Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lessons in Love: Dylan Style

Today I was supposed to be getting on the road with Conor to go see Dylan in Arizona for the weekend. I was so looking forward to it. I had planned to pick him up from school today and have him walk me around his new campus, just briefly, and then take him for some ice cream. I knew that tomorrow would be a school day for him, so I would take him home, get a quick peek at his new room, and then leave him for the evening and I would spend some time with one of my best friends. On Friday after school I wanted to take him (and possibly Aiden) out to dinner and a movie, and then on Saturday, I'd hoped to take Dylan to a Frank Lloyd Wright architecture school in Scottsdale to look around, and then some mini-golf, and then a swim/game night over at my brother's house where my AZ family was going to gather so we could see each other. On Sunday I was going to go to Sacrament Meeting at his new ward and then head home.

I know he's only been gone since July 6th, but he's already started school, and I missed that. I'm about to start the RN program, and I have no idea when the next time I can sneak away will be. Dylan isn't scheduled to come home until Thanksgiving break, so I thought this quick trip would be opportune. But when I talked with him on the phone last week, for really, the first time since he left, and I was enthusiastically telling him how much fun we'd have and how I couldn't wait to see him, all I got was silence on the other end. Awkward silence.

So, an uncomfortable conversation ensued, and it became apparent to me that he was not interested in my visit. He thought it was "weird" and "unnecessary". Frankly, he was rude and cold to me, and I was terribly deflated and in tears. I told him to just forget it then, that I would not come out, and I got off the phone. I called his dad in my tears and explained what had happened, and he was not happy to hear how Dylan had treated me, but agreed that maybe the visit should be postponed, though he knew how difficult and hurtful that was for me.

I really thought Dylan's conscience would bug him and he would call me to apologize. Not to beg me to come anyway, but maybe just to smooth things over between us and say he was sorry for being so rude to me. But he didn't.

I was really bummed. I felt rejected. I cried a lot.

On Sunday I wrote him a letter, expressing my heart, and telling him how much I love him. I told myself, "He just needs more time, more space." I've been trying to be okay. His dad tells me how happy Dylan is, how he wakes up early every morning, cheerful and ready to go. How he comes home after school and does his homework right away and how he performs random acts of kindness around the home. How they're having so much fun together, and how they are like "peas in a pod". Well, how can he be so happy and still treat his mother like crap? Which is why it's hard to keep that voice stifled that whispers, "It's you."


Yesterday I had the most blessed conversation with a dear, dear friend of mine. During the years that I've known her, she's been a struggling single mom. Oh, how she's struggled! And though I have tried to be a strength to her, really, it's me gleaning the strength from her. Her faith is so pure and so constant! After she filled me in on the incredible details of the last few months of her life (which, includes a new marriage that happened in the most miraculous way, a move to a new state where she gets to live her dream of being in the mountains, and financial security--really, the last year of her life should be a movie!), she asked how I was doing. I skimmed around the meaty parts, not wanting to bring down the mood, and hoped she wouldn't ask specifically about Dylan.

But she did. She's awesomely in-tune that way.

As soon as I started to express what I was feeling, the tears came too. She listened, and then she chastened me. "Shut up," she said to me. "Shut up! Have you no faith in what you believe, and in what you've taught him his whole life? You have been the most remarkable mother to him. You have trained him up in the way he should go! He just needs time. He needs to become a man, and he can't do that with you. He's gone off to find his way as a man, and to find out what he truly believes and why, and he might make some mistakes along the way, but you have trained him up, and he will not depart from it! He's not even aware of why he's treating you the way that he is, except that he knows that out of every person on this planet, you are the most constant in his life, the safest, most secure source of love. He loves you, Jenna! Don't take his reactions so personally. He loves you, but it's not going to look like the love that you want him to show you. He's trying to become a man, and when he does, you are going to look at him and be so proud of him, and see that he is everything you ever hoped for him. He is going to be such an amazing man, you'll see. And all of your children will rise up and call you blessed! You have done everything you can to be a good mother, and God will honor that!"

It went on longer. I wish I could have recorded it to put it on my iPod. It was so comforting, so reassuring to me, and I felt the confirmation that her words were true. It's so hard to wait! It's hard to wait for the bread to rise, for my schooling to be completed, for the hand of the Lord in my children's lives. And yet, I must remember that while I'm waiting, the bread is rising, my schooling is being completed, and the hand of the Lord is working in my children's lives. Sometimes I'm so faithless.

Dylan is where he is supposed to be, doing what he is supposed to be doing to become who he is supposed to be. I have not failed, and I have not been rejected. This is a season of separateness for us, but it is still a season for love. My love as his mother has been an anchoring foundation in his life, and it will not fail him now.


Late last night, I checked my email to find a message from Dylan. He hasn't used email in years, but decided to get back on. He was happy. He used exclamation points!!!!!!!!!

And all is well. Including me.


Crystal Collier said...

Family. It's all about family. Keep positive eh? =) (Sending good wishes your way.)

piper said...

such a blessing!


Luisa Perkins said...

Ah, it all sounds so familiar. Thanks for sharing this and blessing the rest of us (meaning me).

Saint Holiday said...

A mother has ultimate power in the heart of her son. You'll see. I love you.