Oldest struggles on. He added to his wall collage but I am not sure if he did it for himself, or for me.
"Who’se it for?" is always a useful question for a mother to ask.
In this case, he might add to his collage for himself, because he feels compelled in his struggle against his depression to create some art. These drawings are made on the backs of letters that colleges have sent to him.
Or he might add to his collage for me, because he senses the difficulty I am having tolerating the uncertainty of his depression. Then his addition is a gift to me, or to placate me, or because he feels I cannot stand it. And if the mother cannot stand it, whatever it is, the child knows in his bones that he has no chance of standing it.
When I ask him every day, "How is your mood?", am I asking for me, pressing upon him the not-so-subtle idea that it is time he GET OVER IT because he is making me too anxious? Or is my question a genuine reflection of my wish to be a home for his feelings, whatever they are?
If I am truthful, I have to admit that my intentions are probably mixed. When I am anxious, I tilt toward my fear. When I am confident, I tilt toward my wish.
But I am quite sure that my intentions in asking are far less important than how my question feels to him. It is good he is old enough to ask.