Friday, March 18, 2016


Friday night.

I am down the basement, watching basketball, writing my slice, and preparing for the four hour course I will teach tomorrow morning.

Son #2 is upstairs.

Son #2 is not supposed to be upstairs.

He is supposed to be at work. At the movie theater where he has been working for the past several weeks.

He has missed one shift in each of the last two weeks he has worked. I wonder if/when they will fire him.

Tonight he cannot go because he does not have deodorant.  Last week he could not go because I ruined his day by disagreeing with him about his right to smoke inside my house.

Son #2 is smart. And charismatic. And very handsome. He's an incredibly talented athlete, who probably could have paid for college as a Division One Football or Basketball player.

And right now, he is doing absolutely nothing.

He's been to two different colleges. And quit both.

He worked at a doughnut shop for six months. And quit that.

He was going to go back to college and play basketball last fall, but that didn't work out.

Since then, he has worked at Panera's, a milk company, the grocery store, and now the movie theater. He's quit every job after only a few days.

He moved to Phoenix to be closer to his daughter, who is 15 months old.

He stayed two weeks.

His lives in a world of blame. Everything is my fault. The coaches' fault. The girlfriends' fault. His boss' fault. Racist America's fault.

But never my son's fault.

People say I should just throw him out.

And perhaps I should.

But my other son, recently diagnosed as bi-polar, is fiercely loyal to his little brother.

If I kicked Son #2 out, Son #1 would think he needed to go too.

And at this point, I am not sure he could take care of himself.

I do not know how to parent him.

How to love well.

I am exhausted from trying.


Mandy said...

Your honest voice is probably the first step in knowing what to do. Your reason for not throwing him out makes great sense, do you know what your other son thinks? He has to know how hard this is. I hope you find some rest this weekend.

Unknown said...

Such a hearfelt post....I wish you and your sons the best of luck.

Maria said...

I will pray for you and your son. That he knows your love is a constant, unchanging, never leaving. I will pray that he finds his way or a way that brings him joy. Has he ever thought about coaching little kids? You can't quit on them.

Linda B said...

I just sat down to read posts, & found you first, Carol. I'm sorry for this, and again. Until he finds out that some is his fault or responsibility, I'm not sure it will change. But you know that already because you're such a good teacher. And I think you're a good parent too. Not all of this is your fault. The blaming must be shifted, but how, I'm not sure. Every situation is different. Maria, above, has what sounds like a good idea. In the past I've seen some kids change when they were invested in volunteering, especially with children. Hugs to you for trying so hard.

Cathy said...

I think you have the "love him well" part down. I wish someone would have warned me that parenting young adults would be so difficult. I sometimes miss the days where I was physically exhausted, but my biggest concern was taking care of basic needs. Remember the days where the biggest challenges were baths and bed? Young adult worries are more mentally exhausting. All we can do is support them. Figuring out this life thing isn't easy ---- and it seems to be harder for my son than my daughters. Oh how I wish we all lived closer and could start a raising young adult support group.


Elisabeth Ellington said...

I am not looking forward to this time in my son's life. I try to remember that most people have messy 20s and make mistakes and flounder and founder. But that doesn't entirely comfort me, needless to say. There is so much fear at the root of your son's choices. So much shame. So much belief that he is not enough. So much misplaced anger and pain and blame. These messages are wired into our boys' brains at this point and so, so difficult to change. What would you do or say if there was no "people say"? I've found that people are always fast to offer opinions and share wisdom when they really have no clue what our parenting lives are like or what our children need. I think there is grace and healing in presence, acceptance, in being with and being alongside.

elsie said...

This is a difficult position. You do love well, you do parent, but now they have reached the point in life where your sons need to take on responsibility. The blame game never has a winner. I know you are heartsick with worry for the future. You are in many thoughts and prayers.

Mary Lee said...

And yet your love stays strong...