Yesterday was an exercise in extremes around here with regards to the kids. Hubby got this heart meltingly awesome text from MC basically saying what an awesome dad he is and that MC appreciates and loves him. It was random and out of the blue. It isn’t something that MC has ever done in the past and his displays of affection aren’t that common, as is typical for a 14 year old. It made me cry at how utterly amazing this kid is and that he has this huge squishy heart.
About an hour after that came in, I got a text. This one from OC saying that he wasn’t coming home, that he was going to go and stay (as in live) with a friend of his, that he was 18 and it was his decision and he’d be by sometime to get his stuff. It was just wow. Kind of like going from basking in the hot sun to jumping into an ice bath.
The situation with OC kind of isn’t a surprise. Not entirely. We’d had to, again, sit him down the night before to discuss his grades and the fact that he was back to not doing any of his work. He has maybe a total of 1 credit he could afford to fail, and that credit was not in a couple of required classes, or he wasn’t going to graduate. We told him that he had to get his driver’s license by Christmas and that he needed to quit spending all of his money so he could start saving for a car. He had also still been finding ways around our no internet rules and posting extremely inappropriate and not safe photos of himself as well as having equally inappropriate conversations with strangers online. The grades and the online behavior are the biggest reasons he was in this situation in the first place (the not having a license or a car and having zero extra/fun privileges).
The conversation presented him with some very basic choices. Follow those rules and goals, or he could find somewhere else to live. It was his choice about how he chose to live his life, either way, we would help him get where he wanted, but he could no longer keep living here and refusing to put in the minimal effort lead a safe, healthy, productive life. We’d had the rules and goals conversation probably a dozen times over the last couple of years, pretty much every 2 or 3 months. We’d sit, discuss, things would look to improve for a few weeks and then we were back to where we were the last time we’d talked. NOTHING we did worked. No rewards, no punishments, nothing. This little bit here is truly just a tiny fraction of all the BS we’ve been dealing with. I don’t think we are even asking all that much. Pass your classes and graduate (we didn’t demand perfect grades, just passing for crying out loud). Get a driver’s license, save some money and quit posting unsafe crap on the internet that puts yourself and everyone in this house at risk.
The goal was to get him independent. We knew he didn’t like the rules, what little there were. We knew he’d want to bail the first chance he got, so we wanted to do everything we could to help him be able to take care of himself when he finally made that decision. Apparently that is asking too much. In typical OC fashion, instead of making a plan and working it so that he even had the basics like a change of clothes, chargers and things like stuff to take care of his contacts and meds, he just gets set on idea and jumps right in, screw the consequences because he is going to just do what he wants.
The friend is also in high school and not yet 18, living at home, so I don’t even know if the family agreed to let OC stay. I have no clue where he was last night. I have no clue if he will go to school today, or ever again for that matter. I don’t know when or if I will even see him again. I’m worried sick about how he is going to manage on his own when he can’t even manage a few extreme basics because he is to lazy to put in the work. Sadly, I’m of the mindset that he is just going to have to make these hard mistakes and learn to live with them because this is the path he has chosen for his life. It isn’t the life I want for him, but it is apparently the one he wants for himself and he is the only one that can make that choice for him.
The whole situation with OC has me looking very closely at myself and asking if I’m doing the same things my own mother did or if I’m treating him in a similar way. I can definitely see some similarities. I even caught myself when we were talking the other night saying something that sounded like it came straight from her mouth and it kind of made me sick to realize it. While I can see some similarities, I can also recognize that while similar, they are not the same. The biggest difference is while I may be making statements that are judgemental in nature, they are done in a way to set boundaries of what I can live with and what I cannot. They are not judgements for judgements or opinions sake. They aren’t said to pick or criticize. Hearing what MC did for Hubby and then later when we talked to both him and BG about what was going on, I can truly see the difference.
Like with any relationship, the ones with our kids are subject to boundaries of what is acceptable and what isn’t. It looks like both OC and Hubby and I have reached that boundary of acceptance. My heart hurts because I know he has chosen an extremely difficult path. Above anything, I want OC to be happy, safe and healthy. If this is what is going to truly make him happy, the I hope this is good for him and the safe and healthy follow along.