As sponsored by Netflix.
(Kudos to them for this post.)
Last night it happened yet again. I hit bottom, my weekly date with despair!
(What? I am nothing if not an Honest Blogger. Thus the label on this post.)
(In last night’s case, I broke down and called myself a “crap mom.” My husband, exasperated, walked out of the room.)
Look, when did I ever say that losing my oldest would be easy? I didn’t, you know, and his turning eighteen in two weeks may kill me. For example…
“What do you want to do for your birthday?” I asked, thinking, “a red velvet cake…maybe a mother/son movie…”
“Get a tattoo,” he replied with a grin.
(He’s serious, too! What can I say? I have one!)
That’s the thing. I know what *I* did when I was his age, and heaven forbid that he venture down that path. Heaven does forbid it, for what it’s worth, but then there’s that Free Will Thing that comes into play.
Not that getting a tattoo is sinful. I happen to like them if they’re artfully done and tastefully placed, even though it means being a wrinkled old coot covered in ink. It’s more…the other stuff that worries my mother’s heart. The drinking…the drug abuse…the premarital sex…the…
It’s hard not to worry about all the Everything.
Consequently I hold him close and (not surprisingly), he’s pushing back. He is ready, so ready, to stretch his wings, and here’s me with a scissors thinking “snip! snip! snip!” This is hard business, this letting go. I am fighting such dark dark feelings of fear and rejection that the pressure I’m putting on him is incredible. It’s no fun for him and it’s no fun being me–at least, not the me that’s been playing the guilt card daily. (“Did you say your blessing? How’s your prayer life? Where are you going/with whom/and Why?!”) I have to make peace with the great unknown; I have to (quite simply) let him go.
Enter the escape of a really good movie!
It’s Netflix to the rescue when my emotional chips are down.
I’m not one to like those fluffy films, preferring instead a shot of true grit. (That’s a great movie, by the way, though not currently available to stream.) What is available, I was thrilled to find, is one of my all-time favorites, Terms of Endearment.
You’ve seen it, right? Time to see it again, now that you’ve lived through most of what you’re watching: the ins and outs of a troubled marriage, an overbearing mom, (ahem), the pain of watching a loved one die.
Yes, there’s drug abuse, yes, there’s sex, but it’s real people making real mistakes…
…and coming out okay in the end.
This type of movie resonates with me. I feel more alive when I’m done watching them, not sluggish or like I’ve mentally checked out for two hours. It’s a movie that makes me reevaluate life, which is why I also fell in love with Cake. Again, there’s some sex and quite a bit of language, but the lead character’s spirit stole my heart. (It’s Jennifer Anniston in an amazing role.) Having gone down that road of substance abuse…and having seen the light of mercy at the end of the tunnel…
Well, there you go and here we go.
I want to be alive, not dead, on this journey called life and yikes, that means embracing the pain. It means loving hard and then letting go. It means looking up with trust and not forward (or back) with fear.
Thank you, God, and thank you, Netflix.
A good movie’s a gift when life gets hard.