Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Grown up choices

So I'm still here. Still have three dead babies and two living boys (who are TEN and FIVE now!). And I'm feeling like maybe I want to write again. Aren't you thrilled?  I have all these things I need therapy for want to say...and my husband and my facebook friends are tired of hearing them. I'm not sure when/where the mood to write might take me. I've never been good at putting any sort of structure to this thing. So...yeah...anyway...
Sam has always chosen his own clothes to wear to long as the clothes are clean and neat.

During that first year of school when we were adjusting to the new roles life had imposed upon us, and trying to navigate the insanity of elementary school rules, I remember the kindergarten teacher saying, "Samuel is making some poor choices in who to imitate in class." Aside from the obvious I-really-don't-want-my-kid-IMITATING-anyone thought that ran through my head, in that moment there opened up an entire world of letting go. My kid was going to make choices...on...his...own.

In the first grade there was the book fair. Where I gave him $20 and he bought pencils and a bookmark...but no actual books. We talked about choices then. But the truth of the matter is that the rule became, "you can choose from the BOOKS." There was still some limitation...some structure imposed by me.

A week ago, Sam was feeling that horrible fifth-grade pressure to get all the homework done the other night and I said, "Life's about choices. If you feel like you want to make the choice to turn in the homework late and take a lower grade, then that is on you. Nobody will die. We will still have food to eat and a house to live in. Just so you know the consequences and you don't try to explain it away as anything other than your choice."
A little over a year ago, 2/27/12, something awful happened in my hometown. A young man took a gun to my high school alma mater and shot up the cafeteria full of students, killing three and wounding three. He pled guilty on the last possible day the prosecutor was to hold the option open.

Yesterday, the young man responsible was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences in prison (plus some for the non-lethal injuries/attempted murders). His behavior at sentencing is the stuff of TMZ or Dateline. I won't say his name here or describe his behavior because I refuse to perpetuate his fifteen minutes of fame. He is not worth it. But it got me to thinking about this obviously broken. By what? That will be the subject of professional analysis for years to come, I'm sure.
I feel like the process of letting go has really ramped up here during this school year. And I don't mind telling you that I'm terrified unprepared. Everyone has all the answers when it comes to the boy who killed. It was the parents...the grandparents...the lack of God...the friends...mental illness...pure evil. I am not so sure. I no longer believe that life hands you one singular thing that will determine who you will be. Even in the darkest times, you have choices. They may not be the choices you want...but if you search hard enough you will see the options and make the choices that will get you through (one way or another).

And so I wonder...if I told my son the right thing about the book fair...what clothes to wear...or his ability to choose to not do his homework.
Why am I nervous to hit "publish?"