A FAMILY STORY CONTINUES

Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual notebook.

I took a seat at one end of the faded flower couch opposite JK. ABC’s Sunday Evening News with Tom Yamas played on the TV. I picked up my cell phone.

As Hubby alternately worked a sudoku and watched news reports, I texted my older son, Brian. Several years ago, he had said, “Can you text me? It’s easier to text than to talk on the phone.”

Thus, I texted. (Not that he always responded.) On Sunday evenings I got my best conversations, so I picked up my phone and considered how to begin.

Brian coached a hockey team. Since both his sons Wally and Sammy skated on it, I began with a query likely to get a response. “What’s the weekend hockey report?”

Brian replied, “Lost to GR Christian 6-1 and today to Walker 6-3. Both are a tier above us. We played well today.”

I nodded to myself and returned, “Good to hear the team played well. How’s your hip feeling?”

When I last saw Brian, it was four months after his hip replacement surgery and he was still using a crutch. I knew he was off that aid and even wearing his skates to coach.

My son replied, “It’s OK. A bit stiff and sore.”

OK, then… I wrote, “Hang in there. Did Wally play this weekend?”

After touching “send” I paused, remembering last November. After leaving home for over a month, Wally had returned home just before high school hockey try-outs. He had to skate in try-outs even though he had played on the varsity team last year and was assured a slot. He didn’t.

Instead, he chose to play for Brian’s area JV team. I had hoped being together in the game they enjoy would help heal their stressed relationship.

Further, Wally’s actions led me to think he had always wanted to skate for his dad the way his little brother always had.

Over past weeks, Brian had mentioned Wally missed practices. My son had followed the team rules, making the player sit out the appropriate number of game periods. Even though Wally is Brain’s son, he has to treat him like he would any other player.

In response to the question about Wally playing, Brian wrote, “No. Had to kick him off the team. He also left home again.”

I gasped. Again?

JK looked over and raised his eyebrows. I shook my head to him and typed, “What happened this time?”

Brian replied, “He’s got a bunch of growing up to do.”

But what happened? I pursued, “Did Wally lose his temper again?”

My son returned, “Yep. We got into a pretty bad argument. He thinks the world revolves around him.”

I paused. Brian’s evading the details. I sidestepped the tender issue. “How is Sammy doing?”

About his younger son, Brian typed, “He’s surprisingly good. Had a goal and an assist today.”

Sammy

Sammy

Probably better for Sammy to not have his bigger, faster brother on the team.

Turning back to the home situation I typed, “How is your wife taking all this?

Brian said, “Not good. He was being super disrespectful to her. That’s what started the argument with me.”

I remembered years before when he was 18 and left home. Half the time I blamed my ex-husband. The other half I grieved for my lost child. I texted, “I hope she doesn’t blame you.”

Brian replied, “It’s not good. Wally says I’m the reason for all his issues and he is never talking to me again.”

Brian’s hurting. I side-stepped the underlying issue asking a factual question. “Did Wally go back to where he was staying before?”

In a minute, Brian sent a reply. “I don’t know. I thought I was doing everything I could for him. He is super selfish.”

I thought of a possible track scholarship Wally had and typed, “I hope he stays in school.”

Brian said, “I hope so too.”

I took a breath and re-arranged myself on the couch.

I want to be supportive. I texted, “I am sorry for it all. I have been praying for you guys. I will continue. God has a plan. It is important to be open to new outcomes.”

As I hit send, a thought came to me. I typed again, “Is it possible Wally drove out to see your dad?”

The reply was quick. “No. I don’t know where he went. Wally’s been very hurtful to me and, in a way I think it’s better that he’s not here.”

Our conversation ended there. Though I texted my son again two days later, I got no response.

Years ago, my ex-husband had seethed with cold anger and refused to discuss our son. Frowning he had commanded, “Don’t mention that boy’s name to me.” Brian is not like his dad.

Back then, I was sad and either in tears or enduring silent emotional pain. Brian and his wife may be on the same rollercoaster. I took a breath and set my phone aside. Brian had said, “…it’s better he’s not here.” They need a cool-down. The situation can still develop positively.

God had a plan when Brian left home years ago. That plan is not finished. It has a new generation of players and new possibilities. My part is to be supportive and to pray for the highest good.

May it be so!

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