Did I Win?

I hated myself Monday morning. I usually do after battling for days emotionally with my husband; and finding myself put in a position where I have to relinquish control once again. I can’t deny the joy I also felt though. My son is coming home to me and I’m trying to tell myself that’s all that matters. Still, that gnawing feeling that I caved again wouldn’t go away, and I let it get to me the past couple of days wondering if I will ever be strong enough to battle the dragon and win. In this case it meant putting my principles ahead of my sons happiness and freedom and that was something I couldn’t force myself to do. Maybe one of these days I’ll be that selfish. I doubt it. 

In our marriage, I’m the talker. I know that will come as no surprise to any of you who read my blog. I’m the one who always wants to sit down and discuss, compromise and resolve. My husband is the one who avoids these discussions at all cost. Things changed after that last heated argument. I made it clear where I stood and had nothing left to say for nearly a week. It never occurred to me before that perhaps my talking reassures him and lets him know where I stand, and that without my addressing the issues he might not have no idea where that is. I figured that out as he kept finding reasons to interact with me this past weekend; finding excuses to initiate conversation. I finally just told him that I was entitled to one damn room in this house for privacy, and he wasn’t welcome in it. I told him I wanted nothing from him, not even my share in this house, and my full intention was just to get the hell out of here as quickly and painlessly as I could with my things, and he could have the rest. I thought this more than generous on my part, and told him so. We have eleven months left to pay on our acreage–you heard me right, eleven months–and it will be ours outright. My half, I am more than entitled to, I was willing to walk away from. It really seemed at that point as if peace was a might more desirable then any amount of money I could fight for.

Apparently, this little tidbit of information sent off distress signals in his head, because he became relentless in his pursuit to make me happy and appease me. Were it not for the fact that he talked me into going to see my son Sunday, and knowing that my boy deserved an explanation face to face for the disappointment I know I’ve caused him, I wouldn’t have went and probably would’ve been able to hang tough. I knew what the Old Man was up to. As was, once I saw my sons smiling face, held him close to me, and then learned that if he were to go to a halfway house it might mean a delay in his being released for up to six months as they’re trying to place him, I found I couldn’t do it. My husband won again: He gave, took, and offered it back to me like he always does, in his time, his way, and at my expense. I would have to continue remaining trapped, playing the game, and forego my freedom, to make sure my son got his. ‘Fair’ is not a word in a mother’s vocabulary.

My boy, is a good boy that made mistakes, has now paid his dues, and deserves a second chance. I know my husband sees him as a grown man, currently incarcerated, and the eldest son of his wife, but to me he’s still my baby. I know the correctional facility sees him as just another adult offender, another number to be processed, housed, and disciplined till he’s released, but to me he’s still my baby. I think maybe my husband and the correctional officer in charge of the visitation room learned a bit more about him as a person because of this last visit. At 5’10, a 195 pounds, and broad in shoulder, they witnessed him as the child of someone who loves him without limits, as we stood in a room full of people and he held his mother as she cried. I believe the worth of a man is measured by the love he’s given, and not by what he’s accomplished or hasn’t. You simply can’t ‘buy’ the love or respect of another. I know as we were leaving and the officer was escorting us out the door, he turned to me and said, “I know he’s a good guy. He follows the rules, never gives anyone any trouble, and he’s always polite. I can tell he was raised right.”

I know he didn’t have to bother, but these words were gold to me. I was brimming with pride–in a place I can attest that is hard for a mother to feel such emotions at times–at the thought that my sons actions broke through the barrier between officer and inmate, and spoke for themselves. I can only hope my husband knows how fortunate he is to be a part of my family and in the presence of so much love, and realizes that this is something that can’t be bought, bargained for, or controlled, but is given freely to another. We have enough love for him too. ‘We’ have always had. He just has to be willing to receive it. 

I can’t express the joy I feel at knowing my boy is going to be home with me, if but for a short while. He left home at 17 to go stay with his father, and other than a few, brief stays since, has remained out on his own. I’m as anxious as a mother whose child has been away at summer camp. I know he’s 27, no longer a child, but the thought of having him under my roof again, doing his laundry and cooking for him, just tickles me to death. We share a passion for knowledge and have always had these complicated discussions concerning history, psychology, etc..; and though he’s much more intelligent than I am concerning these subjects, it’s refreshing to have someone close to my intellectual equal to talk with these things about. Sorry, but my husband’s discussions about fishing, hunting, blah, blah, blah…just doesn’t stimulate me. I envision a lot less lonely evenings with his being here.

I miss being a fulltime mother and wish all my children would come back home. I never realized how complete they made my life till they were grown and gone. I know it’s just wishful thinking at this point. My beautiful daughter has a life of her own and two children. I’m very proud of the fact that at 24 she’s carved out a life for herself, has managed to work and care for these two children, and has just recently gotten her CNA and is looking to further it with an LPN. She’s such a good girl. Likewise, my youngest is gone, and although he’s not making the choices I’d wish for his life, is trying to pave his own way. I know the days of preparing meals for all of them, separating piles of folded clothes, and sitting around the dinner table with them while they painted or created clay sculptures is gone. You never realize how quickly these moments will pass until they are a distant memory.

So although I had to give in to my husband yet again, I’m trying to look at it as a win on my end. As long as the outcome I was looking for was achieved, it shouldn’t really matter how I got it, should it?