Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Giving Up Our Dreams

It’s worse than going to the dentist with a toothache; giving up on our dreams for our children. Why is it so hard when we stare reality in the face every day that we hold on to those hopes and dreams?

The day our kids are born we start making plans. We start squirreling away money into college accounts. We dream of smiling proudly as our child graciously strides across the stage at graduation. Nice, neat little homes in the suburbs with our grandchildren playing in the yard. Some of us even have the audacity to picture ourselves in the front row during inauguration on a cold January day in Washington.

It’s all possible for anyone.

Then we snap out of our dream and see our child addicted to a drug and wonder if the future is even possible. We mourn the loss of our dream. We experience suffering for our child because in our life and wisdom we know the hardship of life even without being saddled with addiction. We cry, become depressed and grieve this fading picture. Never really giving up the hope that all of the past will go away and we all get a “do over”.

Finally, after months or years we realize that today is all we get and tomorrow can be just as fearful as it can be hopeful.

The next phase of our realization begins to become clear. These dreams were ours. That is why the pain is so great. We feel our dream slipping away. It’s such a shame we have imposed our dream upon our child and we see their addiction as a failure to achieve our dream. Oh, I’m sorry, I mean "reach their potential" is the way we say it as parents.

All I wish for now is that my son has dreams of his own for himself. His dreams and goals are his own, I don’t have to own them and I am not responsible for his success or failures.

My hopes and dreams now are that I can be a better father than a parent and that I will be regarded by some little ones as the best grandpa in the world.

…..The world of what is versus what ought to be.


Gledwood said...

I did manage to accomplish some things on heroin. I kept up my blog nearly every day for five years for one thing. I chose a book I really wanted to read in German (it's the story of a teenage prostitute and heroin addict in 1970s Berlin) and trawled it slowly, noting every single word I wasn't 100% sure of in a notebook in order of its appearance and crossreferenced with the page number and looked it in a dictionary. It didn't matter how often I forgot the meaning; some words were looked up 40 possibly 50 times. So I read this entire book in German and afterwrds had an index-glossary to the entire text. You wouldn't believe how much this pepped up my German.

I also started learning Chinese and Japanese. I wanted to speak and write both languges and eventually came to the conclusion I'd be better off starting with Chinese. I found out I had an amazing affinity with the Chinese characters. Not only are they fascinating, but pretty easy. At least I found them easy. Knowing a lot of people think they're really hard gave me great encouragement.

So that's all I've accomplished since heroin bit such a huge chunk out of my life. At least it is an accomplishment. I know someone else who did a full university course on heroin and graduated.

Of course my drug addiction has caused terrible damage to my life. And when I add on the mental troubles I've also had, life becomes undoable. My mood is now pretty "normal" (no longer depressed) but my mind races, I get irritation and agitation... in short some symptoms of mania came back today. I never have true "normality" except in the briefest of snatches... so I don't know what to do...

I'm going to keep battling on though. I dug out my Chinese today and tapped in some sentences in the Pinyin setting on my computer, bringing up instant Chinese characters for typing. They look amazing!

I hope your son does manage to address some of his goals before too long. As long as his mental health is relatively OK and he stays away from drugs he should be OK.

Sarah said...

Great post. Thanks,

Bristolvol said...

Ron, once again, you nailed it. Same sentiments here. My daughter managed to graduate from college, but she is a convicted felon, raising her family in a trailer. Well, a trailer is not bad in itself, but when you raise your kids in an upscale neighborhood, the last thing you can imagine are your grandkids growing up in a trailer park and their parents struggling financially due to their drug addiction. I hope that you can be part of your grandbabies life and be a positive influence on the little ones. Unfortunately, my daughter does not allow me to be part of my grandchildren's life.

Tori said...

Great post and great timing for me. I think you mentioned this to me almost one year ago when I started blogging. I never forgot it and slowly let go of what I had hoped for him. It didn't take long since we had been dealing with it since he was young. When he was 14 we met with some Guy aobut savings, etc. and he asked what we had put away for Blake. Joe and I just looked at eachother and in unison replied, "We are just hoping he will get his GED."

I just wished I would have saved anyway for rehab. Never thought that would be his College!

I have no expectations at all anymore. It seems so simple that really I just want him to be sober, yet that is extremely difficult for our children.

Syd said...

I cannot generate dreams for others. I understand that. I have to live my own dreams which I am doing more and more. Great post Ron.

parent said...

so funny i was discussing this phenom last night in the car w/ a friend...saying that "classmates" of my son were now graduating college etc..and my son ( doing well ) is just finding his way...

As the expression goes: Life..on life's terms

great post my friend

Sherry said...

As I was reading your post, I was thinking exactly what you said next..."These dreams were ours". I suppose that means I've learned a lot! I remember as a young adult having the dream that my parents would be happy/content/peaceful...perhaps that is what we all could hope for...for each other.

VJ said...

Thanks for the reminder. I need to remind myself of this all the time.
I keep looking for my own "peace and serenity" but it doesn't come easily. it is really hard work to let go of my dreams for my child. Thanks again for your post.