Monday, December 3, 2007

The Prodigal Son

My son. What can I say about him? He makes me angry to a fault--not because he's necessarily a bad person, but because his behavior makes me wonder where I went wrong.

I've always been someone who strived for the things I wanted. For years I went through huge amounts of stress that I wouldn't be able to make it--I even got married (much too early, in my own opinion) just to get out of the house--and away from my alcoholic father who attacked me when I was 16--

It's not that I had a BAD life, mind you--there are plenty of folks out there who've had a lot worse lives than I've had, but nothing has ever come easy for me. I've had to work--and work hard to get the things I've wanted and needed--made sacrifices here and there. I am not "pretty", and many people who base their decisions on how pretty the other person is, won't even give me a second look. So I tell my son, who is NOT unattractive, but has never taken good care of his teeth or basic hygiene, that he's going to have to do better, work harder and strive more if he ever wants to get anywhere in this world. I expect that pretty people often need to do the same, but not to the degree that uglies do.

He frustrates me because he doesn't try. He wants all his troubles to just go away, and figures that if he ignores them, they will...or that if he just waits long enough, mommy or grandma will "take care of it" for him. This Christmas is no exception. His car is broken and undrivable--and he expects mommy to take care of it, even though the car has been "groaning" for the last year or more.

Well, Mommy always has good ideas and the ability to come up with the "way" to "fix things". I could call my father-in-law, and have him take the car dolly and pick up the car (where ever it might be), and take it , so that it isn't towed and scrapped or ticketted by the police. My son is horribly underemployed part time at a gas station--and refuses to get full-time employment because he knows that he won't pass the drug test. This is a hard thing for me to say--obviously, since drugs are illegal--and maybe it's for the best that he ISN'T driving--one less pot-head on the road to get in an accident. Then my thought was to have the car fixed, but that he couldn't have it back until he could have a clean drug test, and even then, only to find a new full time job--until then, he can walk to his part-time job and like it. Plus he'd have to pay me back for the repairs.

But I got to thinking about all that, and how I was still trying to assuage my own feelings by helping him solve his problems, when at 30 years old, he should be solving his own. I figured that maybe I should just keep my sorry nose out of it and let him sink--because he WILL sink, deeper into this ocean that he's created for himself.

This is my only son, my only child. The only thing I have to offer the future. And I am horribly disappointed in how he behaves. I fear for him daily. I cry crocodile tears because there is literally nothing that I can do or say that will convince him that it's HIM that needs to change. Even his grandmother, who has always loved him to a fault, is now agreeing with me, that she can now "see" what it was that I have been complaining about all these years. My whole life has been about shaping and directing and offering up a good example of how it is and how he needs to be in order to have a life in this world today.

Now, don't for a minute think that I don't know that things have really changed in this world. I know exactly when that happened. But my son seems to strive for the things that turn out to be the most hurtful--and works hard to be the most UNLIKE me that he can be. Now, he's saying that he's going to join the National Guard--and it's not that I don't believe it would be good for him, maybe it would--but he's already TRIED the Army--they kicked him out. He is not military--no matter how much he thinks of me as a "drill sergeant". He is far too oppositional and defiant to cow-tow to chain of command. Further, *I* don't want him in Iraq, where he would be the first one to jump in front of someone's bullet--not to save a life, but to end his own.

Okay, so he's depressed, he's got ADHD and ODD, and his brain chemistry is likely totally screwed up because of his use of pot--otherwise, though, he's a good kid. He's had a couple of bad breaks along the way--stupid decisions that got him landed in jail...but the use of pot has REALLY hurt him, and he doesn't see it.

