We all know the phrase “That’s Life”! It means that things happen. Good things, bad things, thingy things. But rarely predictable things. Of course being a parent I know this. Having an Autoimmune disease just gives me more practice experiencing this idea. So when both come into play at the same time, it is enough to render me catatonic.
This is what has happened to me over the past two weeks. For starters, my husband and I have allowed a 20 yr old friend of my oldest son to move in with us. His parents divorced and have gone on their merry way. They are now selling the house they left him alone in to live. With no car, no job, and no guidance. OK. He can live with us. Little did we know that that would mean “party house” to everyone else! Now that three of five guys that hang out together live in one place, it made sense-to them- for the others to come here! Yeah-NO-that ended quickly.
Thinking the drama over with life calming down a bit, cleaning even started. Yes-three young men willfully cleaned stuff! I should have been prepared for shoe number two. But I wasn’t. I decided to help them clean. Apparently closet shelves are no longer for sweaters but are for bottles and cans of alcoholic beverages that I have never heard of. Cotton Candy Coolers? I must say, finding a bar in my kid’s room-though he’s 21-doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t remember the “mom, I want to become a bartender and will have the supplies to practice with in my room so I can nail the test” conversation. Or any conversation. And the fact that our new houseguest, our other son, and most of the friends that come over are under 21 didn’t seem to phase the newest decision maker in the family. The fact that I was hit in my teens by a drunk driver which caused far reaching complications; as well as the birth of Larry, my gecko tattoo that covers an angry purple surgical scar; also didn’t seem to be considered and I hit a level somewhat beyond ballistic mom status.
And that was not yet the end. Remember, this is the space of two weeks! We were destined to learn about VAPING as well. First and foremost: if you dare call it smoking by mistake, you get promptly get schooled. “IT’S NOT SMOKING;IT‘S VAPING”. They are totally different apparently. But let’s see… You suck crap into your lungs, hold it there, and blow out smelly, lingering clouds of crap into the air. In a car, the vapor leaves residue on the windshields that has to be cleaned of and both contain nicotine and other unpronounceables. Oh wait! Cigarettes contain tar and ash! Whew! For a minute there I thought they were equally dangerous… Uh-oh! Dad has now reached missile status himself. Well, I’m not alone anymore!?...
At this point, I hurt worse than being trampled. Stress really affects diseases like ours, Autoimmune diseases. You see, the immune system will send out antibodies and cortisol in response to stress. The body is getting ready for a fight. It’s an old reaction that saved our lives many times over the course of history by having extra disease fighters and healers as well as extra energy at the ready. Now however, it’s just making me swollen and stiff and wanting to roll up in blankets while I scream. It’s making it hard to be a parent. And I need to be a parent. NOW. I am hurting yet I need to be a parent yet I am hurting.
More surprises popped up out of my son’s rooms as if they were the embodiment of the old snakes in a can gag. Not all legal. Not all handled well by me. I remember throwing some things. And being rather pleased at myself that my old pitching abilities seemed to have returned. Until I couldn’t even lift my arm the next day. Or even think. At 19 and 21, they have some freedom to make decisions over how they live their lives, but they also live under my roof which means there are still rules. Parenting young adult man-children is the hardest thing I have done while sick. They have very well formed opinions. But it is still my house and my rules. So now there is Momma Mandated Cleaning. And family meetings about “THE RULES”. And order and control (ha-ha snort) will be restored, if slowly. And I will always, always wonder:
“......If Only I Hadn’t Been Sick, Maybe…..”