When My Son Hits Me

The world is falling apart.
Bombs whistling down,
Broken people
Never to be fixed.
None of it matters to me.
Right now, right here,
in this place
on the floor
As I sweat and struggle,
Arms grappling to grasp the body of my child –
my child in the body of a man,
a body whose strength nearly matches mine,
a body ready to strike,
a fist that has already punched me in the face,
a mind burning with panic and fury.

He hits me, I say.
It happens when he gets mad.
We are working on it.
There is help for that, she says, and sips her coffee.
You’re not alone.
Call this number.
Try this place.
They will help.
Not my husband, I say.
It’s my son.
Oh, she says. And then she is silent.
I am alone.

I know I’m not.
Not alone, that is.
There is help for that, and we have sought it.
Beyond the therapist’s office,
neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend,
full of shame,
I have whispered my story.
Sometimes I even find
the other mothers who fill their days
watching, waiting, wondering:
What will happen next?
Can I head off the next explosion?
Why didn’t I see this storm coming?
Is my baby safe in another room?
What is this doing to my middle child?
What kind of life is this?
Will I ever feel normal?
And most of all:
Why him, Hashem, why him?

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These questions do not matter.
Right now, right here,
in this place
on the floor,
in a mist of sweat and tears,
with my arms around my child,
keeping him as safe as I can.
I hate you, he snarls, as I
pant with the effort of keeping him still.
I feel like you’re giving up on me.
Never, I reply. Never.


NOTE: Hevria is launching a new site called Neshamas this week for people who wish to submit anonymous posts with looser publication requirements. But we will still be publishing anonymous posts here, so please feel free to continue submitting them to us.