My Thanksgiving? The first in a long time with my son … with Oliver. I know that he does not think of himself as my son. But I think of him as nothing else.
My mother and father came. All the way from Chicago. I’m not sure which was more challenging, Oliver or my elderly parents. They wanted to help ease the situation but only exacerbated it.
Dad tried to engage him in conversation, but there was no middle ground. My mother spent her time complimenting Oliver. And Oliver? He kept to a grin, a nod, and short responses.
During the meal, Oliver sat quietly across from me. He was so uncomfortable eating among these strangers. I felt sorry but could do nothing. We made it through dinner. Oliver tried to help with the dishes but I told him he could leave if he wanted.
Oliver’s eyes held such relief at the suggestion. But he said he didn’t want to be rude. With a squeeze of his arm, I assured him that I could take care of everything. Of course, Dad offered to drive him and I saw the absolute terror in Oliver’s eyes at that proposition.
“That’s alright, Dad. It’s dark outside and you know how you are not allowed to drive after dark.”
For just a moment, I felt like Oliver and I were mother and son once more. He looked at me and mouthed “Thank you,” so that Dad couldn’t see.
Yes, when he left, I was relieved. I also felt deep regret and guilt. But, I believe my relief was more for Oliver than myself. He doesn’t know who he is. And forcing him into some false persona must be painful.
I will give him a few days before calling. I know he needs space. And time. Time to heal the rift this bizarre situation has ripped in his soul. It’s just that the mother in me wants to kiss him on the forehead and make it all better.
That is something I miss, fixing everything with a kiss. That hasn’t been so since the angelic music in the desert took away my little boy.