The Beach Towel is a little worn from time and use, but still durable, pretty and fluffy. It's been great for the fun vacations, picnics, early afternoons at the local pool, for wrapping it's figurative arms around two young kids to warm them up, and for drying off the dog when wet.
It picked up a few stains along the way - spots from wiping bloody noses or small cuts. The many tears it wiped away from falls by the household kids left no such spots but the towel remembers them.
At times it's been used as a bathroom mat, for there was nothing else for them to stand on when the floor was cold, and their small feet - their very foundation - were bare and unprotected. It never liked this very much but tolerated it.
The Beach Towel became particularly tired a week ago. The oldest kid who grew up into a six foot, 165 pound young adult, did what felt like a rain dance on it for three very intense days. She was left quite soggy, but began to wonder if the water came from her own tears or tears he was hiding. It was a mystery because he showed no outward signs of crying.
The only way to dry her was to wring out the water, less mildew attack and begin to rot her from the inside. Everyone knows that mildew is one of the greatest enemies of beach towels everywhere. To succumb to it beyond a certain point is to risk emotional and even physical death, so she squeezed and squeezed out her feelings into words, which were her tears.
It was a painful process, but she, and many other beach towels she'd known had been through it before, so she knew it was necessary to survive.
Afterwards, she didn't feel so fluffy, and everyone knows that fluffy for a beach towel is happiness.
She did the next best thing she knew to do, which was take a warm bubble bath followed by a nice tumble in the dryer. She had two trusted bubble bath products to call, and allowed both of them to scrub away her mildew-like pain, and a trusted, book-like dryer to warm her up with His everlasting compassion.
Refreshed again, she told the Rain Dancer no more.
This is when she learned he thought he had outgrown tears, but in fact, his emotionally and verbally stomping her was just another manifestation of them, and part of why she had become drenched.
The water of pain that she had wrung out were his tears too.
At Least He Had A Reason
The above is a metaphor I made up that can be used to describe many family and close relationships. Although I blog a lot about events that affect me personally, my signature mark is to include something that readers can apply to their own lives.
The Beach Towel Metaphor is another way of describing in my past two posts and this one what I've gone through recently. My son, Xavier, relapsed into alcohol abuse on Thanksgiving and acted like he had lost his damn mind over that weekend.
I thought he was lying when he finally told me his girlfriend thought she was pregnant, and this was the "reason" he relapsed. For him, it triggered bad memories and new fears. His previous girl of 2008 whom he'd hoped to marry, but out of the blue dumped him, terminated her pregnancy presumably by him, returned to her baby's father who'd just been released from jail. It was horrible for him but also for me watching that wreck in action.
Thus, when his new girlfriend since the summer - I'll call her CeeCee - said she thought she was pregnant, he flipped out and took out his stress on me, the figurative Beach Towel.
He could have just cried and I'd have wiped away his tears, but his young adult male pride would not allow him to do this. It is unfortunate that so many men are more afraid to cry than to go into battle, but this is how Mother Nature designed them for the most part, and how every culture reinforces this.
However, between my adamant message of no more, and her message of, I love you and I'm keeping it, he is back into sobriety, taking his medication, and actively looking for work again to save up for their own place.
CeeCee turns 18 this spring and graduates high school in June. If she doesn't change the script, next year he will become a young married Beach Towel for his new family.
If I laugh at their wedding if they really go through with it, which I know he would in a heartbeat, you'll know why.
I'll help where I can, but my job parenting this once neglected three year old foster child with fuzzy red hair from malnutrition that later turned naturally black from my good home cooking, and seeing him through many tough times until he turned 21, will be done.
I can't honestly say I'd have chosen all those problems had I known what was ahead, but this is true of every parent. You get what you get. You make a commitment and you seal it with love, then pray for strength and the best.
Like other young families, Xavier and CeeCee have many challenges ahead. I think he has learned by example how to be a good Beach Towel.
If not, may God help them, as He did me.