There is a secret I have been carrying in my heart for quite some time now. A secret that needs to be revealed into the light so that it can stop haunting me and I can make the changes that are necessary.
There at times at night, very late at night, where I cry my eyes out and cry out to God to help me with this. I feel so ashamed, alone and powerless.
If you follow me on any kind of social media, and if you are reading this, then you probably do, you may or may have not noticed that there isn’t a lot of posts about my son.
My son who I love more than anything in this world, but who I cannot seem to help.
My son is fifteen years old. He goes to Cibola High School. He plays basketball and the trumpet. He misses a lot of school. He is in the gifted program, however his grades don’t reflect his potential. He is depressed, angry, and oh so different. Different or should I say unique? His sense of humor is rather dark and he isn’t the most open or sociable person around. He would rather stay in his room and play his video games than do his homework- then again what kid doesn’t these days, right?
My son’s name is Kevin. Kevin has very high expectations for himself and for life in general; a sense of perfectionism that prevents him from taking risks and enjoying the messy life that is his. He tends to shoot himself down- constantly criticizing himself. I’ve heard him call himself “a loser”, “a nobody.” All because he couldn’t make every shot during a basketball game. All because he doesn’t seem to fit in with the popular crowd.
What you all don’t know about Kevin is that he is sensitive and loving, affectionate and caring.
In middle school, that hell of a bridge we all have to cross, was a miserable time for him. His parents divorced. Going back and forth from home to home. Mom too busy to notice or too scared to admit the issues he was facing. Teachers were constantly emailing about his horrible behavior. Conferences being held to “come up with solutions” to his misbehavior. Phrases like BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan) and ED classes (Emotionally Disturbed) were being thrown out- immediately I withdrew him and enrolled him to a different school. Only to go through it all again. All the meetings were nothing but a ranting circle to confirm what he already believed about himself- nobody cares about me. I am just a loser.
Then jokes about suicide start.
I remember driving him to the evaluation specialist at APS for at risk children. The counselor at his school was concerned about him harming himself and so the protocol was for me to drive him to the center for evaluation. He was sent home that day. What does a mother say to a son after that? I tried. I gave my love- but it never seems enough.
My secret? I don’t know what to do. I am a failure as his mother, because I don’t know what else to do! I have taken him to a psychiatrist, a therapist, tried to shove pills down his throat, threatened to enroll him in boys home, or some kind of military camp to help him “snap out of it.”
My other secret? I am ashamed and embarrassed that he is going through this. I teach a group of sixth graders who are gifted and seem happy and well adjusted. I sometimes wish in my heart that Kevin could be like the kids I teach. I know- how awful of me to think that. Well, I use to think that.
Kevin now lives with his dad full time. It’s just more convenient.
I miss him dearly. I know I am missing out on a big chunk of his childhood, and most importantly the last part of it. It pains me knowing I am missing so much.
When I married Dan, I fantasized that we would all become one big happy family. I suppose that was my second mistake.
You see, to think that we are suppose to be happy all the time is not only unrealistic, but foolish. To think that Kevin would immediately adjust to a new family, and a new school over night, or a week, was just plain dumb.
I fully admit to you tonight, that I am more than grateful that God chose Kevin to be my son. Having Kevin in my life has not only taught me valuable lessons like humility, patience and unconditional love, Kevin has brought truth and reality to my life. You see, I have realized through Kevin that our world truly is divided. It doesn’t matter how much we preach about acceptance and forgiveness and kindness- we are so far from all of that.
There isn’t a lot of people who accept Kevin. They find him awkward. They find him dark. They find him “weird.” I have read the posts on his Instagram account. I have tried to instill in him self-love, self-acceptance, and to not care what others say or think about him. We all know that for a child, the acceptance of friends and family is gold- is life.
Yes, all I have ever wanted for him was to be accepted. To be loved by others- and that is my fatal mistake.
I know deep down that my son is different. I know that I accept him for who he truly is. My fight now is to teach him how to love himself- the same way I have learned to love myself despite the criticisms and rejections of others.
It is sad that our world is so divided- so hateful- so smug. Until we can see these qualities in ourselves, and change it in our hearts and souls, it will remain.