Wednesday, 14 May 2014
My son came over last night after I got home from work to help me take the winter tires off my car. In truth I helped him as he did most of the heavy work. What surprised me was how patient he was with me and with the whole process. He let me help, let me unscrew the lug nuts, let me take the tire off and even watched as I attempted to put the other tires on. I wasn't strong enough to hold up the tire and get it on the bolts, but I tried and he patiently waited as I tried.
I am not a patient person at all, so it surprises to me find out that my son is patient, at least with me. He turned thirty last month and has his life back thankfully. For almost ten years his life slipped away into drugs, dealing and prison. I kicked him out of my home more than once. I hoped and prayed that he would turn his life around and he did. He has one year of school left and then he will have his Bachelor of Business degree. He lives with a lovely young woman who starts grad school in the fall to become a Speech Therapist.
He could have so easily been killed. For years I would listen to the news and when a young man his age was killed or shot, I would stop and pray that it wasn't him. When he went to prison, I visited him. When he got out I let him move back home, all the while waiting for him to grow up, to stop being stupid, to become the man I knew he could be.
When my son was sixteen, a year before his life went off the rails, I was home alone with the kids. It was a hot spring evening and I had put Katie to bed early like I always did. I was usually worn out by seven and so was she. Katie is a painter, by that I mean Katie likes to paint with poop. That evening I could hear her in her bedroom and then I could smell her. I went upstairs to change her but when I opened the door I found her covered in shit, from head to toe. Her bed was covered in shit, the walls, the carpet and the door. I looked at her and burst into tears. My son heard me and came upstairs. Without saying a work he took Katie by the hand and led her into the bathroom where he bathed her, washing the shit out of her hair and off of her body. She would have been eight at the time. I cleaned the rest of her room and a week later we took the carpet out of her bedroom and installed laminate, much easier to clean shit off of.
The memory of that night, of my son taking care of his sister, helping his mother, dealing with shit stayed with me all those years he was gone. I knew, I hoped, that one day he would be that young man again.
Last night after we changed the tires he asked what I was doing for supper. I told him just barbecuing some meat. He asked if I would mind if he got a steak and joined me. I didn't mind at all. It was nice to have his company, to spend time with him. He's my son, my baby but he's not. He's a man with his own life and now it's him helping me. How strange.