DEAR ABBY: My 15-year-old son will be entering 10th grade. He has been a member of the school band since sixth grade. After performing in last year's Christmas parade, a group of the students went to a nursing home to perform for the residents. When we arrived, I started to get out of the car with my son so I could listen, as other parents were doing. My son seemed surprised that I was going to stay and said he would rather I didn't because I make him nervous. Needless to say, I was devastated.
Now, whenever there's a concert, festival, parade, or football game, I stay away, although I love to listen and watch the band play. When I don't attend, I feel hurt all over again. I'm his mother. I'm at a loss as to why I make him nervous, because I have always given him positive feedback regarding any performance.
Should I respect his wishes and stay away, or go because it is what makes me happy?
- Missing the Show in Michigan
DEAR MISSING THE SHOW: Have you asked your son why your presence makes him nervous when he performs? His answer might be enlightening. It could be something as simple as the fact that you are his mother. Sometimes, teens become self-conscious simply because a parent is present, which may be the case with your son. That said, if you wish to attend his performances, I think you should - if you can do it unobtrusively, preferably out of his line of sight, and can refrain from giving him feedback.
Not feeling depressed, just that thrill is gone
DEAR ABBY: Life has me worn out. I have accomplished more than I ever thought I could (considering my upbringing), traveled as much as I wanted, always strived to be a good husband and father, a good employer, a loyal volunteer, a supportive friend, and good neighbor. I have done so many different things during my life that, at this point, the thrill is gone.
At 56, I am tired of working, tired of travel, bored with my hobbies, and sick of dealing with most people in general. I'm relaxed and laugh easily and have good relationships, but nothing excites me anymore. Honestly, if the Grim Reaper tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Pack your bags; tomorrow's the day," I'd just shrug and ask, "What time?"
I have been to the doctor. He said I'm depressed, but I don't feel depressed. I think the meds he put me on made me depressed. I went to a couple of therapists who told me that I didn't need therapy, that I just needed to find a new "spark."
So what's a person to do? Must I keep wallowing through the days waiting for the end? Am I the only person who feels this way?
- Wallowing in the North
DEAR WALLOWING: You are not the only person who feels this way, and no, you don't have to keep "wallowing." It appears you are experiencing a plain, old-fashioned midlife crisis. Contact the psychologist with whom you felt the most connection - or search for another one until you do - and discuss what you are experiencing in those terms, because you need more help than I - or anyone - can give you in a letter.