So, my son lives with now. He’s 26 years old and is a professional photographer (who, by the way, is freaking amazing!) and needs to put his money into his equipment which means living on his own isn’t possible right now. Previously, he lived in Texas for 3 years, and even though I went down to see him a few times a year, it wasn’t the same as having him close by. Having him here right now is special to me…it’s like we’re catching up on lost time.
But. And there’s always a ‘but’, isn’t there? We are 2 adults, with very different personalities, who are sharing a house, kitchen, shower, food, etc. and there’s bound to be difficulties.
I know I’m not easy to live with. Sometimes I hate living with myself! Having bipolar means I’m very unpredictable. I don’t care how ‘stable’ one is with this illness, there is still ups and downs, and I’m sure it’s very hard for my son to know what ‘ma’ he’s dealing with day to day. There are days I’m laughing. There are days I’m crying. There are days when I’m so tired or crazed or impulsive that figuring me out is probably next to impossible. I get that. I really do. And I admire him for being able to adapt to what woman I happen to be that day.
Yet sometimes my son isn’t easy to live with either. He’s a 26 year old young man, who has lived on his own since he was 18. He’s used to his independence and being able to have his home his particular way. He’s also starting a business that requires so much marketing, web site work, along with mastering the use lighting, film development, and editing. In addition to all of this, he’s scared. Scared of taking this chance and making this work. So much is riding on making this business a success.
I’m so proud of him for doing this though! Taking this risk and putting everything he has in it – money, time, energy – is stressful, and I tend to forget that. I forget that this stress affects him, which can make his mood unpredictable as well. Like me, he has great days when things seem to be in place, and hard days when he questions his work and wonders if he’s made the right decision.
Together, we can be awesome! There’s no one I’d rather spend time with and his sense of humor, his ideas, the way we can joke about things is so fun! On the flip side though, we can also be volatile! Two different adults, with different ways of communicating, different ways of dealing with conflict, different ways of seeing the world. When this happens, there are hurtful words exchanged with feelings damaged and tears flowing.
But you know. That’s OK. We can’t grow as adults without resolving these issues. Without using conflict as a way to move forward in our relationship as grown ups. With our contrasting personalities, and my mental illness, conflict is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to pull us apart. Conflict can aid in more understanding of one another, more compassion towards one another’s needs, more depth in our connection. Something I think we both want. And need.
All I know is this: my son is my heart. Truly. Having this time with him, watching him build something that’s uniquely his using a talent I could see in him when he was only a few years old, and experiencing his growth as a man is worth any arguments we might encounter along the way.