Sometimes I feel like I lead a double life.
The worries and struggles of being the mother of a teenager with drug and emotional problems. A life which is full of worry and fear. It brings on arguments, knowing about things I don't want to know about, abusive behaviour, financial strains which leaves me worn out and drained.
Then there is the "happy" mother on the school run, full of smiles and always ready to chat. Going to school activities and mingling with the other parents, discussing "normal" things. My daughters are well groomed, well mannered, bright and generally OK to the outside world.
Yesterday, by day I was in a social services meeting discussing my son's drug usage and many other issues and the serious impact it is having on his younger siblings. Talking about him in such a detached and sterile environment is difficult and surreal at times but always frustrating because there seems to be no solution he will be comfortable with. Also during this meeting I am conscious of the fact that now we have representatives from both of my daughter's school attending and I am somewhat ashamed. I don't really want them to be privy to all the details and I don't want them to look at my daughter's in a different light and I certainly do not want them to associate my daughters as "one of those" children who are on the social services list. I am only being honest here about my emotions, I am not saying that they are true statements of how the school actually views my children, they are my emotions, rational or not.
I listen to wonderful comments about my daughters, followed by, "she wants her brother out of the house". I am told that there should be some options to my daughters during the summer holidays because being at home with their brother without the respite of school might be an emotional strain on them. The summer holidays are a time when all the family are together and being at home is a safe and relaxing enjoyable experience. It makes me sad to once again think how "broken" my little family really is.
Then by night, my happy "normal" mom persona took over last night as we went to watch my daughter's High School's end of year production of Grease. We excited got ready and left my son at home in his dressing gown, sitting alone asking me what will he do with his time. He never wanted to come to the production, his sister did not want him to come, honestly I didn't even want him to come...yet when we leave him at home, he is like a child and does not know what to do with himself. Perhaps this display is only for my benefit, because he does keep himself occupied when we are out and he is always doing what he would normally be doing when we return.
So, we excitedly get ready and make our way to the school. I watch my younger daughter who is excitedly watching the show with a gaping mouth and sitting on her knees so she can see it all. My other daughter is sitting next to her friend, who has joined us with her family. The two young friends are watching with smiles on their faces, sharing whispers and giggles and enjoying themselves. During the interval I chat mindless chitchat with my daughter's friend's parents while the children laugh while sitting away from the grown ups. We continue with the show and it was excellent and full of energy and fun. After the show we hang about again acting like we are just your average family, chatting, smiling etc.. The performers come out to talk to their family and friends. My daughter was busy with her group of friends while the younger siblings tried to torment them! I carried on talking about summer plans (but of course not in the same vain as in the social services meeting!) and getting together and making possible plans an so on.
Once we return home the mood changes, no other reason just merely because we are home now :-(
Today I will try to talk to my son about rehab, which will lend itself to an unpleasant exchange of words. I will clean up the mess he has left me over night. I will try to make phone calls about the repossession of our home. I will worry about if I have enough money to live on for another week while I know that my son will be asking me for various things that I will not give him money for and once again we will end up in an unpleasant exchange of words.
Tonight, I will take my daughters back to the High School where there is an "Inflatable Fun Day" and I will smile and chat and let my girls run free and have fun and say "yes, of course you can have an ice cream or a hot dog or anything you like" and pretend we are "normal", until we go home.