Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Beach Towel Metaphor

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.


  1. Very nice Kit. Glad to hear you and your family are back on track and doing well.

  2. I wish them the best. I know it's hard,and not the most desirable situation, but being a young parent has its advantages too. Not the least of which is that you can still be functional after three sleepless nights in a row, that physical energy is priceless. Also, you're not set in your ways yet, which is just as important, they can make the best out of the parenting roller-coaster. With a little guidance and help from you, there's no reason they shouldn't turn out just fine. Maybe it's better to be a raggedy beach towel with tears and stains, than sit neatly folded on a shelf, with no one to need you.

  3. Mizrepresent, Thank you. So far so good.

    Marianne, I like all of what you said, and especially this: "Maybe it's better to be a raggedy beach towel with tears and stains, than sit neatly folded on a shelf, with no one to need you."


  4. Damn... I feel you on this one.
    I have two bad-ass little cousins who I raise because they don't know their fathers and and their mother is useless.
    Sometimes I feel like kicking these dudes in the throat.
    But then there are times when hey handle a stressfull situation with all the wisdom and grace of much older men.

    Would I rather go back to a life of parties, shopping, gambling and being a Ho instead?
    Of course not.
    (But sometimes...)

  5. Excellent analogy!!!

    I wish the very best for your son. When we're young, we see things a little differently then we do after we've been to a few rodeos. My own two children are freshmen in college and both of them are constantly in my thoughts.

    Alcoholism is a crutch that far too many people in my family have used.......which is one of the reasons that I don't imbibe myself.

  6. Ugly Black John, That's pretty impressive, John, raising your two lil' bad azz 2nd cousins. I empathize with you, totally, and I know what you mean too, about how sometimes they surprise you with their grace and wisdom. For my son it's his amazing sense of humor. Were it not for their strengths, I think you and I would be nuts. :)

    Reggie, Thank you, and that's wonderful that you kids are in college. Re: alcohol. Some folks need to avoid it like poison. I never needed to make a conscious decision to not drink, because I rarely do anyway; just never had the need to get high. Coffee and chocolate, on the other hand...

  7. When I read this, right off the bat I knew what it was about. I love that about your presentation - you put much thought into it so as to "reach" your readers.

    The first piece I ever read on this page was last year and it was about Xavier, and I've been hooked ever since. I ain't gonna lie, I see a lot of myself in your presentation of him - I think I may have told you that. The only difference between us is that I wish I had the balls to speak up more to my parents. But I guess the inability to do so came from having been molested sexually twice and having nothing done.

    Oh man, I just saw this:

    "4. Fine if we don't agree, unless you're a troll. "

    OK, now that was my first laugh of the day. Yep, and I lost my train of thought. Dammit!


  8. Rippa, first, re: my comment guidelines of "Fine if we don't agree, unless you're a troll", and you said, OK, now that was my first laugh of the day. Yep, and I lost my train of thought. Dammit!

    That's exactly what they do - distract from a post by bombarding it with numerous comments that can have elements of any kind of "ism" you can imagine. I think most of these trolls have the covert aim of derailing liberal and/or black discussions, and wouldn't be surprised if some get paid for it. My feeling is we must not let them use our blogs for their hostile agendas. One tip off is they never email you and go away when your block them.

    Well, I'm glad you didn't get too distracted that you couldn't leave your comment. Bless you.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this post and others, and also I'm sorry to hear what you went through as a child. Horrible, just horrible.

    At the same time, I'm glad you were able to not fall into the trap of raising hell at home; it can leak out into school, the community and personal relationships, and the person (like my son) is high risk of fighting himself and against his own best interests... all in the name of anger and rebellion, only find him or herself without an education, poor job opportunities, and maybe an addiction or even a rap sheet.

    I'm glad you made it, and hope he will too.


Hi, this is Kit.

I haven't posted since summer 2010, and comment moderation has been on for a very long time.

My old blogger friends (you know who you are) are welcome to email me.

I can be reached at: