welcome to the danger zone

motherhood doesn’t have an expiration date.

I doubt I’ll be sleeping anytime soon, so I might as well write. It always amazes me the way things happen and what they teach you. A few weeks ago, I thought life was going pretty smooth – I thought well maybe this is where things normal out, maybe I am finally getting to status quo and maybe I can sort out the mass destruction that is my home. I thought wow, I don’t have any massive trauma in my life that is fueled by drama. For one millisecond, I regretted the relative quiet.

Then shit fell apart. Andy had an accident. We scramble for a rental. I have no money, again. We run out of oil in the middle of one of the coldest nights of the year. The cable, landline, and internet get turned off. The cell phones are perilously close to the same fate. I have car insurance to pay. There’s snow everywhere. Life seems familiarly dramatic. My mood is stable, I’ve got my effexor, vodka for relaxing and chocolate. I can deal, like usual. Like usual, I take it in stride.

The next part of this is brutally honest. It is truly painful. And I can’t believe that I am going to post this shit and let people read it. But like the last time it happened, if it makes a difference for one other person, I’m okay with it. So here goes – about 9:30p, the front door opens, and Andy is home. Not that unusual, because Amazon gets slow this time of year, and he gets voluntary time off. He comes in and heads straight to the bathroom. I’m watching Best Ink, and not really paying attention, but then I realize he has been in there for an hour. And there’s no sound. So I go knock on the door. No answer. I pound. No answer. I yell. No Answer. Then I try the door. I can’t get it open. He is dead weight in front of the door and not responding. Adrenalin kicks in and I push it open a few inches and all that goes through my head is: overdose. He’s dead. My son’s dead. I push hard and he starts to move. He’s not making sense and I finally get through enough to see him. He’s been passed out on the floor, half dressed, vomit all over the bathroom, and he’s incoherent. He can’t fucking see straight and he’s asking me why I am freaking out. Dread is overtaken by a cacophony of emotions: rage, sadness, fear, bewilderment, and sorrow. I finally think I understand shock. I make him get up off the floor. He’s got puke on him and he reeks of whiskey. I am terrified he’s taken something. He tells me he’s fine, and to stop freaking out, and by this time I’m on my knees sobbing in relief and anger, just repeating ohmygod, over and over. It was like seeing myself doing it. He did it again. He not only got wasted to the point of unconsciousness, but he drove 20 miles home on a windy road after drinking, and who knows what else? And you want to know why I favor marijuana legalization? Because I would never have to worry about my kid smoking too much pot and choking from vomit in an unconscious state. I regain enough sense to make sure the car isn’t crashed into something or someone. I tell him to clean up the puke and get a shower, and just keep crying. Sobbing really. I tell him to get in shower. He doesn’t even know where he is at.

Eventually he semi-cleans up the puke and gets a shower. Then he tries to go to bed upstairs. I’m terrified he is on something else, but he swears he was just drinking. I am terrified to let him sleep and at the same time I just wish he would go lie down so he stops trying to tell me I am overreacting. He doesn’t get that I just thought he was dead on the floor, because it was just every overdose scene you’ve ever seen in any movie. Sid and Nancy, Less Than Zero. Okay, I’m showing my age, but you get it. I beg him to sleep downstairs on the couch because I know I won’t sleep until I know he is still breathing, and I can easily check on him. I am still terrified. I am afraid he’s lying about just drinking. I wish I didn’t feel that way. I wish I could just chuck it off to youthful indiscretion. I wish. I know what my youth was like. But being a mom changes all that. I thought I lost the only really good thing in my life. And when faced with that, the only thing you can feel is that your world has just ended.

And then I sat here. And I just wanted to talk to someone. And that’s when everything got worse. I realized there is no one I feel comfortable enough waking up in the middle of the night to listen to me cry about how I thought I lost my son. Sure, I have plenty of friends I will tell tomorrow, but at 11:30p I couldn’t think of anyone. So here I am. Looking at all the yarn I got out to ask him what colors he wanted me to use to make the new hat he asked me to make him yesterday. Wondering what I did wrong that he’s done this not just once, but twice, and just grateful he’s not dead. My heart is still pounding in my chest, my face is scratched from wiping my tears with paper towels and I am terrified to actually go into the bathroom to see what a mess he left behind. And crying. I can’t stop crying.

So yeah, if you are one of my younger friends, think about it before you drink til you puke. Somebody might not be around to check on you when you are passed out on your bathroom floor. And for my other friends, I hope you never have to deal with what I just did. I thought it would get easier when they grow up. It doesn’t. 22 years later, it’s sometimes harder than ever.


2 responses

  1. Jana

    I might not understand this particular scenario, but I do understand motherhood. Here’s hoping that today you have a very remorseful, but still very much alive, child who just maybe can “get it” this time.

    20 February 14 at 6:33 am

  2. May I promote this on my twitter?

    21 February 14 at 2:59 pm

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