My oldest son is graduating from high school today and I sit here, my body achy from the mix of emotions that have been tumbling around inside of me the past few months. Emotions that in the past I would have run from, literally, running miles until my joints hurt and my mind went numb.
But today, as hard as it is, I am sitting and feeling it all. I feel so proud of him for accomplishing this milestone, it hasn’t been an easy journey for him. I feel excited to see what he does in the next chapter of his life, but I also feel a desperate desire to turn back time for a great big F*&%ing do over. Although I have come to accept that anorexia served a purpose for me for many years ( many blogs to come about that) It also took things from me, it kept my brain so occupied with maintaining my addiction preoccupation with foodand I can’t help asking myself, “was I there for Dylan?” I don’t mean physically present, I mean emotionally. Was I his safe place as he learned to navigate his world or was I too pre-occupied with food, and exercise and my rigid schedule to really be there? Was I a good mom?”
“You did the best you could at the time Sherri, that’s all any of us can do,” my therapist Kirsten, a mom of a teenaged boy herself, said over and over again during our sessions, “and you have so many years ahead to be his mom, a healthy mom. You aren’t done yet.”
When I made the decision to quit my job and stay home with Dylan, I was all in. Just making the decision calmed my brain and my nervous system. I loved being home with him. Not only was he an easy, happy kid, he also had three sets of grandparents and one great grandma who were waiting at the ready to spend time with him. Seven adults and one toddler. Yep, his life was pretty good. And so was mine.
The biggest adjustment was the pace of my day. Being at home with one kid who was napping twice a day was quite different than my job, where crisis management was the daily motto. Between reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, watching The Wiggles (toot toot chug chug), and outings to the park, the hours went by S-L-O-W. And of course, me being me, I passed the down time with two things. Food, and exercise. Oh and Dr. Phil, ok three things.
I used to politely nod to women who would stop me as Dylan and I were in the grocery store, me sweating and cursing while trying to grab bananas as Dylan wailed loudly while trying to climb out of the cart. “Enjoy this time dear, long days and short years.” Um thanks lady, can you toss me that bag of grapes.
But I loved it. Then life got messy and complicated and as a result,Dylan has grown up with a mom whom, for a majority of his childhood, had anorexia. It has had an impact on him and our relationship. But today, his graduation day, instead of wallowing in the “I wish I would have’s” and the, “was I enough’s, “I will celebrate the amazing kid he is and man he is becoming, and consider the possibility that the best I could was good enough. And I’m not done yet.