Summer break has returned and the dread started to fill me in the weeks leading up to it. I love hanging with the kids and doing fun things. It’s just that this past year has been extremely difficult and everything started right as summer break began last year. It was so bad, my mom had to take an emergency leave from work and come to my house to help out.
At the time, I was already signed on to train for a half marathon for 12 weeks. I wanted to run it and I wanted to train for it in the best way possible. Training was to start in about 6 weeks. I suddenly had no time to run and was booking appointments for my teen to seek intense mental health care in addition to care for her Crohn’s that had been diagnosed in the previous months. We were looking at a very unhappy person and we were doing our best to help her despite the things she said to us that were unkind and did to us that were vengeful. We had a few good days and bad ones, too. We were interviewed and investigated regarding accusations made. I started hiding and smoking cigarettes after years of not being a smoker. My husband suspected it and asked that I stop wasting money on it and that I remember I had signed up to run 13 miles. I couldn’t exactly argue with it because he wasn’t asking for something unreasonable and it was from a place of concern.
Those first couple of weeks running were rough. I felt like I was slow and never quite catching my breath. I was stressed out and didn’t want to actually talk about things going on in my life. I spent a lot of time listening and asking questions that were about running. I was making friends and I was spending time away from the troubles at home. I finally stopped feeling anxious before every group run and I started wanting to go so I could clear my head and talk to my new found friends.
By the time we’d run the half, I finally knew people in my town. I’d lived here 3 and a half years and it was the first time I felt like I belonged and I wasn’t all alone in a strange place. I even ran into people I knew while I was out and about. I knew people on the trip to Hawaii because they were my running buddies.
Oh, the trip to Hawaii. The last time I remember things being a little normal and more pleasant. That was, until we returned home and things started to heat up with the teen. By November, I was on the phone with my bestie driving to the emergency room because I was working out when the ambulance arrived at my house and my husband had tried to call me with no luck.
Things started to look normal with a few medication changes for her. I stayed involved in running by mentoring groups. The past couple of weeks, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I was just anticipating doom. Despite running, my anxiety had been lurking.
The first night after school was over for the teen was hell. The first day was no better. She thinks that being a stay at home mom has no merit and often likes to bring that up when she’s feeling bad. I don’t put much weight on it considering the source, but I am curious as to why this seems to be a topic that she comes back to often. I choose to stay at home and my husband and I are good with it. She also says that she would like to be an emancipated minor. She said that I’m the reason she hurts herself. Despite the hatred from her, I can offer my tough love. These are empty attempts at manipulation. I could be upset or disappointed, and I am. I can only repeat to her that personal choices are not made outside of oneself and that accountability must be taken for one’s own actions eventually. She is sick and I can empathize, but I can also draw a line as to how I will allow myself to be treated and stand my ground when I must. While some people would be quick to judgement, they haven’t been where I have or lived what I have and I don’t welcome it. Parenting is a challenge and the decisions parents make are deeply personal.
I have my own training approaching soon. I have mentoring. I have two other kids that I need to care for and show how to conduct themselves while trying to help the teen through this. This is a tough place to be in at home and I thank God that I have a husband who supports me and encourages me to take some time for myself to refocus. I am also grateful for the mental strength I have gained through disciplining myself for the long runs. Without it, I don’t know how I would have made it through the last year or how I could conquer the years to come.
I am strong. I am loved. I am capable of so much I have yet to discover. *
*This goes for you too! Say it. Aloud.