Sunday, March 12, 2017


Yesterday, I wrote about Son #1. He is struggling. A lot.

Son #2 is struggling too. Since he graduated from high school in 2013, he has started semesters at two different colleges. But not finished. And he a trade school for motorcycle mechanics. He made it to November of a year long course. Most recently, he was employed at a high end sandwich shop. He was fired, I think, when he asked the manager how he felt about people carrying concealed weapons (with permits, of course). The question was purely rhetorical- my son doesn't have a concealed weapons permit, nor does he carry a weapon (at least that I'm aware of), but very soon after that, he was let go. And I suspect there is probably a connection.

For about the last month, Son #2 has been sitting around the house, concocting elaborate get rich quick scenes. And I just keep saying, "No, I don't think that will work for me." He is more than a little irritated that I don't like any of his ideas. Here are a few that he has come up with most recently. I just keep saying no. And he is convinced that I am out to ruin his life.

Here are some of the possibilities he has recently considered:
  • Gunsmith- He can do this. But we live in a city where there are no bears or things to hunt. And guns violate pretty much every belief in every fiber of my being. So he could do that. But he would have to pay for it himself. And he cannot bring a gun into my house. 
  • Professional XBox Player- Possibly. At some point in the future. But until he can support himself doing this, he will need to find some form of alternative employment
  • Professional sharpshooter-  Again possibly. At some point in the future. But until he can support himself doing this, he will need to find some form of alternative employment.
  • Restaurant/Food Truck Owner- My son has extensive food service experience- six months at a doughnut shop, several other shorter gigs at various other restaurants. He is sure he has enough experience to open a restaurant or food truck. I just need to find the place, and help with the startup costs. 
  • Marijuana Seller- We live in Colorado. It's legal to smoke.  To work in one of those stores, you need to have a license of some kind (I don't know that much about it, because I have never personally visited one of those stores, nor do I have any interest in so doing). My son thinks it would be a great idea if I financed a license for him and his brother. Better yet, we could open our own store. Again financed by yours truly.
  • Walk-on athlete- Both of my sons were very talented athletes in high school. Son #2 was the varsity quarterback when he was a freshman in high school and also played competitive basketball from second grade through high school. He is considering walking on to a sports team, but is not sure whether it would be football or basketball. Which might still be a possibility. However, to the best of my knowledge, he has not picked up a ball of any kind since 2013. He is not working out- running or lifting. And that might be a problem. 

I also seem to be saying no to many other possibilities.
  • I should sell the car(s) and buy motorcycle(s). 
  • I should pay for my sons to travel back to the country of their birth (they were actually both born in Denver, at Denver General Hospital), but they are talking about somewhere in Africa.
  • I should buy a house (and make the monthly payments) so my sons can move out of my house (umm, this one I might consider, if I had the money!). 
I have suggested several things I consider possibilities- jobs at the airport, in hotels, restaurants, banks, Coca Cola, the post office. I send pictures of help wanted signs every time I see one that looks remotely interesting. 

He's talked about military service, and even though that scares me to death, I have mostly just tried to listen.

I've said that my son might consider going back to school, but that he would have to pay for each semester, and then if he has a B average, I would be willing to pay back at least half of it (except for gun school). 

None of those are acceptable to him. 

So mostly, I spend my life saying no, again, and again, and again, and then just in case someone didn't hear it the first time, I say it a little louder. 

Because everyone knows I am a person who likes to say no. And that I really want to ruin his life. 


Unknown said...

Oh my sweet fellow-mom. We are kindred spirits. I say no to my 25 year-old being a professional singer and a personal trainer. I tell him he can't afford to own and drive a car and should not move out of the only place he has ever lived away from home that has provided a safe environment. And I'm out to ruin his life as well. Hang in there. I do feel like we have made a little progress. I just pray that he will find a peace with whatever comes his way. Best wishes to you.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you. I have similar Son #1 issues, though I think you're in a better spot because you at least have "No" to say to something!

In our home, we spent a lot of time instructing -- and our son turned out to be an insular introvert. I wish, wish, wish he could come up with creative ideas to talk about what he wants to do with his life. In the meantime, we do all we can to be supportive..

..and not do so much of the instructing thing with Son #2, who is 10 years younger.

Let's tell ourselves this is all temporary. :)

Kudos to you, Mom!

Lisa Vahey said...

Carol, this must be a complicated refrain in your life. How to say "no" but "I still love you and believe in you (but YOU CAN NOT HAVE A GUN!)." Thank you for sharing this personal story with us and know I'm sending you a love of positive "no" energy as you navigate this space.

Lisa Vahey said...
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Unknown said...

I'm on the early end of the "you're a bad mom" spectrum but it still guts me when my 5 year old says it, at because he doesn't get what he wants... Can I just say bravo. If only you could hear me clap for your patience, your time, your caring. Your disagreements are those of love, not judgment. You embody so much good. Keep at it; You're doing your best.

Krista said...

Oh, Sister-Momma! How I hear you loud and clear. My Boychild went down a similar path... He didn't have a clear goal, but went back and forth. He started college right after high school...and had a WONDERFUL TIME not going to class, but also not missing a single party! His freshman year, he failed his English class because he missed the last day of class, which put him over the limit, and cancelled out his B average. (I made him pay me back!) His sophomore year, he went to less class and more parties...and don't make it through the Spring semester.
He struggled and wandered and whined quite a bit. Ok. A lot.
He struggled.
I struggled.
He cried.
I cried.
He yelled.
...and I did too.
But then he found a job. Hard manual labor. Building fences in the Texas heat.
And he found his way.
He found his way OUTTATHERE!
It was life experiences he found on his own when he launched out on his own that led him to his path.

To massage therapy licensure!
(I know! Who'd have thought?!?)
And now he's a well-respected, often-requested expert in Thai massage.

...all this to say, the NOs are worth it! Keep 'em coming, Momma!

Linda B said...

Keep it up, Carol. You are wise no matter what those kids say about it. Looks like we're all with you!

Elisabeth Ellington said...

Oh man, you know I felt every word of this! It's so hard to find ways to support our kids and say yes when their choices and preferences seem so antithetical to our values. This is one way my son constantly pushes me way out of my comfort zone. I know how healing those yeses are to him, but it's so tricky to find ways to be okay with yes when I really want to say no! I'm impressed by the creativity and thinking out of the box of your boys. I never would have thought of any of this for them! So that's good, right??