Month: May 2015
We lived in a tiny ranch style house, and I searched it very quickly – Dylan was nowhere to be found. I screamed something at my mom and threw the phone across the room. I looked out the windows – no Dylan. I was in an absolute panic when I saw a tiny red-headed dot in the distance – across the alley way and well past the neighbor’s house. I raced outside, screaming.
“DYLAN!” I screeched, running hysterically to catch him. “DYLAN!”
He turned around and looked at me, as I raced hysterically across the neighbor’s yard. Dylan had put on his black leather jacket over his pajamas – upside down. He was barefoot and carrying a large load of pastel sidewalk chalk.
I scooped him up and headed for home. “What were you doing?” I asked, trying to control my hysteria.
“I wanted to color,” he said.
“You need Mommy to go with you if you leave, okay?” I pleaded. “And you need to stay in our yard. Why didn’t you draw on our sidewalk?”
“There were too many leaves,” he said. Indeed, it was autumn – and our sidewalk was completely covered in leaves. Dylan had wandered off searching for a sidewalk to color.
Before my heart had even stopped racing, I took a picture of him, upside-down coat and all. I knew this day was going to stick with me – and I was immeasurably glad to have him home safely.
Twelve years passed.
During those years, Dylan hid from me in clothing racks. He ate cookies he had been forbidden to eat. He was reprimanded countless times in school for rambunctious behavior. He went for long walks with his cell phone, not bothering to answer my texts or phone calls. And he kicked a kid in the groin and got suspended.
He’s actually a good kid. I know he’s a good kid. He’s just trying to do his own thing – same as always – just like when he was a kid with an armload of sidewalk chalk.
I try desperately to believe he’ll do the right thing. His heart has always been in the right place. He’s doing so much right – and trying so hard – that typical teenage behavior feels deeper, somehow, and more painful than it should feel.
Maybe it’s me – my past catching up with me, the issues with which I need to deal, slapping me in the face.
For now, I’m concentrating on today only – and I’m glad he’s safe, and healthy. And hopefully, soon, he will also be happy.
Dylan was doing pretty well, all things considered. He wasn’t getting in trouble at school (except for that minor suspension). He was pulling his grades out of the gutter (except that he kept forgetting to turn in his Spanish homework) and he was acting responsibily at home – so much so, in fact, that we had started to depend on him for important things.
And he was coming through. He was doing all the right stuff.
So Dylan was only a few days away from getting his electronics privileges back… when I discovered that he’d been using electronics for the entire two weeks of electronics prohibition. He’s been sneaking onto his iPad at night, whenever he assumed we wouldn’t find out – and he’s been getting away with it.
It’s an interesting thing, discovering that I’ve been duped by the love of my life.
For example, it immediately and without discrepancy brings back all the times in my past that I’ve been duped. All the liars who have betrayed me… My best friend in 9th grade who had sex with my boyfriend. The guy I adored in 11th grade who cheated on me. The pathological liar with whom I lived in my early 20’s – and who taught me that nearly everything can be a lie. Or the woman who called herself my friend, who maliciously spat upon me, ending nearly 30 years of a perceived “deep” friendship – for absolutely no reason.
All of those earlier pains come swimming to the surface, somehow setting the groundwork for this fatal kick in the gut.
But this is not my past, haunting me with its betrayals. This liar is my son.
This liar is the son I adored from the moment he appeared on this earth. He’s the baby I fed from my own breasts, who toddled down the hall as fast as he could, just to dive into my arms. He’s the giggling preschooler who came running out to greet me, waving fingerpaintings and crafts made out of popsicle sticks. He’s the angel who absolutely shreds my heart every, single time he opens his mouth to sing – even when he’s just goofing around in the kitchen.
And now that child lies to me. He hides from me. He breaks the rules, defies me. He knows right from wrong, yet chooses wrong.
I physically removed all of the electronics from his room. He won’t have any online access, even a cell phone, until the end of the school year. And even then, his grades have to improve tremendously if he wants to get them back. And if he’s caught using any device before then, he will lose them all for the rest of the summer. And he’s grounded indefinitely.
Because Dylan can no longer be trusted.