One May morning five years ago, I woke up with a sense of relief…the feeling a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. The sensation was most welcome at the time because I had started each day of the previous several months with a sense of foreboding, panic, and fear.
These emotions revolved around my oldest son. Twenty-two at the time, he was spiraling out of control with an addiction to alcohol. My son was fifteen when he started drinking, but things didn’t get out of hand until he began college.
I want to tell you his initiation into alcohol was with some teen friends at a party, but the truth is he took his first drink (the one that made him fall in love with the idea of being disconnected from his feelings) from our liquor cabinet during a weekday afternoon while I ran his siblings to their after school activities.
You see, for my son, drinking was mainly about quelling his low self-esteem and depression. Distancing himself from feeling like he wasn’t good enough. While some of his drinking did take place with other kids at parties, the majority of his intake was a journey he walked alone.
My head had been buried in the sand when he called me asking for help. I questioned my parenting…how did this happen for so long under our roof? He had chosen to move in with his dad at age 18 because he didn’t like our rules, and things got worse.There were signs, I chose to ignore them or write them off. By the time he was 20 I could no longer afford to be blind to the situation. Thank God this was in tandem with his desire live a sober life. When he asked, I answered, and I did not give up on him through the ups and downs of his early recovery.
But that morning, the morning I woke up with a sense of peace, was the day I truly understood a mother’s unconditional love, prayers, and desire to help her child could only go so far toward the outcome. I was not in charge of how my son’s life was going to play out. I could only do my best to love him along the way.
This is a mother’s greatest gift. To love her child no matter what. I thank God each day for the peace of mind in knowing while I am a vital instrument in my children’s lives, I can never confuse this with the illusion of having control over their destiny.
This month, as we celebrate the women who have helped us become who we are today with their words and their actions, I am grateful for my mother’s constant presence and unwavering support in my life and for my son’s continued dedication to fight daily against his addiction. What has your mother said or done in your life to help you become the person you are today?
Kimberly Muench is a Flower Mound mother of five and author of “My Mothers Footprints: A story of Faith, Calm, Courage, Patience and Grace.” To see more of her work or to contact her, visit www.mymothersfootprints.com.