I grew up with a mother who loved having company and always had open arms to adopt the needy or the orphaned. Our home at holidays, and really any time, was open to friends and often to complete strangers who did not have family with whom to spend the days. There was (and still is) always room for one or two more at Mom’s table, and so I took advantage of the extra space this past Easter and invited M., my new friend from a previous post.
With the exception of street corner panhandlers (okay, and yes, even them), my heart breaks for people in need, especially if they are experiencing a pain or need that I have felt in my own life, a trait I likely inherited from my dear mother. Throughout my life, I have oft passed a few bucks–and once my last $20–to a stranger in need, or purchased a pack of ciggies for a bum who was digging through the dirty ashtray for butts. I am at my best when I transfer focus from the cares and insanity of my own life to someone else whose struggles may be worse than mine. Helping others makes me happy!
Recently, I adopted, without his consent or knowledge, M., as my second son. I love my biological son more than my own life and will continue to turn myself inside out to help him in any way I can, but there is always room for one more, especially since I didn’t have to go through the pain of birthing M. or the expense of raising him to the age of 20. 🙂 My two sons are polar opposites. They both share struggles with mental illness, they both make frequent use of humor–although J.’s sense is much darker and more cynical–and they both have one absentee parent, but that’s where the similarities end.
J. is tightly wound, only on alternate days admits that he is bipolar, and holds his struggles deep inside. He is unpredictable (unless you know his predictable pattern), unreliable, and refuses help or accepts it only reluctantly. He is suspicious of the motives of everyone, lives by his own set of rules, is often anti-social and reclusive, and does not give a crap what others think of him. J. prefers to remain under the radar–no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts for him–and prefers that the government not be aware of his actions or existence. When he is feeling and doing well, he is loving, caring and generous, but when his world goes south, he focuses on nothing but himself and his misery.
M. is a friendly, social creature who has profiles on just about every social networking site and enjoys being in the limelight. Although he clearly suffers from anxiety and depression that at times may affect the choices he makes in life, he puts on a smile, laughs easily and does not take his troubles out on those around him. He seems to be loving, caring and generous. Life has dumped on M.’s shoulders more than his share of crappy circumstances, but he has muddled through and not allowed the trials to hold him back from pursuing his dreams. M. is not perfect. He is young and still figuring himself out in some ways–probably making some choices that I and his biological parents would not approve of–and his red hair and tendency to be able to tell people to “F— off” lead me to believe he could have a bit of a temper. Still, he is on a much more predictable basis friendly and easy to get along with.
I love both of my sons and am grateful that they are a part of my life! Ironically, I share some characteristics with each of them. I pray for them daily and will do whatever I can to make their struggles on this earth more bearable. Sometimes loving tears me apart, but I am unable to stop loving.
I wonder if you can guess?