Optical illusions are fascinating. I remember staring at the picture of the young lady and then suddenly something switched inside my head and I could see the old witchy lady. Then it would switch back again. The same thing happened with word searches. I’d stare and stare at a box of random letters until, bam. There was the word I’d been looking for and I wondered how I could have missed it before. What I remember most is that moment of recognition, when nothing changes in what I’m looking at, but suddenly I see it differently.

I had such a moment this week. I wish it had been a happier one. I listened to my son and realized that he was saying the same sorts of things that Howard does when he’s depressed. It is not a surprise that my son is depressed. Not really. I knew this was there, just like I knew the old lady was there when I saw the young one. But it is different in the moment that I actually see it.

I’ve already met with school administrators once this week. I’ll do it again tomorrow. That meeting will likely spawn further meetings with individual teachers. Today had a doctor’s appointment. Next month there will be a more thorough evaluation. Prescriptions have been adjusted. I know this dance. I can take the steps almost flawlessly. I even feel the requisite parental self-doubt right on cue. I’ve had far to much practice helping loved ones face down mental monsters.

It was not my first choice for how to spend this week, but things can’t begin to be solved until they are seen. I’m not sorry that I finally saw it. I also have a sense that this is a necessary, if unpleasant, step in this particular child’s growing-up process. He is beginning to see it and he needs to be able to recognize this, call it out, and manage it through the rest of his life.