wings and things


on July 31, 2012

Ming (18-year-old son): We need to talk.

Me: Yes.

Ming: I’ve had enough!

Me: Yes.

Ming: Your life is consumed by Anthony.

Me: Yes, sorry – I’m just trying to….

Ming: Mum, what do you want in life – what do you want in life now?

Me: Good question.

Ming: I know what I want right now, Mum and it’s got nothing to do with my ambitions.

Me: What do you mean?

Ming: I just want you to be happy again.

Me: Oh, that is a wonderful suggestion and how exactly do you plan to do it?

Ming: If you just listen ….

Me: What? Listen to you tell me off for every time I put too much water into the chook pen? Listen to you tell me off for ringing you on your mobile when you’re late? Listen to you tell me off because I’ve run out of weetbix? Listen to you tell me how to do every bloody thing as if I were born yesterday?

Ming: Please, Mum!

Me: Yes, what is it, oh fount of all wisdom? Have you found a magic potion for Dad?

Ming: That’s what I mean – it’s all Anthony, Anthony, Anthony.

Me: So you are saying I neglect you?

Ming: No! You are the best mother, I had the best childhood with you guys but now is sort of hell and sometimes I want to go away.

Me: So do I.

Ming: Why can’t we be a team – do the farm jobs together?

Me: I’m not very good at teamwork.

Ming: Why won’t you talk to me like we used to?

Me: I don’t want you to share the misery.

Ming: I already do, Mum! You have to let go of Dad emotionally – you have to trust the nursing home to look after him. He is fine!

Me: So how did you let go?

Ming: I just did – ages ago – so I could survive.

Me: Are you saying that my own misery is leaking into your life now?

Ming: Yes. Can you please stop it?

Me: What – the grief?

Ming: Yes, because I’m still here and you’re still here and the farm is beautiful and we are going to make it better.

Me: And why would that happen?

Ming: Because I love you.

71 responses to “Enough

  1. terry1954 says:

    omg, i just sat here and cried over this. the words came rushing from your page, is the words i hear similar from my own kids. how can i give Al up, just to make my life easier? how can i go on with each day, knowing that i was too selfish to care for my own brother? this is what i do, take care of family. i can not just drop it for me. i can drop the care when i can do no more. i am sorry to my kids that they do not understand. it is like throwing the whole banana in the trash because if has two soft spots on it. raise the lid, toss it in, close the lid, wipe your hands, and be on your way………….

  2. sbcallahan says:

    tears for this brave young man and for you. he has some very good points to make and yet in his youth does not understand the depth of responsibility we feel for our other half.

    i would ask that you really listen to what he is saying regardless of how he is saying it. imagine watching him go through the process you are, how impotent you would feel seeing him drained of joy. letting go is not the same as not loving.

    sorry i may be stepping out of bounds here. if i could i would go to ants myself and have a heart to heart about his responsibility to you and son.

    warm hugs and best wishes to you dear woman

    • jmgoyder says:

      Your comment really got me thinking. For example, a couple of times now Ming has felt the brunt of the girl-rejection thing that happens in the teenage world and his bewilderment and misery, though short-lived, has been almost unbearable for me – a sort of dreadful empathy. He is extremely popular in general so he gets a shock at the slightest hint of rejection and feels stupid and all of that. We usually talk it all through so it’s okay but I always feel his misery much more intensely than my own. So I am now beginning to see how this is what it’s like for Ming whenever he sees me sad and, even though I mostly hide it from him, he sees enough and it makes him sad too because he has such empathy. He is definitely a wise kid and, like he said, this morning, “Let’s have some fun again, Mum!” Thank you so much for this comment!

