I love you, AND I love me.
That was my thought as I sat on my front porch. My feet were propped up on a footstool, a glass of chilled chardonnay sweating on the table next to me. My secret oasis, hidden from view by blooming camellias, fragrant rose bushes, and shaded by a mature maple tree, giving me privacy while allowing me a perfect view of the happenings on the street down below. I picked up my glass and took a sip; the cool liquid flowed through my body, allowing my shoulder muscles to loosen and my thoughts to slow down as I began to find comfort in the lack of noise.
I had forgotten what silence sounded like.
I had been in a war, fighting battle after battle. Constantly wary of where to step for fear one wrong move would cause an explosion.
Every day for the past year, had included some altercation with my son while each evening seemed to end with silent tension after arguments with my husband. But as I sat there in the quiet safety of my front porch, I realized the biggest fight I had waged was with myself.
For too long, I allowed myself to feel scared in my own home. The unpredictability of D's behavior made me feel, at times, like I was physically in danger. My husband's tendency to minimize D's behavior while suggesting my actions "caused" the outburst made me feel emotionally attacked and alone. Every day my body braced for another fight, my shoulders constantly tense, and my stomach clenched in wary anticipation. I knew I was living in an unhealthy situation. It was clear that D needed more help than I could provide for him. I understood that Marc was suffering too and that he and I were worlds apart on how to manage our family. I was living a life that was unsustainable for even the healthiest person, let alone someone trying desperately to recover from a life-threatening eating disorder.
"If you send him to treatment, he may resent you for a long time, "my therapist Kirsten said to me repeatedly when I expressed my desire to send D away for help.
"I don't think you need to go to that extreme yet," D's therapist said when I asked his opinion of treatment programs and begged for his help in finding one.
"I won't send him away," my husband said to me at the end of every one of our arguments, walking away to signal the discussion was over.
Yes, the discussion was over.
As I sat in the warmth and safety of my front porch, I felt immense sadness at the prospect that what I had just done might ruin my relationship with D, possible forever. I was scared that pushing my decision on Marc might cause me to lose my marriage. But most of all, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm reassurance that I had done the right thing for all of us.
Because I love them, AND I love me.