Sep 7, 2008

The Wall

In the running world, the wall is a term used to describe a barrier that you come up against where you find yourself without anymore energy, the legs suddenly turn to mush, the wind isn't there, and things just start to seem like they are all falling apart at the same time. Generally, the wall is at mile 20 of a marathon. I have hit it sooner, sometimes not hitting it all all when running. It depends on what race I was doing, and how hard I was pushing myself.

For me, the wall I have just hit hasn't been running, it is Senior year for Skyler.

For quite a long time now there hasn't been a whole lot that has been going right. There are a lot of little things that contribute to the overall collapse. I left my old company of Sun Micro because of the constant fear of layoffs, now it has found me at my new place. We just let go a bunch of writers to send their jobs overseas.

I have been fighting back pain for years, the result of an old injury and the constant pounding of running. That has recently become worse, combined with a shoulder surgery that seems to be taking forever to heal.

Then there is my marriage, which often can't really be described as a marriage so much as roommates both living together trying to raise a child. I think both of us have kind of given up.

I tell you all this not to ask for pity, because I have it a whole lot better than most. But it is all the stuff that sits below the surface and accumulates, waiting for the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back.

For all of Skyler's life, we have constantly been advocating for a better life for him, more inclusion in day to day activities, to be with his typical peers in school, and for whatever respect we could try and find for him. We have battled with a school system that is one of the worse in our area, if not the country, and not asked for anything that would have cost them a dime. All equipment, communications device, laptop, whatever else we thought would improve his chances at success we have foot the bill. All that they have provided was his aide to get him around and assist him in his day to day needs.

It has always been a fight - for everything. But we do it because it's what all parents do, they want the best for their kid. And now we finally have one thing set up that we have been trying for years to get, a video class that would be of interest to Skyler because that is his one true love.

Sounds great, right? Right up to the point where Skyler decides that he doesn't want to do it. No explanation from him. He is just being a little shit, only wants to have his own time at home and doesn't want to work at school. So now, the school gets to point and say, "See, we told you he couldn't do it."

That was it, the straw on the camel, or the wall on the run.

I have given up, if he wants to sit around with us the rest of his life playing on the computer, watching his DVDs, then fuck it all, let him.

These last years of high school have sucked, and he has become a real pain, a whiner, and even when people have reached out to him (like Ravens kids), he just doesn't care. I know he is a teen, with all that comes with adolescence, but he has to try a bit.

And so I post stupid videos, jokes, and crap to try and find humor in my life when I want to just run away.

So to return to the running metaphor, I hit the wall, now what? I am going sit sit on the curb awhile and cry. Cry about what has been and what may have been.

Then try and get up and walk. Bear with me for awhile if you don't mind, I will pop in here and there, but right now, I am sitting on the curb.


  1. I'll sit with you until you finish and get back up.

  2. Hey, brother-- you aren't alone!

    To play devil's advocate a little, can I point out that he's being a pretty normal teenager with his behavior?

  3. Sit on the curb as long as you need to.

    And I agree with Johnny. Teenagers are alike all over!

  4. I can only imagine all the stuff you have had to face raising a challenged child. I have a cousin who was born deaf but that is another can of worms all together. Instead of sitting on the curb, take a drive up Long's Peak. Find a quiet turnout, stop the car and just scream for a while, as loud as you can. I have tried it and it is very cathartic. Hang in there as best you can. You have done a fabulous job for a long time.

  5. Anonymous8:07 PM

    Sometimes all you can do is sit on the curb. I'll be on the corner until you get up. Wait...that didn't sound right.

    Good thoughts going your way, my friend.

  6. We're standing here on the sides waiting to cheer you on whenever you get up again. And you will. That's what the champs do.

    You've earned a rest, my friend. And then some.

  7. My heart goes out to you. But as a runner, you know there are there a tough races to run, and you have signed on for the toughest race I could think of. Catch your breathe. The race will still be there when you rise to your feet. You have much more stamina than you know. Just catch your breathe. I have the Rocky theme qued up, just tell me when to drop the needle.

    Take care old friend,

  8. I'll bring the refreshments


  9. My heart goes out to you, SD. I wish I could do or say something to help. It would be great to know you have support in your wife or extended family?!?! But it's got to be hard knowing Skyler is so dependent on you and probably will be for the rest of his days.

    Hugs and some beer, coming your way.

  10. Hang in there buddy. I recommend watching the movie "Run, Fatboy, Run." It takes on the wall in a wonderful way. Plus it's funny and it sounds like you could use a laugh.

