Life as Teacher

I am writing this at 35,000 feet. It’s dark out the window portal, not that I could tell where I am anyway. One farm blends into another. I imagine I am somewhere between Indiana and Iowa, as I cross the country to visit my son in boarding school. Two days of travel for 36 hours of much needed face time. Being a mom and being crazy are often synonymous.

Of course, I had no way of predicting that Montana and I would grow so friendly sixteen years ago, when I chose to adopt my son. For all I knew, Montana was a super-sized state “out there” with spectacular evergreens, real winters and big game. And my new three-week-old baby son was “perfect.” His skin pink. His eyes alert. His Apgar high. His spirit alive.

Why would Montana and my beautiful baby boy ever meet?

But they sure did.

I thought I did the best I could. I loved him. Rocked him. Sang to him. Hugged him. Sent him to school. And to grandma’s. And to therapy. We read. Traveled. Played and danced. And we laughed. God, we laughed.

And it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough. I could not love the pain out of him. The pain that he was using to sabotage his fabulous self toward his soon-to-be ineffective and possibly ruined adult life.

I tried to be deaf and dumb to his very loud behavior. “Maybe, I can try this. Or this.” Or, “it’s not that bad, right?” Be he clearly was telling me that he needed more than I could give him. I needed to listen to his actions but I refused. Hope fooled me as I manufactured unreality in my head.

And then, on a fateful day in early October, the final ante was upped. The bottom dropped. Surrender, my surrender, was no longer an option. This abrupt turn of events was the beginning of our relationship – Montana and me. We are fast becoming unforeseen BFFs.

Sometimes, I forget that life is all the teacher we need. She has a way of getting our attention if we are wise enough to heed her loving and well-intended punches.

On this go around, life reminded me of my limitations – once again. That my abilities as a human being are capped and grandiosity looks terrible on me. That I am much better off working within my means, asking for help when I need it and letting go of all the rest.

I am grateful for her persistent teaching.

I just hope I remembered to pack my snow boots.

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