impacting our family. I didn’t come with plans, just to tell him where we are and what feels hard. I tried to believe that I could take whatever time I needed, but I could feel that time pressing on me. LDS bishops are not paid for their ecclesiastical time. This man put in a full day of work and then put on a suit to put in hours during the evening. His job was huge. Bishops are always over burdened. I knew that on the other side of the office door sat someone who was waiting for the next appointment. And waiting. And waiting. Despite not wanting to take up too much time, I was so full of stories that I talked for ninety minutes. He listened to all of it.

At one point I apologized for not coming to him sooner. Because I knew that I should. I knew I needed help that my ward family could easily supply if they knew I needed it. But I didn’t want to be a burden. That seems like the good and kind thing to do, carry my own stuff so that no one else has to deal with it. Except that is the opposite of the purpose of having church in the first place. We’re not here to avoid burdening each other, we’re here to share one another’s burdens. With the weight of all the things spread across all the shoulders, it can be lifted. That can’t happen if we all hold our troubles tight and refuse to share them.

***

My fingers are on the keys and I want to spin out words through them, but the white space on the screen in front of me is empty. I try to find a place to start, a story I can tell. Except it seems like each story is tangled up with two or three things which are not mine to tell. My life and mind are filled with confidences that I must keep. Some of them will be less sharp in the future, less able to hurt. They can be told then. Others… will take much longer to lose their edge. I tell the stories I can, in the places that I can. The rest I hold for now.

Comments are open on the original post at onecobble.com.

Powered by LiveJournal.com