My son said I need to go out and speak out - use my voice.

Kyle Roberts-my Baby Boy
This year I am experiencing many changes in my life.
My youngest has graduated from high school and is about to head off out into the world for a career in music.
With him will go his best friend Gabe and also my eldest son Justin. The trio will travel down to Memphis and Kyle will do what he does best.
He will perform the music of his soul...Blues, Jazz and  some Folk music. There will also be some Adult Contemporary. With Kyle, it is wherever his emotions take him.
It is music that will give the listener a glimpse into who he is and the life he has walked these past 18 years.

Justin Roberts- my 1st Baby Boy
I am an extremely proud mother.
I am also a little apprehensive as this is the first time ever I will be separated from my children.
Both at the same time. An empty nester, literally, overnight.

All of this is hitting as some other stressors pile on. God is testing my strength this coming winter and on just about every front.
I feel a little lost. Or, I should say, I've been feeling a little lost.
Our little team is moving on to new endeavors.
Kyle with his music.
Justin with finally being able to live somewhere there's a community of others living freely out at a member of the LGBT community.
He will have a shot at life and love.
And Gabe, he's been part-time member of our team pretty steady now for the past 3 years. He will be testing out his wings.

Being there for them and working as best as I could to keep all fed with a roof over our heads has been my main role in life since August of 2007.
I am not even sure where the time has gone. We've been treading water so hard and long that I am only now starting to realize how tired I am.
What will I do?
Sure I have my job at the paper and yes, that does fill up a lot my time.
However, there is a part of me that feels like there is so much more I need to do.

My boys and I talk just about everything. We have very open and honest communication.
The other day as Kyle and I were driving this topic came up.
First, he made sure to tell me that once he can he would bring me down to them and I would never have to work again.
I love my sons. Hopefully, his path does take off to greatness, but as I told him, I would still need my own purpose.

"Mom, you need to tell your story. You need to become a speaker. Go out and tell it."

My story is also their story, at least it contains their childhood and all the things that happened to us after domestic violence entered our lives on top of all the things that happened to me growing up way too early for any child to experience.

"You sure you want me out there talking about what happened? Everything with your father? Kyle, are you sure? You're going to be out in the public eye now more than ever. Do you want that all connected to you?" I asked.

Kyle responded with, "Mom, it's the truth. It is what happened. It is why we have the lives we do."

"I do dream about completing my #WhenIBecameFree project. But, it's not like I can hop in my car. The damn thing just went to toast."

Yes, once again I have car issues. That has been one of the main barriers I keep running into to complete my project. Kinda hard to leave the county when the car keeps breaking down every month - and now it's for good. The burial at the salvage yard is on the slate for next week.

"I'm leaving you the van. We've discussed it and we decided we can't leave you like this. We're not leaving you without a vehicle. It is decided."

The van is a 1996 Dodge something or other conversion van he recieved in a trade with another musician who has a band. Believe me when I tell you that the van has a story of its own. When he took possession  of the thing it was probably 2 weeks before the odor dissipated and I felt safe using it and not worrying about running into the K9 Unit when I was out and about covering stories for the paper.

Tears welled up in my eyes. It hit me that all these years of work and raising the boys we've been just skirting by.  I felt like we should not have been even having this conversation. That I should have been able to accomplish so much more than I had. There should have been savings, a college fund, and emergency money but there wasn't. Not a penny. I felt guilty that I couldn't write a check out for them to secure a place in Memphis to start out at. I felt like a failure. Mother's guilt but then I turned and looked at Kyle and saw the man my baby boy grew into. He is not only tall and handsome filled with talent but he is also a compassionate human being who in his 18 years has accomplished more than most.  I thought about Justin and all the hurdles he faces every day with not only having special needs but also being openly gay in a rural conservative area. I realized how brave he is. Their childhood and their outcome as young adult men is something to be proud of and it is a story that should be told.

I've told it here and there in the pages of my blog. This journal I've kept since 2008 and allowed strangers to read. I realized it is a compelling story worthy to be told in the entirety. There's a reason we've been given the task to overcome so much. Our little team is quite the spectacle once you get a glimpse into our lives. If you add to the story my friend Steve and how he entered our lives, well, you'd be amazed how surreal and quite frankly amusing it all is.

Kyle and I reminisced about some of those stories, the memories. It wasn't long before we were cracking up. "No one would believe all of this, Kyle." I said.

"Go tell them, Mom."

I've noticed that since we've had that conversation I am finding my voice once again. Each time I use it I do find I come alive and this life I've walked seems to have a meaning and purpose of it's own. Almost like every time Kyle picks up that guitar of his and just plays out the emotions he is feeling, people are drawn to him and the music he creates - There is a reason he is able to do that without being able to read music, no formal lessons, but still can pick up an instrument and play it like he had been trained to do so.

Perhaps this time the timing is right. Maybe this time if I go with the natural flow it all will fall into place.

Maybe my son is right, I need to go out and speak out - use my voice.

Did I mention how proud I am of my sons?

For my sons....


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