Sunday, November 26, 2006

Don't Let Your Little Ones Grow Up

If you want to bawl your eyes out, watch some home movies of the kids when they were little. Be prepared...stock up on some hankies!

My daughter and I are alone, and she asked me if I wanted to watch a home movie when my son turned eight. I don't know if I've talked about him much, but he worries me. I love him with all my heart, and this is the reason I guess this home movie affected me the way it did.

You see, my son is 23. I had to take him out of high school in his last semester before graduating because of a scuffle with his principal. He and I just didn't see eye to eye on a particular matter regarding my son's curriculum, and I got mad and withdrew him.

Of course, my son was elated. No more school.

But, you see, there was more to it than that.

My son has a mild case of Marfans. In case you don't know what it is, it's a tissue-deteriorating disease. It has no cure.

I didn't even know he had it at the time. All I know is that he kept flunking gym. He just couldn't keep up, and I don't know what happened, but he just couldn't pass it. But, because of that, he couldn't take a computer class that was very important to him. It was so important that once he got out of high school, he could take a test and become certified enough to work at NASA. A lot was riding on it.

Well, I found out he flunked gym, which meant he couldn't take the computer class, and I just about flipped. Well, I did flip. I withdrew him, and told him that he's not going back and was going to take his GED and go to college and become someone.

Well, it's been five years. The child--er...young man--sits at his father's house with no ambition, nor strength, to even go outside. He never went back to school, never got his GED, and never became who he wanted to be.

The doctors were no help. He was sent to King's Daughters, a children's hospital, in Norfolk, but the best they could do was diagnose that it was Marfans. "There is no cure," they said.

And that was that.

Today, he tires easily. His back hurts him all the time. He has dark circles under his eyes. He doesn't want to make a life for himself and I'm not really sure why.

I ask him all the time what's the matter, and he tells me nothing. He doesn't talk about it.

Yes, it bothers me. At his age, I had been married for four years. I know times have changed, but it really bothers me and I'm to the point where I don't know what to do.

I have tried to get him to go back to school, and he refuses. I have told him I would take him to the DMV to get his license, and he's scared to drive. He's scared of life if you ask me.

I can remember that night when he pulled up his shirt and said, "Mom, you need to look at something."

On his back, it looked like he had been whipped about 20 times. All across his back were these raised red lines. Immediately, I took him to the hospital. They told me to take him to the family doctor, which I did the next day. They were baffled. They didn't even know what it was.

It took one kind doctor who thought he might have Marfans. That's when he told us to take him to King's Daughters to find out for sure.

And, yes, he had it.

Abraham Lincoln had Marfans, and he went on to become President. What is my son going to become? A vegetable?

And, tonight, watching him turn eight in front of my very eyes, I saw the child he used to be before the school system, and Marfans, got to him. He was a happy child, doing things to make me laugh. If you could have seen that smile I saw tonight.

If I could only turn back time, and have that child back again. What could I have done different? For one thing, I would have homeschooled him. He was taunted, I'm sure, for not being able to keep up with "the boys" his own age. They were boisterous. My son was not.

Anyway, I'm not sure if I should have watched this home movie or not because it just brings back memories of a time when my son had his smile. I get glimpses of it now and then, but he's not that same little boy. I'm sure that little boy is in there somewhere, though. I would sure like to get him back.


  1. This is a sad problem and I am not smart enough to know what the answer is. The only thing I can think of is to find something he is interested in and get him started learning more about that subject. If he just doesn't show an interest now in anything, how about picking something he was interested in before to try? Maybe computers? How about volunteering somewhere? Perhaps in a hospital, nursing home, or with animals at the humane society? Maybe at a children's hospital where he can help kids and realize there are many who are have much worse problems than he does?

  2. Dorothy - Ain't nothing I can say here because I can't imagine how terrible it would be to watch your child suffer like that. I have been very blessed in that respect - knock on wood, you know.

    I would however try to insist he see a counselor for openers though - because it does sound to me like he has a full-blown case of depression. No wonder too, who wouldn't be depressed! However, a cousin of mine had similar problems with her adult son - his issues though hinged back to attention deficit syndrome stuff but if you'd like, I would ask her to communicate with you, via e-mail - about how to try to get help for him along the depression side of stuff. She lives in Crofton, Maryland - and yes, I will tell you this much two years ago she and her husband were really terrified he might be suicidal because of the depression stuff. It is nasty to deal with - I know from having had issues of my own with that aspect. Let me know if I can possibly help you get help for him - and yourself in that manner too. It's about all I can offer and it's also the least I can do too - to try to help you get help! Hugs!

  3. Thanks, Jeni and Dick. These are wonderful ideas. It just breaks my heart to not be able to do anything for him. What with working and what I do online, it's a battle to just get housework done. But, I'll keep all these ideas in mind and let you know if there's any progress. Love to you both!

  4. Try to get your son into a support group. Force him, threaten him, bribe him...whatever works.

    I've never experienced anything like this, but I did lose my husband to cancer. Meeting other people who share your problem or affliction can be a wonderfully healing experience.

    Take care.


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