On the 4th of July it will be exactly one year since my 19-year old son moved out of our home in anger over an argument I had with his now former girlfriend about something so insignificant that I won’t even take the time to explain the details, except to say that she had accused me of something I hadn’t done and I asked her to leave my house.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that our family fireworks occurred on Independence Day. It was the beginning of my son’s venture into adulthood.
When he left, I felt in my heart that it would be quite some time before I would see him again. If there was going to a battle for affection and allegiance between myself and his sweetheart,
I knew I didn’t stand a chance. In fact, I might have been concerned about his mental state if he had sided with me.
My son and I have certainly had our share of ups and downs over the years , and due to a divorce and a joint custody agreement with his father when he was 2 years old, I often went months at a time without seeing him. But when we were together, we generally got along well.
In fact, I always thought the two of us had a special, spiritual connection. I can remember a moment when he was about 3 years old. We were getting ready to leave a playground and I stopped to look at him through my car’s rearview mirror as he was sitting in the back seat. We just looked into each other’s eyes for several minutes. I could sense the closeness between us.
Over the years as my son was growing up, we were often able to read each other’s mind. We seemed to know exactly what the other person was going to say before either one of us ever uttered a word.
The bond between us has made this past year especially painful and disconcerting. It’s been difficult not to blame myself for our estrangement. If only I’d handled his girfriend’s accusations differently, maybe my son would still be in my life.
When I think about sharing my situation with others, I fear the unanimous reaction will be: What had I done that could make him so angry? In other words, what exactly did I do to deserve the silent treatment?
One of the things I have learned over the years is that my expectations in a given situation can bring me an enormous amount of sadness and confusion.
I have thoughts such as, When you have children, they are supposed to love you forever and never decide to stop speaking to you, because that would be wrong. So how does one justify such rejection? And is it really rejecton anyway? Or is my son’s decision not to speak to me merely his need to grow and become an adult, and it may in fact have little if anything to do with me personally?
I know I didn’t handle the fateful argument with my son to the best of my ability. It certainly wasn’t my higher self running the show that day. No, it was my ego. My big, fat ego. I still love my son very much and I realize now that his refusal to communicate with me is something that, for whatever reason, he needs to do for himself. He may have reasons that I’m not even aware of, even if it simply boils down to a power struggle or a need to spread his wings without what he may interpret as interference from his mother.
My higher, spiritual self realizes that my son needs to do his own thing and I need to do mine. If we are supposed to reunite at some point we will, not because I want it but because we both desire it for greater growth of our individual selves.
A couple of weeks ago I came home unexpectedly and saw my daughter standing outside talking to my son, who had stopped by to visit his sister, assuming I was not home. Without any hesitation, I walked outside to greet him. My knees were shaking and my voice was trembling. He said hello and cooly asked me how I was doing. We talked for only a few minutes and then he turned away and returned to his conversation with my daughter.
Later on that night when I returned home from work, my daughter told me that my son had called to say he felt bad for acting rude toward me. Could that be the light at the end of the tunnel I have been hoping for? Perhaps, but in the meantime I believe there are two things I must continue to do simultaneously: Let go and let him know that I love him. I’m confident that the universe, in all its wisdom, will take care of the rest.