I have read with interest and a touch of wistfulness the stories many of you have posted about the accomplishments of your children. Some of you are looking forward to the graduation ceremonies you will soon be attending. I share your joy with a heavy heart.
I have three children of my own. My daughter teaches high school social studies in Sheboygan and has been taking part in the protest demonstrations in Madison. I also have two sons.
My younger son was pegged as gifted in third grade when his IQ tested at 141. He was a good student who would eventually choose to forego college. He was a drummer in a rock band. Now, as an adult, he works in the shipping department at Lowes. He spends his days on the computer placing orders. In the evenings he teaches ballroom dancing. When I moved to Wisconsin, I sold my house to him. I would have to say that he seems happy. He skis in winter and enjoys outings to the river or bay in summer.
My other son was a classic example of an ADD child. In kindergarden, he climbed into the ductwork on a dare. His teacher left the profession after that year. He grew into a tall, good-looking adult with broad shoulders and a muscular build.
He was a gifted guitar player whose skill was written up in rock music publications. He was still in junior high school when we began getting calls from the police. By high school, he was skipping school to smoke pot and was well on his way to becoming an alchoholic.
He began to experiment with cocaine while in his twenties. His music fell by the way. The downward spiral was precipitous and painful to watch. He stole from all of us every chance he got. Our possessions kept disappearing. Every time he called or stopped in it was to ask for money
As his addiction deepened, he became filthy with hair down to his waist. I cringed every time the police showed up at our door. It was painful to see him in handcuffs or an orange prison jumpsuit. Who was this automaton seeking the drug who had seemed like such a joyful child?
When his father died of throat cancer, he gave the eulogy and then lit up a cigarette afterwards. Eventually he turned away from drug use but still drinks and smokes. I have often thought that he would have been a good teacher. He is wonderful with children, and his nieces and nephews are all crazy about him. He works as a nanny/housekeeper now for his half sister who works all day. They call him Alice (from The Brady Bunch).
I would have wished for better lives for my two sons, but maybe that's just a mother's ambition talking. I always though my younger son would go to Harvard or MIT. As for my older son, when I think of him I picture him chasing butterflies across a flower-carpeted meadow with his golden curls backlit by the warm summer sun.