  3. Smart boy you have there, and sometimes it seems so easy for some people to just let go like her suffested but I do not know if I would be able to let go if I was in your position………….it is great that you have a son who cares about his mother and worries about her emotionaly health. He doesn’t mean for you to give up to just relax a little and trust in the nursing home to take care of Ants…………

  4. pixilated2 says:

    Julie, it seems so easy when you are a teenager doesn’t it? However, I hear his pain through his words and he loves you so very much. I hope you two can work together. You need each other right now. Love you, Lynda

  5. Listen to Ming, then do what you feel.

  6. Wow. Talk about an intense conversation. Through the pain, you ban almost feel the love threaded through. (((hugs)))

  7. dcwisdom says:

    Oh mercy…He’s being a man – observing and handling the situation by fact and not emotion. That’s the way men survive, and he’s learning his lessons. Mostly, women allow emotions to rule our days and decisions, as Ming observes your behavior. It’s not wrong; it’s just the way it is. Looks like he’s fighting to keep you from sinking. God bless him. He’s wise in his young years.

  8. Helen says:

    Ming is such a nice boy, I have always thought so and this confirms it.. It makes me so happy to know there are so many nice teenagers out there. He must love you so much. It’s great.

  9. nia says:

    Dear Julie, I read in tears too. You have a wonderful son and I can understand him but I also understand you too. Not easy situation for you both. But young mind, our children sometimes they can be so helpful and also be like a boss in our life. He doesn’t tell you to give up from everything in your life, just he wants you to see happy and as before… Because life goes on dear Julie… for you and for your son. I think his suggestion/his thoughts is so nice. I am sure Antony will be so happy too, the things at home runs as before… If you ask me, I would say, listen to your son. You should think yourself and your son and even your home, your lovely farm too. In the past, in my own sad story, I was almost gone… I wasn’t thinking anything except my dad and my mom! But one day the doctor (the man who saved my life) told me that I had to think of myself at first and then everything would be better… When I went out his office, I remember it was snowing and I noticed the snow and I walked… when I came home, my little son was asking me to have a Christmas tree and to dress it. As if I was born that day… Dear Julie, I know, nothing can be same, we have all our own stories, but the most important point is you are worthy and your life too. You have a wonderful young man, he is your happiness, please don’t take me negative, but start a new exciting days in your lovely home and farm. You have a many reasons for this. 🙂 One of them is me too… I love you dear Julie, and Blessing and Happiness to you all, love, nia

    • jmgoyder says:

      Nia – you are such a wonder. Love the story of you and your son and the Christmas tree and everything else you say here makes complete sense so I am very grateful for your friendship – Juliexx

  10. victoriaaphotography says:

    I shed a tear or two over this post, because in many ways Ming is so much older than his years. He certainly feels no less love for his Father – he’s just wanting his Mother to be happy again.

    He just wants his Mother back to her usual old self.

    I don’t blame him.

    I think I commented a few posts ago that it might be a good idea for your own mental, emotional and physical health to let go a little. How about cutting the thrice daily phone calls down a bit. By this constant need to talk and hear Anthony’s voice, you’re not making it any easier on yourself, Anthony or Ming.

    Ming is right. How about sharing the farm chores and getting a little more ‘normal’ daily life back. How about a little more laughter and fun (together). Ming is not asking much. Ming doesn’t want his Father’s ‘caregiver’ back, he wants his Mother back. .

    I daresay, at the moment, after you’ve put the phone down in the morning, you’re looking at your watch to ensure you don’t miss the scheduled next call (is it at midday?). After that second call, you’re probably keeping an eye on your watch to ensure you don’t miss that evening call.

    Are you looking at your watch half the day? Seriously.

    Ming needs you just as much as Anthony does – only in a different way. Don’t think you can re-build your relationship with Son ‘later’. “Later’ may be too late.

    I’ve been there with my own Mother (in a different way). She built an ever-widening gap between us for over 40 years and then in her late seventies and early eighties, she tried to bridge that gap (between her constant criticism and insensitive comments), but it was too late. My Mother was a stranger to me and sad to say, when she passed away in February this year, I felt nothing more than relief that she didn’t suffer too much at the end (no more than I would feel if a stranger died).

    I’m not suggesting this would ever happen to you & Ming, because your relationship is built on strong love and caring for each other. Your own family relationships are the opposite to mine.