Now, you can tell me that Pot is not addictive until the cows come home, I won't believe you. I have known too many people who smoke pot (I do not, and never have, and never will), and they are all screwed up in one way or the other, because of decisions that they've made while "under the influence". Of all the drugs, I think pot is probably the one most responsible for brain-chemistry problems in the Gen-X crowd born of the baby boomers. My son's father did smoke pot--he quit, in order to date me--but how does the average user know (and I mean really *know*) what that drug does at the chromosomal level? We know that it reduces motility--makes those little polly-wogs lazy and stupid enough to swim the wrong way! Come on! You can't convince me that it hasn't "done damage". They even tell mothers not to smoke or drink while pregnant. Gee, go figure? My son keeps telling me it's no worse than alcohol. Proponents of pot keep pushing for legalization. Frankly, having had an alcoholic father, you can probably guess my stance on THAT argument! Unfortunately you cannot legislate what a person does in their own home...unless they are a danger to themselves or to others. My father turned out to be a danger to son is a danger to himself. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

So, because there is really no good answer, I sit in my chair and I cry. I pray. I hope for a miracle, because that's what it's going to take. I can't convince him of the damage he's done and still doing to himself. He cares more about smoking pot than he does about his life or his future. I will not have the joy of grandbabies, and would fear for their lives if he DID have children--you know how it is--you hope that they have one JUST LIKE the errant child you's grandparent's revenge...but I hope (should I ever have a grandchild, which it gets more unlikely as time wears on), that he doesn't have one just like him. He would say "oh, you want one JUST LIKE YOU". Well, as far as drive and determination, and the fortitude to say "no" to those things which are going to affect your ability to pursue a future for yourself...yes, of course I would...even at the risk of having no friends because you think they're stupid--even to the point of having to turn your back on the one person in your life that you love the most. Yes, definitely, strive for being better--because it's the only thing that will stand you in good stead in the world in your future! Finish School. Get good grades. Go to College. Get good grades there, too. Pick a good career for yourself--something that you enjoy doing EVERY DAY, and something that will make you a ton of money---because while money can't buy happiness, it can rent it. Do whatever you have to do to make sure that you are capable of making ends meet, and of making the children you bring into the world protected and safe from those who would do them harm. Stay away from dabbling in those things that would seek to destroy all that which your parents would want for you, and what you would want for your own kids. There's a damn good reason why, and it's not just because your parents have "been there done that". It's because once you've made a bad decision, it's really hard on you having to live with it, and sometimes that hardship lasts the REST OF YOUR LIFE. You might not think that one pull on that marijuana cigarette will hurt you. You might not think attending that party where the smoke was so thick you end up with a "contact high" would be a bad choice for your future.

But what if it is? Are you really so willing to take that chance? I mean, set aside how you think your parents are so anal and just want to control everything you do, and look at it from your own perspective--do you really want to take the chance of messing up all you have to hope for? And if I must be a parent in this (simply because I am), do you really think that your parents won't cry for all the lost opportunities and hope and happiness you could have had in your life, that you threw away by taking that chance and making that bad decision. Parents KNOW...(well, most of them anyway). They want what's best for you, but you have to want some of those things for yourself, too, because they can't always give those things to you, but can only "direct" you or point you in the direction you need to go in order for you to achieve those things for yourself. They hope to be a good example, and when you fall down and skin your knees, don't even let the thought that they don't cry for you cross your mind. They do cry.

They really do.

Yesterday's card was the 10 of pentacles. Tied up in family matters (hmmm...couldn't tell that one could you?).

Today's card is the Ace of Swords Reversed--upright, it talks about having the fortitude to carry on and move forward gung ho! The hard truth is that sometimes, in order to really help somebody, you have to stand back and let them fall apart. Normally, I am the upright thinker, solver, overcomer, analyzer. The card reversed tells me to stand back, and NOT take those actions, as I finally decided late in the day yesterday--this sort of inaction cuts me to the quick--and hurts me to distraction, because of course, there is my only child, who I love, who is having trouble, who I can "help". I am quite capable of "fixing" the problems. But for him to grow, he has to fix the problem HIMSELF.

I just don't believe that my "help" is really helping anymore. I don't think that he's paid attention to everything I've done for him in the past. I don't believe that he cares enough about himself to take matters into his own hands and fix it himself. And so I am stabbed to the heart wth the Ace of Swords reversed.

I hope that tomorrow is a better day.


crafty wee midden said...

huge hugs from a fellow sword drawer...'e' you soon
the wee midden

Diane said...

It's hard when you know what your child needs to do and they just don't do it. Went thru it with my 2nd daughter who decided to work instead of going to school. What finally got her into college? Me pleading? Her bosses telling her over and over again? Nope. A fill in pharmacist she worked with one day who said, "You are much too smart to be doing this your entire life."