One of the FOMLs is struggling with a particularly stubborn case of shingles. Yet this is not a post about how life is unfair - because this disease would certainly apply, especially for a kid. It is miserable. He has been in so much pain - unable to sleep, unable to attend school, heavily medicated, etc.
We have taken him to doctors, and have tried traditional and not-so-traditonal means to help him - some work better than others. We have turned to all the spiritual solutions available to us. It has been difficult for him, and frustrating for all of us.
For those who don't know about shingles, one of the aggravating factors is stress. The more you worry about it, and the more the pain stresses your body and mind, the worse the symptoms get. Think pouring kerosine on a fire.
I'm not telling you this for advice on how to treat the condition, merely to help you understand a conversation we had with him on Sunday night.
It was strange conversation, which I doubt will ever happen again. Here is what I told my son:
Number One: We want you to care less. We want you to stop worrying so much about school, about your teachers, about your grades. Stop worrying about your homework, your GPA, and eventually getting into college. Right now we don't care about those things, and don't want you to care about them either. So when thoughts of make-up work, and tests come up, just change the subject and think about something else.
The day will come when it will matter again, but that time is not now. We will cross that bridge at a later date. So, for now, take it easy. Watch TV, read books, listen to music, and play video games.
Number Two: Your Mom and I have studied, and spoken to people, and taken you everywhere we can think of. We've got nothing else.
So, as your parents, we are sorry to tell you that we have no idea what we are doing, and we are completely out of our depth. We are doing our best, but we've got no answers for you.
In review, we want you to quit worrying about school, and remember that we don't know what we are doing.
Rest assured that you will probably never hear these words come out of my mouth again.
We love you. And now I need to go wash my mouth out with soap.