When Rain Hurts by Mary Evelyn Greene

June 10, 2012

June 9, 2012

Assateague Island, MD (Memorial Day Wknd 2012)

June 9, 2012.  Peter’s home this weekend and something curious has begun.  It’s happened a few times in the past month or two but it’s taken me a while to assimilate this new chapter in our relationship.  A few weeks ago at dinner he reminisced, with more than a dollop of good humor, how he used to be such a bad eater – and misbehave so terribly at the table, that we sometimes resorted to having him eat separately in the dining room.  “But then I just dropped it all on the floor for the dogs!” he laughed.  “There was really nothing you could do.”  His grammar, word choice, and articulation are still works in progress, but this is essentially what transpired.  And then a few days ago, along the same line, he comments, “Can you believe I used to stuff the toilets till they spilled everywhere?  And then make my nose bleed all over me?”  Yes, I can believe it.  I survived those phases and to date, all the others.  The part I can’t believe is that he remembers these destructive patterns and now can laugh about them.  I had no idea he possessed that kind of self-awareness, either then or now.  On days like this I can imagine our son when he’s 22 or maybe 25, a young man with a strong, chiseled body, darkly tanned in the summer, and a mischievous smile that draws women like flies to sugar.  He is handsome, yes, but he is also kind.  He’ll struggle with memory, processing, money management, and, perhaps most worrisome, the ability to distinguish between those who wish him well and those with more predatory intentions.  But I imagine him standing on his own.  He’ll have a job – hopefully in an area that interests him, like video games or landscaping, and with any luck, he’ll be proud of his accomplishments.  I hope he’ll continue to look back on his journey with the same brand of humor he’s demonstrating now, the good-natured ability to acknowledge his past in order to help propel him toward his future.   Miraculously, he regularly proclaims that he intends always to live with his mom, or at least next door, a fact that both astonishes and comforts.  Opening my heart to this child was an intense struggle, the boy who hurt himself as much as – or even more, than he hurt me, but now the door to my affections is swung wide open, and the view grows more spectacular.  As long as I have a home, so do both our children.  The four of us spend the day together lazily, with me doing my best to pry Peter and Sophie away from their cavernous playroom toward the beautiful day outside.  When I finally succeed, I wonder whether my prediction that Peter might like landscaping is too ambitious.  He loves to help outside in the fall and early spring, but I realize now that summer is a different matter.  The insects make him swat and spin and growl with consternation.  He jumps on the trampoline and squeals, his body suddenly arched and rigid, whenever a gnat or fly swirls past.  “I want to go inside!” he howls.  And so I concede.  The presence of insects remains a major sensory problem and creates in him marked over-reactions.  Maybe the bugs – or more like the absence of bugs, are the reason I spend so much effort getting myself and the children to water during the summer, either the town pool, our favorite lake, Mudge Pond, or the ocean. Water is a weapon against the creepy crawlies, at least the kind that dominate the skies.  Plus, the kids and I are as drawn to water as beetles are to my rosebushes.  Pat would rather spend the summer hiking in the mountains, but he’s forever the good sport.  Between Peter’s bug issues, my mangled ankle, and Sophie’s inevitable cries of boredom and exhaustion (that ensue after 10 minutes on the trail), the opportunities are few and far between.  Like all parents, the two of us occasionally wonder when we’ll get to resume, on our own or as a couple, some of the activities we enjoyed pre- children.  Given the dynamics of our family, and our alarmingly increasing ages, it seems possible that “our” time might never come, but that’s okay.  We’re growing, we’re stronger, and we’re seeing progress where before we saw only disaster and hopelessness.  The kind of mountain climbing we do these days is virtual, but there’s no doubt we’ve scaled countless peaks to reach and help Peter, and there’s bound to be more ahead.  We try and will continue to do the same for Sophie, though her needs are subtler and in many ways more tricky to traverse.  But for now, with the bugs filling the airways and the sunny day to lure us along, I think I’ll pack the beach bag, load up the kids, and head to the lake.



  1. It sounds like a corner has been turned and you are on a street leading to a sense of peace. Lovely. 🙂

    Comment by Kathleen — June 10, 2012 @ 9:27 am | Reply

  2. I still love your posts. Love them. You are one of the moms I’ve felt a “virtual connection” with only by way of sentiment. Your words could often be my words. Your days could often be my days. I know you KNOW. What a blessing to have Peter “reminisce.” My Grayson does that sometimes, too. He’s 13 and I now find myself searching his room for sugar and other “contraband” (electronics that don’t belong to us, cell phones– he doesn’t HAVE a cell phone…) etc… and wonder if this won’t be my life into adulthood– the next thing, the next fixation, the next item that’s disallowed (-drugs??). He’s so innocent still, yet so slick. His demeanor and lack of worldliness is sweet, innocent, kind. But, his “hand is quicker than the eye” actions STILL shock me. Thank you for sharing your story. It touches many, I’m sure. ~amy

    Comment by amycdorsey — June 10, 2012 @ 9:45 am | Reply

    • Hang in there, Amy. It so often is all we can do, right? I’m glad you can relate to our story, and now I can relate to yours! I’m just elated that there is some light in ours these days. It gives me confidence and hope for us, for you, and for everyone else who is struggling with these issues.

      Comment by whenrainhurts — June 14, 2012 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

  3. Like Kathleen says – simply lovely.

    Comment by Christopher Duncan — June 10, 2012 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

  4. Mary – we are now at age 26 and there are days – yes even days when my husband and I have our lives back and yes, our daughter does live next door. I am glad your mini-moments are already recognized. Karl and I learned to cherish those early quick moments that began with barely a time to glance between us and continued in projects the children did not want to participate, we worked alongside each other while the kids were nearby. May families with these complex children find those precious moments of love, life and laughter.

    Comment by Jodee Kulp — June 11, 2012 @ 6:02 am | Reply

    • Jodee – believe me, you are a great inspiration and I think of you often (what would Jodee do?) when confronted with one of umpteen difficult decisions. Thanks as always for your continued support.

      Comment by whenrainhurts — June 14, 2012 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

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