If I were to think about the Seven Deadly Sins (Greed, Sloth, Envy, Pride, Covetousness, Anger, and Gluttony), I'd say I've sinned via Sloth, Gluttony, and Envy.
Belly up to the buffet, elastic on my stretch pants close to tearing? Check.
But as lazy and as gluttonous as I've been, I've far exceeded my allotment in envy.
Oh, how I have been struck feeling envious these last 15 years. From preschool until right this minute, I have had periodic bouts of envy as I viewed the greener grass on everyone else's side of the child-rearing fence.
How I've wanted what other families had.
I envied their having children without disabilities, mental illness, or all manner of challenges.
How easy you've all had it...and I had it that way, too, with my daughters. School was not a big deal. They had friends, they had jobs, they made their way into adulthood without much interference from me.
It hasn't been the case in parenting The Boy.
When I found one of his former babysitters on Facebook, she regaled me with tales of her daughter's high school success, cheerleading squad membership, part-time job, and driver's license. Pretty, AND a straight-A student, if you will.
Then it was my turn.
I had no normal high school accomplishments to expound upon.
Our Facebook conversation got a bit awkward, and I knew she was not ready for the truckload of shit I was going to spread all over her typically green, manicured lawn.
The Boy didn't go to a public high school - he went to a school that specialized in educating quirky kids who marched to a different drummer.
There were no star athletes, and no athletic teams. No extra-curricular activities (unless you counted outpatient therapy or behavior therapist appointments).
We had excitement, of course: hospitalizations, arrests, time in juvie, probation - you know, the fun stuff.
At 21, he's working on getting his second part-time job, and he's nowhere close to being able to drive.
Oh, how I wished he could have had the growing up experiences my daughters had; the ones that the babysitter's daughter had.
How different our lives would have been? How disgustingly normal we'd be.
But...then again, I would not want to miss his quirky sense of humor, the literalness of some comments - but I could stand a few fewer inappropriate remarks he's made to complete strangers. Like last month, when he told the women writers I invited over that he'd want others to know that I was a crack whore.
That, right there? I could do without.
Because of The Boy's "issues", we've met some wonderful people who want only the best for him. We've met parents in the same leaky boat as we're in, and we've helped each other bail out the water when a leak appears.
I have become a kinder, gentler, less judgy parent - my empathy for others is quite high. That has brought me positive rewards as I give people the benefit of the doubt and react with kindness (when other people might be a tad upset with the behavior displayed by other children who haven't yet successfully navigated the waters of social skills).
Having to deal with The Boy has made me pull up my granny panties and face the truth - and it always hasn't been pretty (the truth as well as me in granny panties). But it's made me see that I have the strength and stamina and unconditional love that has been necessary, and that's kind of fabulous.
No, I'M fabulous.
When I take all of this into consideration, my envy melts away, and I realize I have the kid I was supposed to have, and the life that was designed for me.
Of course, if any of you want to experience all the glory of The Boy for a couple hours, I'd be willing to pay you to take him off my hands - but in the long run, I think I'll keep him.
Normal is so overrated. Quirky is the new black (or something like that). For me, crazy is the new normal.
I surely don't want any of you to be bummed out that I have had this fabulous life while your decidedly average offspring boringly meet all milestones right on schedule.
Who's envying who now, huh?
NOTE: Due to zillions of fan requests (okay, maybe one), I have updated the About Me page. I hope you'll stop by for a visit! Consider me new and improved!