As a parent, there are some moments when you just look at your child and ask, "when, or where has the time gone?"
Such was the case tonight at DARE graduation. My little guy walked into the gym with his partner, the girl I want him to marry, and all of them looked so grown up.
The girls were tall and the boys not so goofy and they all seemed so grown up. Where had the time gone?
Walker seemed especially grown up to me. Calm and composed. All of the kids seemed calm and composed.
They called his name and he read his essay.
The last part of the essay went like this, " Somebody I know taught me how to make safe, responsible choices. Drugs and alcohol ruin people's lives, not only theirs, but the people around them too. They ruined mine. I would walk into his room with his breakfast and the bed wasn't made, the window was open and he was gone. When I had a big game or a wrestling match and he was my coach and of course he wasn't there. I would get in the car with him and of course he would light up a cigarrette. Every night in my house people were yelling and I would walk into my room and there were holes in the wall. He also got kicked from college and it took him a year to get back in. He had a crushed life. Now it is good but that doesn't mean not to always make safe responsible choices."
And there it was. Walker's assessment.
I have read it over and over and over tonight.
"They ruined mine." Those three words that mean heartbreak and confusion and disappointment and hurt, all because you loved someone. And that someone loved pot and beer and xanax more than you or your love.
As Walker spoke, with composure, he seemed wiser and older. And he was. He and his sister have seen, heard, touched and witnessed some horrible things. And drugs were always the reason.
This blog and the guest speaker tonight are about learning from another's choices. Walker did tell us that he was "afraid he used the button to write his essay."
The "button" and his choices are what it has always been about. Substance abuse does not care about where you live, what you do for a living or how much money you make. Substance abuse cannot see, it can only feel. If we could help another family, it was worth the pain.
And Walker's words, "When I had a big game or a wrestling match and he was my coach, of course he wasn't there," I wish I could read that to every person who is suffering. For every time my son crawled out the window to be with his pot and his friends, they NEVER loved or cared about him, the way this 10 year old does.
A ten year old who knew his brother "had a crushed life" and he never saw any of those friends come by to help his brother rebuild it, go to visit the button in summer camp, write him or even ask about him. When your life is "crushed" the only people that are around are the ones that you hurt the most, not the party people. Only the ones you hurt the most.
As a mom, who is 52 and doesn't get the hell we have been through, I have wondered ever day what and how my two little ones feel. Tonight, while one read and the other cried, I got a glimpse.
I only wish that all the other kids who have partied like rock stars with one of my son's, could have listened to the other side of a substance abuse from the other.
Tonight, when I put my "grown up" ten year old to bed, he asked, "can you lay with me?"
I have never jumped into bed that fast with a male before in my life.
And he cuddled and we talked. And I told him how proud I was of him. Not just because of DARE but for the man he was turning into.
As I walked out of the room, he said, "thanks for laying with me." Sigh. I will always remember tonight.
If you know anybody who has a sibling that is going through this, please share this blog. They are not alone. And it isn't easy to tell others, when you are young, how or why you have the feelings you do. It is okay to have them. It is okay to learn from them. And still love them, despite poor choices, and still be mad, because of poor choices.