    I certainly don’t mean to interfere or come across as being a ‘hard’ person, but I think Ming needs your support in his own grief (at losing his Father). Ming needs to hear a little laughter and normallacy come back into the farmhouse. In a way, Ming has already lost his Father. He doesn’t want to lose his Mother too.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Oh Victoria – you really got to me with this comment and I can’t thank you enough because, yes, I am constantly watching the clock, not because I need to hear his voice, but because I feel he needs to hear mine. So, yes, your comment has jolted me out of this ridiculousness because there is not point going on the way we have been when we have this living, breathing, beautiful son – thanks V for giving me some perspective! Jxx

      • victoriaaphotography says:

        I uhmmmm and ahhhhhrd about pressing the ‘post comment’ button after writing that comment, but wondered if it wouldn’t be more helpful (than hurtful) to hear.

        I don’t feel you can second guess Anthony’s need to hear your voice. You have such a wonderful loving family that I feel sure if you talk it over with Anthony, he will understand that you need to cut one of those phone cals out & use the time to constructively give some thought to your relationship with Ming. I know Anthony will probably forget after you’ve talked it over, but it only takes 14 days to create a new habit.

        So if you can gradually reduce those daily phone calls (well, the midday call for the time being), eventually, Anthony will get used to the new routine and both you & Ming will benefit by a healthier relationship.

        Chronic illness sufferers can be very demanding, especially when there is a degree of declining memory. But I can also appreciate where Anthony is coming from – a devoted and loving wife who is very much in love with her husband and doesn’t want to see him suffer (mentally or physically). He is so used to you looking after him all his married life, that it’s hard for him to adjust to change too. He needs to accept that the nursing staff are there 24/7, so he no longer has to rely on you 24/7.

        It’s about finding balance in your life. It’s about giving reasonable time to reasonable demands and then, its about giving time to someone else (as well as giving time and love to yourself).

        Once that balance goes too far in the one direction, that’s when problems arise and ‘things’ or ‘people’ break. .

      • jmgoyder says:

        Your perspective is invaluable to me, Victoria, and what you said in that last comment struck home, as does this comment. Thanks for your generosity in saying these things that I probably need to hear. Your pragmatism is fantastic and I am going to put your above suggestions into place (well, I’m going to start to at least!) tomorrow. I was about to break I think – not now thanks to you!

  11. niasunset says:

    Dear Julie, I wrote a comment and also I posted it too. But I can’t see… something went wrong but I don’t know. When I try again this time it says, you have already done… Sorry for this.
    Just let me know have you receieved my comment. Thanks and Love, nia

  12. viveka says:

    Your son … make so much sense – and I understand that he has a really hard time seeing what has happen and what is happening to you. You can’t give up your own life … even I can understand how easy it’s to do that in your situation. You are full of all the guilt over putting your husband on this “lodge” – and that guilt make you give up and keep your own life on hold, so you can give him even more .. to make up for things. You haven’t anything to feel guilty about – and you are here and now too. Becaus I know I would feel very guilty if I was in your situation and its easy for me to say all of this, because I’m not.

  13. wisdom sometimes comes in young packages — he wants to work with you which I find adorable
    -one of my sons wanted me to teach him to cook and life got in the way and I did not end up giving him lessons (as I am still learning to cook myself after all these years) and I regret it to this day because now that phase has passed for him – I missed a few cues from my sons and am still trying to make up for it now–this is a strong cue –
    it breaks my heart that your life seems to be on hold — I think you should listen to this young man who loves you

  14. He loves you so much; he’s just young.

    Don’t forget, if he – and you – needs a break, we have a spare room. I meant my offer.

  15. Michelle says:

    Julie, I know that this is nothing like what you guys are going through but wanted to share anyway something that I’ve learned in 21 years of motherhood. When my children want to spend time with me, talking, laughing, or sharing, no matter what I’m feeling at the time I must be prepared to do it with them at that time or eventually they stop asking.
    I haven’t thought through exactly how this relates to what you are going through but just wanted to share a perspective.
    Love you guys.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Thanks Michelle – I have neglected that kid (emotionally) for awhile now so I really get what you are saying and you are such a great mother – really appreciate this! Jxxx

  16. He is intense, honest, fiery….He reminds me of your honesty and Anthony’s bluntness. I love how he loves you. And yes, this post made me cry….

