I am there. My son’s return home is not going well at all. He is almost back to where he was last August. I am $100k poorer and he is flailing all over again. It is only a matter of time before things are critical again.
I do not have the money to send him to more fancy treatment centers. I do not have any ideas of what to do with him. The school district denied us for residential treatment. He can’t live with his dad. I do not want him living here. He isn’t capable of living on his own, he would have no idea what to do without supervision and even if he could somehow muster up the ability to handle his life, he has another 14 months as a minor. And that feels like a prison sentence to me right now. I cannot live with him for another 14 months. I am going to lose my mind.
I am so tired today I don’t even want to go to the gym. I am just so spent. I knew raising teens would be hard, but I never in a million years thought it would be like this!
The good news is that my daughter is doing better but she is miserable because my son is home and causing daily chaos and turmoil. I do not think she can stand it one more day. She doesn’t want to be at home because he takes all the space and air out of the home.
I do not know what to do. So I pray. Pray for patience, guidance, a sense of humor. I pray to keep perspective. I pray for him. For me. For her. I pray for some comfort while I suffer through all this powerlessness. I pray that he doesn’t keep making these stupid choices that are going to eventually kill him or get him locked up. I am losing faith at an alarming rate.
My friend who has walked this very treacherous mothering path with me since our boys were in preschool, told me that her son, after years and years of treatment, is checking himself out of his treatment center Monday and is choosing to go live on the East Coast without support, funds, or really contact with his family. It breaks my heart. My friend and her husband have done everything right. Seriously. I have been there watching and supporting them since 2008. They have consequenced, they have sought help, they have loved, they have consulted therapists, doctors, treatment centers, educational consultants, lawyers. They have done everything I have done and more. They fought to get their son an IEP when the school district refused. They have spent even more money than me...and on their son’s 18th birthday he is choosing to leave treatment and school, not graduate and make his way in the world as a homeless person. Forcing his parents into a corner of either having to support and co-sign his illness or do the incredibly painful and hard thing of cutting him off.
It doesn’t appear that he is even phased. So sure that his parents are to blame for all his “issues”. And he couldn’t be more right, his birth parents are to blame for his issues. The genetics that have given him the disorders, the early childhood abuse and neglect experiences that haunt him daily. The birth parents fucked this kid up in so very many ways and my friends raised this kid, loved him and provided him with every advantage for a good life. And now they are being forced to let him walk away while they watch helplessly with their grieving, breaking hearts.
It makes me sick to my stomach. This kid that I have known since he was four years old, now, come Monday, a grown adult who may not see his 19th birthday. It is so incredibly sad. But we are learning, and living that you cannot save someone from themselves. They have to want a different life. They have to see their own dysfunction and then be willing to work on it productively. Neither their son nor my son seem to want that. They just want us to pay the bills for their right to destroy themselves and their families in the process.
It is so unfair. And so incredibly fucking sad.
I support my friends. I think they are doing the right thing, they just have to let him go. They have done EVERYTHING! EVERY FUCKING THING! And guess what? None of it worked. Perhaps maybe after he gets out there into the very fucked up world of being a kid and having to live the street life, he will wise up. It should be criminally actionable for a child to do this to his parents. But it isn’t. Just another high price tag for loving and raising a child.
It fucking sucks.
And as I lie in my bed this morning, thinking about them, him, I am brought back to my own child, asleep in his bed at the moment. And wonder what his fate will be. I cannot do another 14 months with him. I can’t. I won’t. The damage to myself, my daughter, my parents, our pets and to him is just too great. He is a loose canon and it is just a matter of time before he is arrested, overdoses or robs me blind.
I have no more money left to save him. And it really hasn’t done any good. After a year in treatment, he is back to his old ways again and appears hell bent on picking up where he left off. A rapid and destructive spiral to the bottom...the only thing I do not know is whether it will be in jail, a mental hospital or death. It is a sad day when you pray for the first two...at least they provide a possibility for a future. Death being final. Death being permanent. Every day that passes, I am more convinced that death will come early for both these boys. Which makes my heart crack in two.
Motherhood has always been exhausting. Always. But it has taken on a new level of despair lately. What do you do after you have tried everything, twice, and are now out of money? What do you do when the child that resides in your house lies to you, steals from you, refuses to follow the rules, go to school, spends money like it is nothing? And will not listen to you? Will not do what you say? Has no respect for you or your home or your things? Argues every point and insists on being treated with respect when he gives you none?
What is a mother to do? What the fuck is a mother to do?
I am trying to get sleep, eat and pray. I am trying to have faith that this is all happening for a reason. That I will be better for the experience. That I can help another mother through a dark time. But no one wants to hear about the ending I see coming. That is not helpful...no one wants to hear the ending that is just around the corner. Everyone wants a happy ending, and I am not sure I even believe in that for him anymore. For either boy really. No, instead I am in this place of now seeking peace. Trying to find serenity within the storm. Trying desperately to let go with love. While trusting that my son has his own Higher Power who is going to let him bear the full consequences of his actions. And with each passing day, I am rendered more surrendered to the idea that my son is beyond human aid. I cannot help him. I cannot do it. And after all my efforts to control, I have only one thing left to do...let go.
I never knew that letting go could be so exhausting. Never knew. But I have learned that letting go and giving up are not the same things at all. Motherhood doesn’t allow for giving up, but letting go might be possible. Maybe. We will see...