50/50: Even video games don’t help when you’re depressed
Then it hit me. My brain went blank. My arms wouldn’t move. I couldn’t get dressed in the morning.
I opened a big box of Rain-Blo bubble gum, started a game of Super Buster Bros., and that’s all I remember. When the kids got home six weeks later, they were impressed that I had won the game (on the intermediate level, even), and even though it’s a funny story to tell now, I even knew at the time that something was horribly wrong with me.“Bye Mom.”Fast forward to last week and my almost-15-year-old is headed out the door with my son-in-law to do some canoeing in the Boundary Waters.He’s leaving me. He may get sunburned. Or get poison ivy. Or get eaten by a bear. Or a spider. He may get hungry or too tired. There’s no cell phone service. I can’t call him every ten minutes to make sure he’s all right.I can feel my heart beating faster just typing this, remembering. Before you think I’m the most pathetic mother that’s ever over-mothered their children, let me explain something. I WANT my children to be independent, responsible, caring adults. I want them to travel (without me) and have their own lives – but. Apparently I don’t really believe they can function without me. Or maybe vice versa.I started out that first evening last week (without our youngest) in a hopeful way. With three glasses of wine. At midnight I woke up with a horrible headache and felt queasy. Hangover? Dehydrated? I don’t know. The headache got worse over the course of the next three days until I couldn’t take it anymore. I almost took an ibuprofen.I made a plan. Read one book every day until he came home again. I’ve found that making concrete plans seems to help when I can feel that depression descend. But I didn’t count on my mind taking the suggestion so seriously as I watched myself fly through one book every day, reading for approximately 10 hours a day, doing little else.I remembered my Rain-Blo/Super Buster Bros. days and connected the dots. So I decided to get interested in changing my mindset, because frankly, my youngest is going to be leaving home in four years, and I’d better get something figured out before that.I took some deep breaths, sitting in my oversized chair on our porch at the lake and looking out at my favorite birch. Just sat with myself. I didn’t chastise myself for being a wimp or for being weak, I just pretended I was being a friend to myself, supportive and loving and understanding.I could feel my chest tighten and felt myself start to cry. I’m not afraid of much anymore except for the health and well-being of my husband and children. I want to protect them. I want them always to be safe. Is that possible? No, it’s not.Do I trust them to take good care of themselves? Sure. Do I trust the universe to take good care of them? Sure. Then can I release my mommy grip a little and give them (and me) a much-deserved break? Sure.Bill got back to St. Paul on Sunday, so I drove down there to pick him up. When I walked into my daughter’s house, I saw him and did a quick once-over to check for lacerations and burns.I only saw two big scratches and some bruises (“he only bled twice,” my son-in-law’s text read), and no visible signs of a sunburn. No poison ivy. No bears. No spiders. No drowning. He made it back in once piece. And so did I.It’s a process, this letting go. It’s trusting and praying and involves a lot of self-care and support. But I believe it CAN be done. Super mommy can hang up her cape and go back to kayaking on the lake, sipping ice water and enjoying the beautiful sunset. Rain-Blo and Super Buster Bros. are no longer necessary.