  17. Katrina says:

    You have a son wise beyond his years…and yours. He is right, and he loves you. So, mother of the great wise one, what do you do now?

  18. Out of the mouth of babes! I cannot say anything else Jules…. except hugs ~ BB

  19. Robyn Lee says:

    Oh my God Julie… too many tears flowing to type… This was just heart wrenching to read for me. I just am so grateful that you have this kind of relationship with your son… he feels safe enough in your presence to really share his heart – for better or for worse — he Loves! The part that really hit me metaphorically was him saying he wants to be a “team” — I know he referred to the farm work – -but sense that goes soooo much deeper… Be a team with your boy — Ok– I’m going to get a box of tissues to console myself…. I don’t know how you wrote this without 10 boxes by your side. xoooxxooo

  20. Judith Post says:

    Oooh, what an answer, and what a kid. Maybe a keeper.

  21. Rhonda says:

    You and Anthony have raised quite the young man Jules. Empathy is not an easy trait to temper and keep centered, especially when it is felt as intensely as it is between you and Ming; you for him and he for you. I am so very impressed with his level of intuitiveness. He is remarkable. When reading this lovely young man, one could never pass what he says as teen angst, nor any part of selfishness. His words speak to the heart of his world, you and the farm your family has built together. His talk of needing you to re-engage in your day to day and his want to be as you were before, is essentially his gift of reassuring you that when the time comes, though your heart will break in a million pieces…your world will not! He won’t allow it. And that, my Jules, is the man that is your son.

  22. cuhome says:

    OMG, I have tears in my eyes! This is so beautiful in so many ways! Out of the worst of times, you’re building something of beauty. Amazing! Thank you for sharing, and give Ming a big hug from someone he doesn’t even know, but who knows he’s just a great human being!

  23. bluebee says:

    Oh, this makes me sad – Ming is on the edge of adulthood but also still a child, wanting to make everything better but not yet understanding that things and grief have to take their course. Maybe he should go away for a while to give you both a break…

  24. Handsome and sweet! You are a lucky mom!

  25. ltpen315 says:

    Awwww! What a wonderful young man! He just wants the mom back that helped make him the amazing young man he is!!

  26. Your son is very wise for his age. You and Anthony have done a great job at raising him and you should be very proud.

  27. Wow. Crying at the end. Wonderful comments.

    Not sure what came before this since I am reading these posts in reverse order. And I hope I am not over stepping when I say this… but I can’t help wonder if the Anthony of only a few years ago could step out of his present mind and body and observe what was going on with you and Ming and himself, if he would want to you to step away more. So you could find some inner peace and strength. Find more joy. Share more with Ming. Find those first threads of a new life that you will be able to weave together without him – when ever that time comes.

    • jmgoyder says:

      I see what you mean. Occasionally, when I get upset with Ants and tell him what it’s like for me, he is very empathetic. Even on the phone last night, I was a bit teary and he was comforting me!

  28. Susan says:

    Hopefully you can find a balance, Julie. Fun is definitely something we can lose in our responsibilities, a struggle I have. A counsellor once asked me to think about what I did for fun as a child and suggested I have a go at one of those things. It was a tough question…and after some thinking, I bought a bike! And (after a nervous start!) Noah and I had some great times riding together feeling free…until someone stole it, but that’s a whole other story! I do think its about time to get a new one. Adventure World, agricultural shows, taking the dog to the beach, walks – something interesting always happens and boys talk better, funny movies and popcorn, mixed netball, travel and remote control cars all also fun!
    On the other hand, how we step up to our responsibilities can be a measure of who we are and is important to us.
    So we are back to finding a balance. Best of luck x
    PS apparently boys also think paint-balling is fun! Me…not so much!

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