Thursday, August 25, 2005
I live with my a 19 year old son. He's a handsome, thoughtful young man, who can easily be persuaded to take Gramma out for ice cream, who stops on the street to help those in need, and who can't tolerate people having their feelings hurt.
He is unemployed, dropped out of college, and is wandering a bit.
I am in constant quandry what to do with this child of mine, trying, at times, everything I can possibly think of to motivate him, and at others, bowing out to let him find his own way. I cannot seem to find my own answers, in this thing we call parenting. I am, as many pushover parents are, guilty of inconsistency in my messages, caving in constantly, and, I've come to figure out, incapable of tough love.
Everyone *else* knows what to do though; the advice comes hurling at me—sometimes unsolicited, but more often at my own request. Often to no avail for me: For any one bit of solid advice, there is someone on the other shoulder telling me, with the same conviction, to do the exact opposite thing: "Give him space!" "No, kick him out!"
I've tried then, just not asking for advice, keeping our relationship one-on-one; it's too complicated to drag "everyone says" into it.
Don't think for a minute that he isn't tolerating any odd behavior from me, while he (hopefully) finds his direction. Tuesday night, he had a few friends over, and we laughed and talked for an hour or so, about everything under the sun. They brought me back some incense, knowing I liked the scent of sandalwood.
Wednesday afternoon, I came home to find cigarette butts in my driveway and in my (sorry-assed) flower bed. There were 4 boys in my house, playing PS2, working on my computer. I'd loaned my son money the night before, asking him to bring back change, and he'd spent it.
I was in a mood, I guess. I seethed through a shower and ended up marching back into MY living room (mine, by God) wearing a nightshirt and a towel on my head, and giving my kid the what-two-fer about everyone using my property as a giant ashtray! I squawked like a fishwife about his cel phone bill, my second, part time job, and how much it just chapped my ass to come home to a gaggle of boys enjoying my space, having to ask if I can check my own e-mail. Get out of here and fill out applications til 10:00 tonight! Have a job by Friday! Rahr!
Boys were throwing on shoes and running for their lives, probably figuring I'd pull out an uzi. Cha! Everyone out!
And, although I know I'm within my rights to make demands, I ended up feeling a bit chagrined about acting like such a bipolar nut-job-gone-off-the-deep-end.
And...I don't really have any tidy little means of wrapping up this blog. Son of mine did come back in and tell me how he hates to fight, and how he hates borrowing money, and how he will find a job. And I told him that I love him more than anyone I ever will, and my frustration and demands are not wrought from mean-spiritedness.
And today is a new day.