Thursday, August 6, 2009

WheEEee!!! And Away We GoOOoooOOoo!

picture from

Wally leaves for Georgia in twenty-four days, his date was bumped up by six weeks, so I gulped when he told me. I've known he was leaving home to join the military for almost a year but think the date being pushed from July to October put off the inevitable: he was leaving home to learn how to fight in a war. A stupid war, I believe we can't win. I have tried to live as an example of fighting for what you believe and walking your talk. Where I failed with my kids is not teaching them to walk my talk. (I'm joking a little) I'm proud of him; proud he wants to serve his country but I wish it were in a less dangerous capacity. I made the mistake of seeing this film. Not the best choice in movie entertainment a few weeks before your eldest son leaves for the army. But I'm glad I saw it because it confirms what I have believed for years: we are the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Knowing how strongly I feel about this, a few of my friends have asked me: "How can you let him do this?" How can I not. Number one, he's an adult. What am I going to do? Lock him in his room?

All in all I had good parents. They had their issues--who the hell doesn't--but they did a lousy job at supporting our choices and their lack of support led me to make even more horrible choices (case in point: my first first marriage). If they had not shunned me but tried to understand who I was and what I wanted in my life; things would have been so much easier for me. Namely, no first marriage. Luckily, their mistakes with me and my sister have taught me to step back and allow my children to be individuals.

The other reason I'm glad I saw The Hurt Locker is I realized my son, like me, is driven by adrenaline. Watching the specialists deactivate bombs and assess who was "friendly" and who wasn't was exhilarating. As much as I bitch about how busy my job is...the expectations are unrealistic...blah blah whine blah... if I'm not dealing with some sort of rapidly changing situation I have a tendency to get bored. I noticed this on Saturday when we had a "normal" day. No admissions, no discharges, no "events". By three o'clock I was reveling in the way it felt to be completely frustration free. By four I was bored. When I was a young nurse, just a few years older than my son, I was an adrenaline junkie. It wasn't a good shift unless I was taking care of the sickest baby in the unit or going to the high risk deliveries. Sick, eh? People ask me why don't I work someplace less dynamic and less stressful, like telephonic case management or wellness counseling or--my favorite "kill me now" job--a doctor's office. No thanks, I would rather put a sharp object in my eye. Eureka! Despite our differing politics, the apple didn't fall too far from the tree. I can at least warn him that adrenaline junkies burn out, sometimes in a flaming spectacle of life changing PTSD.

The Beav was born on the 49th anniversary of Hiroshima and by the 52nd, my life felt like a bomb had hit it. Oh. My. God. The boy was a handful. Because I didn't give him to the gypsies when he was three, I've been gifted with a delightfully even tempered teenager. As I type, Mr. Busy is on his way to the DMV to get his permit. Looks like this fall and winter, I will be revisiting Adventures In Driving. (there's an adrenaline ride if there ever was one!) It was on Beav's sixth birthday when his brother told him about Hiroshima and how we were going to name him Enola Gray. Of course, this brought on a chorus of tattling: "Mom, Wally's teasin' me!" Luckily, the teasing has stopped. I can't say I miss it, either. Now Mr. Busy keeps himself occupied by upgrading his computer on his own and jumping off walls. His methods for adrenaline rush.

I am amazed how much Wally has matured in the last seven months he has lived with his father. The other day we were in the kitchen and out of the corner of my eye, I saw Wally wave his hand quickly towards Beav's head (like he was going to knock off his cap). My conditioned reflex was to drop my voice a register and bark in my finally honed K-Mart mom voice: "Leave your brother alone!!" I got as far as a barked: "Leave--" when they burst out laughing," Gawhd mom, he was brushing away a fly! We don't pick on each other anymore!" Too bad they were laughing too much to hear my explanation that a fourteen year habit is hard to break.

Sometimes parents forget to grow along with their children. I think this is another way my parents failed. My father still thinks I'm twelve. He is in a complete f**kin'' uproar over the the health care bill because Obama is gonna take away his medicine and urge him to just die already. I've tried to explain Palliative Care and how it figures in to the new health care plan; how it doesn't mean he won't be eligible for medicines due to his advanced age. Years ago, when my mother was having open heart surgery and I was able to explain the indication for each gizmo attached to her and every med going into her body, he was stunned I knew so much. It makes me insane when he asks me a question and then doubts my response. I think the next time he asks me a question, I'm going to make up the answer just to see if he fact checks it! But what joy he will experience when he gets to correct me. What affirmation he will feel that I am still an ignorant child!

It looks like my next touchstone in parenting is remembering my boys are growing up and have the capacity to manage (gulp) deadly weapons. That would be the Really Big Rifle and Really Powerful Side Arm in Wally's care and my truck under the direction of the Beav.

This makes me nervous.

Beav's goal in video driving games is to run over buildings and pedestrians until it all ends in a fiery crash.

Wally's goal in Halo is to stay alive.

I think I'm more worried about Beav and the truck.

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