A mom in a support group I belong to posted recently asking for help to try and figure out why her son might be experiencing depression and listlessness after a long period of stability. She was perplexed because, after spending time in a residential program over a year ago, he’d done well in school, graduated, spent time overseas teaching children to read and write in a Third World country, and is currently working on college applications. Several group members offered ideas and asked questions; but I couldn’t, because I was angry. I was jealous.
I wish those were the problems that Tim had, but there was no way I could say anything because, in the back of my throat waited a, “ha!” – the sort of sound Ally Sheedy’s character made in The Breakfast Club when the kids were all talking about the problems they had at home.
And like that character, while I can sympathize with my peers, sometimes, I wish I had their problems. I wish Tim could graduate high school. Hell – I wish he could make change for bills bigger than a dollar. I wish he didn’t struggle so hard to read books with chapters. I wish he could go to the grocery store on his own, let alone another country.
On the flip side, Tim knows what he wants to do when he grows up – he wants to work with shelter dogs, the ones people give away as hopeless, too much trouble, or lost causes. He knows what makes him happy, and what makes him anxious or depressed. And he knows who he can talk to when he’s feeling that way. And that is a gift.