Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Inclement weather, brotherly love

Yesterday we got some freezing rain. Not as bad as the ice storm before Thanksgiving two years ago, but bad enough. I'm pretty sure that I heard a car accident as I was trying to go to sleep last night. (Either that or someone had something in the back of their truck which jumped around making a lot of noise as they skidded.) Even crazier, for the second time this school year the Borough closed the public schools. !!! Unfortunately, the U is still open so it was up and out the door for me. As the person who isn't dependent on a vehicle, and thus icy roads, I need to go to work, otherwise it will be a Big Deal and we'd have to close the office for the day. Since classes start in two days, that would be bad.
Honestly, I shouldn't complain. I'm tired, yes (still not quite recovered from our trip, I think), but I have a three day weekend coming up. It's even lengthened by at least an hour so far because I stayed late yesterday so that my coworker could go home early. She beat rush hour (such as it is here) but it sounds like the roads were already terrible by the time she made it out the door.
My supervisor is out sick, so it might just be me for today, with another 9 hour day.
Because of the crazy weather, because I was home late and needed to get dinner ready and all sorts of other excuses, I didn't call home like I meant to last night. Instead, home called me. The Boy was letting me know that he won't, in fact, be coming back to school this semester. He's had depression for several years and said that he'd been fighting it all last semester. I'd kind of seen that toward the end (kind of, because while I noticed it, I was really hoping that wasn't the problem) and was going to make sure he spoke to one of the counselors on campus this semester. (I don't know if this is common at most colleges, but because depression is so common around here, especially in the winter, there are free counseling services at the U.) Instead, the Boy decided that he'd be better of staying home and speaking with his old counselor, who he already trusts to open up to. I'm just proud that, this time around, he's self-aware enough to seek out the help he needs. This wasn't always the case and it shows that, no matter what, he's doing better than he was several years ago. I hope he knows what progress he's made and is proud of himself. He has a plan and he's working on getting better. And at home, he'll have more support and services than he does here.
I'm also pleased that he finally, finally, opened up to me. He can be so hard to get to know sometimes. He'll talk about surface things, about sports and the statistics he's working on. (For fun, he does sports statistics. In fact, there have been times when he's found problems with ESPN's statistics.) But he doesn't talk about what he goes through, he doesn't talk about things he wants. I know that part of that is being a guy, but it's so much more too. It's just him. But when we talked last night he explained that while I was pushing him to get a job this past semester, he'd start to apply for a job and then part of his brain would say, "Why are you doing that? You're not good enough for that, you don't deserve that. You won't get it anyway so why try? There are better people than you who will get that job." Yep, those are his exact words, and I'm tearing up just writing them. I wish I could make it all better. He's my baby brother. I remember when my mom told us she was pregnant, and the day he was born. I remember deciding not to run away from home because, after all, he was kinda cute, even if he was stealing all the attention I was used to getting. I want to protect him, but I can't keep him safe from what's in his head. What I could do, and did, was assure him that we love him and will miss him. Tell him that he absolutely should not apologize to us (he tried to, for giving us such late notice that he won't be coming back here--he didn't want to "ruin" the holidays by telling us before now), and to give him all the words of love and comfort I could over the phone. It's not a great substitute for being able to actually give him a hug, like I want to, but it'll do for now.


  1. Liz, you have my many virtual hugs (and real ones when I see you) in working through your family matters. I am so proud of you for being there for him, and of him for getting through that huge hurdle of talking about his problems. There are so many resources available to him these days; I really hope he takes advantage of some of them. GOod for you for being such a great big sister.

  2. Thanks, Hannah. I don't really feel like a great sister. I can be way too hard on him sometimes, and there are plenty of times when I haven't tried to understand him. At the very worst, though, I do tell him frequently that I love him.