  11. It's so hard to roll with teen hormones. The flood of self-consciousness, especially for a young man who looks different from his peers, is a hell of a wild card. Without even half the challenges you have, I find it tough going.

    But being strong doesn't mean you can't drop the load and just take a breath for yourself. I started walking up and down our mountain, mowing the lawn in the dead heat, any number of other things to vent my own frustrations. And then my body beat the shit out of me for it.

    At this age, we have to find new ways to make peace. I'll be praying for more tailwind for you on your way.

    You're doing what you can with the hand you've been dealt. Nothing more is (or can be) required of you. I hope you take the full breath you need.

  12. This will probably be hailed as the gayest comment I will ever leave anywhere, but all I want to do right now after reading this is throw my arms around you.

    I usually consider this series of pipes and tubes that connect us all to be a godsend -- I can leave my real life for a short while and get a lighthearted, jovial little break from it all. But sometimes, like now, I curse the very nature of this technology, what with its inherent keeping everyone at arms- (and often countries-) length.

    I dunno. There are times when my pretend internet heart of coal can't suppress the desires of my real-life heart of gold.

    I just wanna give you a hug. As gay as that sounds, and for whatever its worth.

    You are in my thoughts.

  13. Take your time -- we'll be here for you whenever you're ready.

  14. I couldn't love you more right now. I want to give you a big Bugs Bunny kiss on the lips!

  15. Anonymous9:07 PM

    I think Falwess said it so beautifully. What a wonderful group of support. I would love to join in, but I can not. I am not allowed, I guess - bu

    Instead, let me say that I am here. I care. You have to be o.k., because I need you to be o.k. Do you understand me? I really need for you to be *o.k.*, so please make that happen. Try really, really hard.

    The light will shine through the clouds. It comes. It always comes. Look for it. It is there.

    Look for options. They are there, no matter how much you want to be cynical, just look for it. Then, when you are ready, you will see options in your life. Trust me, I know.

    Thanks for putting yourself out there. I knew the jokes were covering up big, important, deep stuff, and I am glad you have faced it with us behind you.

    Please, please keep us up to date. I say this because I know how I often choose not to post because I don't have anything "happy" to say. I feel like shit and I feel like a loser if I don't "put on a happy face".

    F*CK that! Open up and let it out. There are wonderful people that REALLY care.

    Like me. I REALLY care.

    It will work out. You will make choices. Things will happen. It will work out because you have a purpose in this life. We need you.

    Have Faith. It is really hard, I know. Have faith.

    Sorry I'm such a damn sappy, gay, idiot, but I care in more ways than you will ever imagine.

    I'll be looking for you. Come back when you can. We all need you to come back and let us know what is going on.

    ((((hugs))))) from a big gay sappy idiot!

  16. You're too much a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy to let the wall get you for too long. Sorry to hear about the layoffs - that's like "here we go again" eh?

    I hope Skyler changes his mind soon!

    Oh, and hugs, kisses and Guinness to you!

  17. Dude, I'm widcha. I just shelled out 65% of my month's income to go to my soon-2B-ex, who bitched up a storm that the whole thing didn't arrive on the 1st of the month.

    I've had to borrow an astronomical amount of cash to pay for a retainer on a lawyer, and I've got a horrible feeling my S-2B-X is just gonna say, 'fugghitt, I'll see you in court', knowing that there's NO WAY IN HELL I can afford a $5,000 retainer to be represented by an attorney in court.

    I probably just overdrafted my account buying birthday presents for my son Solenbum who turns 6 on Thursday-- and I won't be there for his birthday but will still be 1,000 miles away in NY living in a 7' x 12' closet. With no water-- the goddamned cistern went dry this AM while I was covered with soap and shampoo.

    I bought Sol some misc stuff from the $1 store and it made me feel like absolute shit knowing that he's gonna get Really Good Stuff from his mom (with my $$$, but she's not going to tell HIM that) and from his grandparents. MY stuff is going to look like pathetic lil' trinkety-crap compared to it, AND, like I said, I ain't a gonna BE there.

    I had a job interview 2 weeks ago where I COULD have been working with Our Girl Flannery, and they gave the job to someone else. Goddamned job coulda' fixed ALL my problems.

    So, friend, move your ass over 'cuz I'm sittin' down and crying WITH you, I'll try not to wipe my nose on your shirt.

