Have you ever been right, and everyone knew you were right, but still, something wasn't quite right?
Like, you're stuck in the snow, and you spin your wheels, they don't do a thing to free you, so you roll up your sleeves, get out the shovel and sand, and finally, movement.
What about the snow's perspective?
"Hey, I don't really want to be stuck to you. It just happened, and I'm just being me," Snow says. "So ain't I right, too?"
"But I'm entrapped," I say. "And you're so cold in a blizzard that it endangers my survival."
"Yeah," he agrees, "but I'm fun and playful and make you laugh. You know this, and you also know I get too deep and cold sometimes, which makes me unbearable to you. This is how God made me and you know this. Because of this, you ain't one hundred percent right."
I hold my head down in shame; what Snow says is true. We have a love-hate relationship.
"I have to move on, Snow. I'm sorry. If I stay, I will freeze to death. Where I'm going, it's warm, and if you follow me, you will melt."
"You want me to die? I'll die if you want me to, you know I will. A piece of me dies every time you misunderstand my coldness and reject me, and you turn up the heat with your anger."
"I know," I say sadly. "But no, I don't want you to die. I love you."
"I love you too."
This is the heart and soul of many troubled relationships, including the one I have with my young adult son. One person acts in ways that are as unpredictable as the weather. They may be, or at least seem, relentlessly cold and stormy at times. They are the way they are because that is how God made them, or because their ideal environment is not living with you.
And because of that, you're not 100% right.
We tell others about those blizzards or storms, and they say, "You're so right to get the hell out of there."
Even Snow knows this, and some part of him (or her) yearns to leave too, to be free, to be.
I could not be completely free and neither could my son until I freed myself from fear of his safety as an adult, and my ambivalence in believing he can survive.
You can't have it both ways: living like a car stuck in the snow and being able to drive with so much of it surrounding it.
"Can't deal with your disrespect any longer," I said in January. "I'm moving at the first opportunity."
Xavier began watching me dig myself out... my going on job interviews to get that full time job and good salary to free myself. He pretended not to notice when I ignored his dark moods and statements to bait me, like, "Don't worry about me, I won't be around much longer."
For those of you who do not know, he's been a long time expert at making suicide threats and attempts (or messing up or breaking up your stuff) to avoid both responsibility and abandonment.
Digging myself out, one day at a time. Digging out years of snow impacted around my metaphorical car. Digging out of debt, because not having enough money can keep you trapped in a baaaad situation.
Then, finally, he began to dig himself out.
He got back his old job. He doesn't know that I begged his old boss in person to give him another chance.
He does know why I applied for him to get to SSI for his emotional disability - "It's a safety net for you," I told him, "so that when I'm gone, you'll have a little money and medical insurance if you try to kill yourself again. You'll need that since I won't be around."
"Then I won't go," he said angrily.
"I don't need you to," I replied dryly.
And I went and he watched me go to SSI, as though he were watching me dig myself out.
"Sign this," I said when I returned.
"What if I don't?"
"It's your safety net. Take it or leave it."
Both methodically and gently, the snow is being moved next to my metaphorical car where it is safe but won't hinder my movement, i.e. my life.
Next step: a bank account.
"Why are we here?", he asks impatiently.
"Adulthood isn't complete without a bank account," I answer.
I have him open a checking account and give him $25 for a deposit. I told the bank lady to not issue him a debit card. His credit is bad from two past cell phone disaster plans, so that's not even an issue.
I say outside the bank, "Any money from SSI, if they approve you, will automatically come here. Probably won't be much if you're working. If you choose to be wise, you will avoid getting a debit card since you had trouble keeping track of how much you spent with the last one, and use this account only to write checks for your rent when you get a room. You can also cash your paychecks here. I strongly suggest you pay everything except rent by cash, that way you'll hold on to your money a lot longer."
This was painful to the Snow; he knew this act was yet another sign of me digging out. When we parted, he walked to a friend's house rather than accepting a ride or returning home.
Two weeks had gone by before I realized his disrespect and the drinking had become sporatic, then stopped.
Another week went by before I realized that the Snow, aka my son, was was less sad or angry. I had seen signs of calmness, but it didn't really register until I accidentally saw two videos he made for his Facebook.
He sang his heart out, doing the kind of jazz that John Legend might sing and nearly as well, on two songs he'd written himself. Remarkable, because he's usually doing hardcore gangsta raps.
Apprehensively, I entered his bedroom. He laid in the dark even though it was only 6PM, and I could see the depression emanating from his slim body. His drama-prone girlfriend recently "discovered" she's not pregnant - if she ever was - and the two sorta broke up.
"What?", he answered, sounding irritable.
"I don't know if I should say this, but I heard your music and watched you perform in your videos. I think you found your niche. It's fabulous. Somewhere right down the street in DC, there's a small jazz club that I'll bet would love to have you."
I paused, then said, "But, what do I know? I'm easy to please and your mother. Still... your talent is a gift from God, maybe to compensate for your problems. I hope for your sake you keep using it."
He grunted, I left.
Minutes later, he was up, on the computer, and writing another song and singing again. My heart smiled.
This manchild's moods are so hot they're cold, like snow, and he can hit you with a blizzard of problems. At the same time, I've always said on this blog how much fun he is and can be. He's like sledding in the snow.
We used to do this a lot when he was little, before my daughter came into our lives; they're seven years apart. Sometimes I'd wake him up at two in the morning. We'd bring the dog and sled for an hour, come back home, and I'd put him to bed. We had two, an inflatable tire kind and a disc. They were great! A few hours later he'd be in class, and so excited that he got to sled, especially if it had melted before school let out.
As I been freeing myself and remaining psychologically free, one day at a time, he's began to copycat me, and slowly figure out that he doesn't need me.
This is a milestone for him, and a necessary transition for anyone striving for real adulthood, because adults are generally resentful when they need someone else to survive, and have to play by that person's rules or at least make compromises, no matter how reasonable.
Tonight (well, technically it's now after midnight) I am stuck home because of the real blizzard that hit our area. Around noon, for the first time in his life, Xavier shoveled our walkway without being asked and went out to shovel show to earn extra money, then returned this evening and shoveled the last snowflakes from the storm.
It didn't occur to him to remove the snow surrounding my car. As they say in therapy circles, there are no accidents in life. This is sometimes true.
Still, I wonder if maybe he didn't because he's tired and I really have nowhere to go tomorrow, or if it's because even the main roads are empty and nearly everything is closed, or because he knows I actually like being out in the snow and don't mind doing this myself...
Or maybe it's an unconscious knowledge that it's something I have to do for myself... unconscious because he hasn't heard a word from me about "digging out" or using snow as a metaphor for our situation. If it's the latter, he either knows I need to do this for myself, or he's still feeling some ambivalence about me driving off into the sunset.
Whatever the reason, Xavier was happy over his fatter wallet, and he had me laughing at his jokes just before he left.
I watched him from my window, walking in the middle of our winterland street to the home of a friend who lives a mile away. Tonight he walked like a man who is comfortable with himself - and with the snow.
He and the snow are one, and in my heart at least, my car is unstuck.