Friday, August 15, 2014

Walking the Dog

My second son is very…. well, unique.  First, he is really really smart, proving that intelligence can skip a generation.  He devours information and his appetite for knowledge is never quite satisfied.  I'm not saying that his father and I are stupid, but our interests are the opposite of anything remarkable.

Finegan has a mature book intelligence but his emotional intelligence is still developing. (Actually, so is mine).  In the past year, he has read too many books to count, learned to play the ocarina…yes ocarina, the violin, and composed several pieces on the piano. He likes Minecraft, magic and origami.  Not exactly your triple threat. Plus I have noticed that he is introverted.  We have tried to force him to get outside and play, but he always comes back defeated and sad because kids call him weird.   The truth is, he is weird. Wonderfully so. 
I told him that when I was a kid people called me weird all the time. His response was, well you are weird. And we laughed and I got up and did a jig, proving that weirdness doesn't wear off and he is pretty much screwed if he was hoping it did.

Even if you embrace your weirdness, it can leave you filling left out, and sad at times.  I have learned to channel my weirdness into humor and creativity.  Yet, to a nine year old, it feels terrible. As a mom to the nine-year-old it feels even worse.

You want your kid to fit in, yet when they get older you want them to stand out.

I toyed around with the thought that maybe it is okay he is an introvert. After all, he is happy when he is in his room discovering something new.  To what standard am I measuring happiness? Mine or his?

I have been walking our dog a lot lately.  Actually, he has been walking me.  This dog is stronger than a spastic horse. To get Fin out of the house I have asked him to come along. Most of the time he does willingly, the other times by force.  Once we catch our stride we have had some amazing conversations.  I feel that I can talk to him like an adult, until he reminds me he is a kid again.  He is inquisitive and I would be doing him a disservice if I wasn't honest with him. He told me he was going to build a time machine so after I am gone, he can still go on "our" walks.  I told him that he needs to secretly tell me the winning lottery numbers.  Sometimes our conversations take an unexpected hairpin turn. 

He asked how Robin Williams died.  I hesitated a bit and told him that he had committed suicide.  Some how he already knew what that was.  He asked how he did it. At that time I wasn't sure, but I told Fin that it didn't matter, the end result was the same.  Of course he asked why.  I explained that nobody will ever know for sure. He said, "maybe it was because he felt left out."

This kind of hit me like a ton of bricks.  Was he empathetically implying that feeling left out would be a good enough reason to kill oneself? It worried me.   I explained that he suffered from depression.  We continued our walk and he asked me what it felt like to be depressed.  In addition to being weird, I also have had to deal with reoccurring depression and as much as I have tried to leave the boys in the dark about this, they have seen it first hand.  I wasn't trying to hide it but I didn't want them to feel they were at fault. No amount of love or laughter can get you out of it.  That is why it sucks so much.

He said that he is going to find a cure for depression and then come back in time and give it to Robin Williams and me.  And as much as I admire him for doing that, and I'm confident he will,  I don't know if I would take it. Its one thing to manage it, but to just delete it?  What we perceive as wrong, may be what is right for us. Trust me, I have been to the dark abyss but the lightness that came out of it was beautiful.  I don't like it when I'm in it, but as a creative type, I respect it, I appreciate it, and after all these years, I have learned to cope with it.  Honestly, I don't know who I would be without it. 

It is what makes me unique.  And it has gotten me to this very moment where I'm walking with my son.   I made sure to let him know that just because someone has been diagnosed with depression it doesn't mean they are going to kill themselves. It is not black and white. And I assured him that I would never leave this Earth by my own accord. 

I explained that I can't judge someone who has taken their own life, and I don't want my children to either.  But if we are going to love this life, we have to travel through a couple hills and valleys.  And put more focus on others and less on ourselves. Life is about service, and on that path there will be a dip or climb. True love is supporting each other in the good choices and bad. 

I intend to walk together as long as we can.  To make him know that he is not alone, even when he prefers to be.

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