It’s 3am and I’m still awake because the boys are struggling after a brief visit with their mom. Elliott managed to fall asleep, but Emmett had a nightmare, and refuses to go back to bed for fear it’s going to happen again.
Then of course, there’s Gavin. Poor Gavin had a particularly bad night. He came home and immersed himself in video games. That’s not unusual for him but tonight he became frustrated, punched his phone, and shattered the screen. He became so angry with himself and it just spiraled from there.
He went from being upset about the same things his brothers were upset about some things that to raging about how angry he is was me for destroying his life. He actually used those words. In the almost 22 years I’ve been in his life, he’s never once come after me like this. He’s carrying around so much pain, and knowing that my decisions are what brought him to this place, is pretty fucking awful.
Gavin’s angry with me because I pulled him out of high school his freshman year. As a result, he lost touch with his friends, and his life has lost all meaning to him. Again, his words.
He’s right. I did pull him out of school his freshmen year. His health was failing. He was constantly being hospitalized. He had no immune system, and every autonomic crisis he had, could have easily killed him. I made the decision to pull him from school based on recommendations from his medical and mental health care providers. It wasn’t an easy decision and I knew there would be consequences down the road. At the moment, I was only concerned about protecting him.
I was a newly minted single Dad, learning to manage everything on my own, and not doing so well. Every decision I made was with the best of intentions and designed to preserve his life. I stand by them.
Unfortunately, Gavin’s health problems persisted and I was terrified of losing him. There was a cost to all those decisions, and it was keeping him relatively isolated.
He doesn’t understand or remember everything correctly. He simply blames me for making decisions that cost him his ability to socialize. He’s not remembering his rather extreme behavioral problems that contributed, or how his body would go into an autonomic crisis when stressed in any way. He harbors a lot of resentment and I understand.
By the time he was in a place where it was safer for him to resume these activities, COVID hit and we all had to isolate. All plans for getting him into social groups, or even job training were put on hold once again.
He’s frustrated, lonely, and has every right to feel those things. While I made the decisions I did because I was trying to keep him safe, I could have done a better job of implementing some of these things, and finding workarounds for others. I was and still am, one person. I did my best at the time, and now I have to fix the consequences of those decisions.
We did a great deal of talking last night and have found a path forward. It’s not going to be perfect and it’s going to take time, but the goal is for him to have a job and the beginnings of a social circle by the end of the year. While Gavin’s overall health has dramatically improved, his immune system seems to be getting worse over time. The unfortunate reality is that COVID is getting worse as well, and now we have Monkeypox. There may be further delays as a result. There’s no way around some of these things but I can look for online social groups for him.
I think Gavin just needs to see forward progress. He’s not expecting everything to be resolved overnight, but he does need, want, and deserve to see progress.
He’s been so patient all these years, and I want so badly to fix this for him.
It’s going to be a process, but one that’s really important to push through. So I’ve decided that Gavin and I are going to gives ourselves the next six months. We’re going to spend the next six months very focused on rebuilding ourselves and pushing forward on the things most important to us. He likes the idea and we can do this together.
At the end of the day, I’m not perfect, and I’m never going to be. I know that I dropped the ball in many areas of Gavin’s life. I also know that his life is very complex and nothing is straightforward, or easy. The goal at this point is continued progress. All I can do is try harder and do better where possible.
As hard as it was/is to hear Gavin unload on me, I’m glad he knew it was safe for him to do that. I’m proud of him for a million reasons and he did a fantastic job of expressing himself. I know it was really hard for him to do, but he did a great job.
Over the next six months, Gavin and I are going to kick ass. He sees it like a superhero team up and I love that. ☺