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Day 19: Moments of Insanity

“There are certain people you just keep coming back to…

…And all at once the crowd begins to sing

Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same” -The Fray

My relationship with my oldest son has always been steeped in a complex attraction-aversion. The deep emotional parallels we share play out as opposing forces and have since he could talk. I am not sure if it is the deep divide in our values, the things that parents most want to give to their offspring, or his increasing sense of self absorbed entitlement that drives me to distraction; but I can say without hesitation that I have never tried so hard to heal a relationship as I have with him.

The issues that live between people, especially parents and children are their karmic ties. The issues don’t change over time as much as our relationship to them. I have never been one to give up on anything. My favorite line from U2’s Miracle Drug “There is no failure here sweetheart, just when you quit…” has been my mantra in my deepest personal relationships. But now, as my son begins his 18th year, my stamina wanes. His lessons about what is right or wrong, true or false will come through life, not from me.

There are few people who can so easily provoke me as my first son. He knows all the buttons and has admitted to enjoying the power he has over my fury and wrath more than really fearing either. Much as I don’t want him to feel or exercise that power, I experience moments of insanity in my dealings with him that make me question myself and my capacity as a mother. These moments are less and less frequent as we both work to disengage from the co-dependent bonds that grew up with him, but they still catch me off guard. My rage is like being swept into a wave. The emotional energy of maintaining a balance in our relationship is completely shaken and turned upside down to sort out again after the storm settles.

These moments of insanity completely blow my positivity quest up in my face. I am overcome by my feelings like a three-year-old’s tantrum and I am stunned and ashamed by the words that come out of my mouth. I should know better or at least be able to control myself. I know how damaging the words we scream in anger are to children, because I was that child too. There is nothing to do but pick up the pieces and try to build a tenuous bridge back to civility.

It’s true that “sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.” Much as my feelings would lead me to quit on love and disengage from the difficult relationships that make positivity elusive- the way is always through. It is the place when words like forgiveness, humility and courage are living things. They then become the choices that define and give us a chance to make something positive out of the small moments of insanity that punctuate our days.