Joy will burn out the pain.

Journal Entry: May 27, 2014

At the very top of my list of things that give me joy, are my children. Without hesitation, they are the best gifts I have ever been given. I just returned from my older son’s college graduation. He will be called The Pragmatist. In the end, The Pragmatist not only graduated from a really wonderful college, with honors, but he also applied himself, involved himself in campus committees and activities, and enjoyed himself along the way, and this past weekend, it showed. He was surrounded by friends and family who adore him. He is a renaissance man, a lover of people, a respecter of the human spirit. He is practical and thoughtful. He loves to cook and entertain. He loves music and literature. He loves the outdoors and embraces the fragile nature of his eco system. He is a lover of life, and a giver of happiness and joy. Can you tell? I cherish him.

I spoke to The Pragmatist last week, in preparation for his graduation weekend. I could tell he was a little stressed out. Mainly stressed out by wanting to make the most of his last few days at a college he adores, and where he has resided for the past four years, even through a couple of their hot, humid summers. He wanted to be able to spend time with all his roommates and their families, and all the friends gathering at his house for the graduation festivities, not to mention with us, once we arrive. He was anticipating 20 or so alumni and friends to stay at and around (tents spotted the backyard when we arrived) his rental house near campus. We talked about the schedule. He had made dinner reservations at his favorite nearby French restaurant for the night before graduation. He was planning a big brunch at his house for everyone after graduation. No wonder he was stressed. That’s a lot of responsibility for a 22 year old kid at his own graduation. I approached the subject of his grandparents, the in-laws and explained our anxiety, just so he would be aware if we kind of seemed freaked out at one point or another. Thankfully, The Pragmatist understands and was handling it. He had spoken with the in laws and found out that they were arriving the night before the graduation, would not be available for dinner at the restaurant, they were planning to go to The Pragmatist’s house for brunch, and then leave directly afterward. What great news. Their not making it to the somewhat intimate dinner the night before at the fancy French Restaurant took a huge amount of pressure off us. Big sigh of relief for my husband and me. Now all we had to deal with was the graduation and the brunch. Things were looking up.

As it turns out, The Pragmatist orchestrated things so that he would not host brunch at his house after the graduation, instead, he would host dinner at his house and he would take the grandparents to a friend’s house for brunch. That way, we could be on our own for lunch and return to his house later in the day for dinner, after the grandparents had left town. So now, all that was left, was the graduation itself. In the end, The Pragmatist handled the graduation deftly as well. My mother in law must always have the best seat in the house, so in the case of the graduation, she decided to arrive three hours before graduation and plant herself right in the middle of one of the first rows in front of the podium. We arrived much later and pulled some chairs into the shade along the side, and after all the anxiety and preparation with multiple therapist involvement and planned responses, we never spoke to them. There were a lot of people at the graduation. We never even saw the in laws, which is absolutely unbelievable as my mother-in-law’s hair is sort of a bright orange color. Frankly, I didn’t even look for her. After graduation we took some pictures with our son, and scooted off to lunch and then back to our hotel for a nap before dinner.

We ended up having the most joyful family weekend together. The weather was gorgeous, The Pragmatist was an adept and gracious host, the graduation was inspirational, and even though we were in the same tiny college town with the in laws, thousand of miles from home, we did not even see them. I also managed to get through almost the entire long weekend without a break down, almost. At four and a half months post dday, I guess I can’t expect miracles. I was the happiest I have been in a long, long time.

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” -Joseph Campbell

6 thoughts on “Joy will burn out the pain.

  1. Your son sounds like the kind of young man any mother would be proud of. You’ve done a superb job, and how well he handled the extra tensions. I know you will have told him how well he did, and how much you appreciated his deft hand. Well done, Mom xxx.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you have time, there are a few entries about the in-laws on my blog. I am still new to this. I should go back and add a category for them. They are probably currently categorized as “family.” I could actually do an entire blog (or book) about my 30 years with the in-laws… maybe I still will. My mother-in-law is a narcissist. Her children all suffer from addictions and personality disorders. One committed suicide four years ago. I have been enlightened over the years about how truly destructive narcissism can be. I know it all sounds so dramatic, which I guess it kind of is. I had no idea at 20 years old when I fell in love with my husband, that things would turn out the way they have. We no longer have contact with my in-laws and I am truly hoping for a much easier, more peaceful, more introspective final chapter to my life, hopefully with my husband. He has a lot of work to do. Now that he has been outed, he can no longer hide behind childhood wounds and be an abuser. He knows this. I hope he rises to the occasion.

      Liked by 1 person

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