    (my point? I TOTALLY grok where UR comin' from, and sitting on the curb is THE Right and Proper thing to do right now. SO is comin' right out to your bloggin' fambly and saying, '4-some Guinness videos aside, things just SUCK right now...' I'm glad U did. I think just DOING that might make U feel better... in a few days...)

  18. I'm here through Falwless...just wanted to send good thoughts your way. I hope things look up soon. My children are young, but I have lots of friends who have teenagers, and they break your heart just have to give them the best you have and then let them make their own way. Sounds like you have done that and are doing that. Hope you're feeling better soon.

  19. Just to start, you know I love you most of all. You are my brother and my friend. Maybe it's time for you to be more Chris and a little less Skyler's Dad. I know his needs are greater and more challanging than the norm, but you have those needs also. You have been last for a very long time. You need to be first or atleast second for awhile. Let me help!
    All my love


  20. I am sitting right beside you and the Cap'n. Thank you for reminding me that my oxygen mask must be put on first.


    LK had to train the people that took his job to India. Good times, good times.

    Pass me a beer.

  21. Wow; what a touching post. You are an inspiration to me even while you are sitting on the curb contemplating the wall. I don't know you very well, but I feel confident you will get back up and moving because it just seems that a guy like you won't be able to sit still over the long haul.

    Best wishes and Guiness,


  22. There's no way around it - life is both fantastic and a real pain in the ass. Often at the same time.

    Hang in there!

  23. Fuck! I am so sorry you are in such a place. I have nothing interesting to say to make it better.

    I'm having a difficult time myself, which I can't post about on my blog (and really, when compared to how well you meet *your* daily challenges would just be embarrassing anyway), but things really will work out for you, I'm sure.

    And I can't think of anything more normal than for Skyler to be the most insolent little shit imagineable--HE'S A TEENAGER AND WILL DRIVE YOU FUCKING INSANE. THAT IS HIS JOB.

    But I hope you cheer up soon, you deserve to be happy.

  24. So much love and support here already, how about a little more? I don't have teenagers so I don't know what that's like. I do have preschoolers who are driving me to drink and who will undoubtably turn into said teenagers from hell. I don't know what it's like to have such a challenged child. I do know that you and your wife/roommate are doing the best you can to give your son the best life he can possibly have, and I do know how easy it is to lose track of yourself once you become a parent.

    You are certainly allowed to sit on the curb as long as you like. Just remember that winter is right around the corner and that curb will make your ass really cold, so layer up. Maybe some of the love here will warm you up a bit.

  25. I'm sorry you are so down, but it is completely understandable. I know very well that what you do every day is amazing and at times heart (and back) breaking. I watched my parents go through similar shenanigans with my sister, who also needed constant care and attention, which multiplied 100 fold when she became a teenager. I'm sending you my best good vibes and hope that soon it will all be ok enough for you to find the strength to get back up again. Do whatever you need to do and know that there are many people out here in the world that have you on our minds.

  26. Anonymous11:58 PM

    Listen to Sandi

  27. goes to show you have done a fantastic job raising him -- he is rebeling, in the only way he knows how -- he is a teenager.

    it just is tough because you have worked so hard to make the best for your child -- and it hurts when they basically give you the finger.

    but that is what kids, all kids do at some point. and of course you take it to heart - you love your child.

    like all the above comments, we are here sitting on the curb with you, telling a few jokes, shrugging shoulders and just making sure you know this is only a temporary wall.

    you have done more than most people -- and in the end all the good comes back.

    hang in there pal, and let me know if i can be an ear


  28. I'm still here. Pass me another beer.

  29. S.D.-
    One of the things I never expected when I started my blog was a support system. It's really a wonderful thing that I was reminded of while reading all these comments. This really is a great group of people we've all stumbled upon, huh? As you can see, there are a lot of us out here who are pulling for you and want good things for you. Take your time. We'll all be looking forward to your return.

    Your friend,

  30. Anonymous5:46 PM

    Aw, fuckity fuck, dude. I hear what you're saying about your spouse being a room mate you raise a kid with. Sometimes I feel like that, and I know the Mailman does, too. Sorry you are in such a bad place right now.

  31. What great responses you've gotten. I'll be here waiting to read what you write. I think we all hit walls in our life. Your life is just so much harder than most of ours.

    Hang in there.


  32. You've been fighting an honourable battle for going on twenty years, anyone with half a notion of common sense understands that it's okay to give up and sit down for a bit and respects the struggles you've fought through to get here. Good luck to you.