Coping and Cleaning Out

Fall Leaf

The last couple of weekends have been really hard and really busy.  After OC decided to not be here anymore, Hubby and I needed to clean the toxic waste dump that was his room.  It smelled horrid as he never did laundry or cleaned up even slightly.  When I say didn’t do laundry, I mean he hadn’t done it since he got back from my parents the first of July.  Not once.  I’m sure there were even some things buried in his closet that had been there for much longer.  There was trash and junk and pretty much everything you could imagine shoved in every nook and cranny.

In the process of cleaning, we ran across even more evidence of broken rules and worse, that he’d been stealing.  Not just from Hubby and I, but from BG, my mom and my nephew.  None of it was ever anything seriously major, but it was stuff that didn’t belong to him.  It hit pretty hard that the tiny, microscopic thread of trust that was left became destroyed.  It sparked conversations between Hubby and I about how we would handle it if he ever asked to come back home.

Once we managed to sort through what was trash and what may be important and what was just stuff, we were able to start doing some real cleaning.  I don’t think I’ve been quite so disgusted in my life at what I found.  On the walls, the furniture, inside the drawers of the dresser and the closet.  I cleaned up more snot (yes, I said snot) than I think I’ve ever wiped off of all 3 kids when they were younger.  There were several new major stains on the carpet, what look like probably makeup, most likely dark eye shadow or eye liner, possibly both.  Hubby and I decided to break down the POS desk and get rid of it.  Took apart the bed and moved every last bit of furniture out so I could shampoo the carpet in a effort to de-stench the room and remove the stains.

While I was cleaning the carpet and trying to get the walls wiped down, I kind of just said screw it and decided to repaint the whole thing.  It pissed me of to no end that it needed it because I had JUST redone the whole thing 2 years ago.  Hubby and I talked and decided that if I were going to go through that effort, we were going to go ahead and turn the space into a guest room.  If OC does ever come back, that is exactly what he is going to be at that point.  Neither Hubby or I have any trust left that he will follow any rules or even have a decent level of respect for us, this house or the space he takes up.  It was obvious in the way he treated his room and the bathroom he shared with MC.

We spent nearly all of that first weekend cleaning, sorting, packing up and organizing.  I got it painted the first of the week and spent several days doing some major deep cleaning on the furniture that was staying in there.  It took nearly all week and multiple rounds of various different treatments to get the musky, nasty unwashed body and dirty laundry smell out.  This weekend, we got a new bed frame (the old was small and not in great shape) moved furniture back in, realized the windows were about as bad as the walls and got those cleaned as well as put up new blinds and curtains.

Towards the end of last week after the walls were painted nothing was left in the space except the bins and bags of his stuff stacked in the closet, MC called to say he was finally coming by to pick up his stuff.  Again, called not asked like we’d asked him to do.  To say he was a little shocked at the change would be an understatement even though he didn’t say anything.  He picked up a few bags of clothes, his makeup and some video games.  Didn’t even bother with half the clothes, didn’t even look to see what they were.  Didn’t even ask about the money he had in his checking account, the driver’s permit that was supposed to come in the mail, left a large jar full of change and every single other thing he owned.  As long as he had his girl clothes, makeup and games, he was good.  So typical and classic OC behavior that it shouldn’t have surprised me in the least.

There have also been lots of conversations with MC and BG.  Some of them broke my heart because I hadn’t realized how much all of this was effecting them and how they chose to act.  MC mentioned feeling like he lost one of his best friends back when OC started high school a few years ago because he changed so much, that at one point his brother wouldn’t even say hi to him in the hall at school because he didn’t want to ruin his image.  This is especially hard for MC because he and BG are genuinely best friends.  They would do anything for each other.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a brother and sister that are closer than they are and they would have been the same with OC if he would have let them. Instead, they have this other brother that pretty much wants nothing to do with them and could not allow a conversation to show any kind of light on their accomplishments without barging in to make those accomplishment small or himself so much grander.  I knew that MC and to some extent BG would back off in those situations, but I didn’t realize the emotional impact that was having on them.

I realized that there were quite a few things that Hubby and I put off doing or avoided because it was something more for BG or MC, and because OC wasn’t allowed, it felt unfair.  In reality, the unfairness was to BG and MC because they didn’t get some of those extras that they really deserved.  We made quite a few changes in the way we did things or when we did them because of OC.  Some things he took the fun out, like movie nights, because he either already saw the movies and would talk the whole time, often ruining the movie for the rest of us (still not sure how that happened since he wasn’t allowed TV) or he would complain that it wasn’t some other movie or that another movie was way better.  We couldn’t trust him to stay home alone, so we stopped having date nights when it became a chore to ask my parents to have the kids for a few hours.  Even trying to get stuff done while OC was at work was a crap shoot because there were a couple of times he called to say either he didn’t feel well or got out early so we had to drop everything to go pick him up.

It hurts that I didn’t see all of this and attempt to do more to make things better, but I know in my heart that we did everything we could.  I hate that it came to this, but I also know that if we hadn’t forced OC to make some kind of a choice, we would have just delayed the inevitable.  He would have left at one point or another and the likelihood that it would have been even remotely peaceful is almost nil.  There have been a lot of conflicting emotions about all of this.  I hate we are here and he wants nothing to do with us.  We will always be willing to be there for OC if and when he needs it, but we also know that that has to come with some compromise on his part or what we can do is very limited.  We cannot allow him to just move back in and return to the way things were.  We will not just hand him money because he says he needs it.  Monetary help will come in the form of us getting what he needs rather than handing over cash he can do whatever he wants with it.  He can stay here if needed, but it will come with the understanding that it is temporary and he MUST work towards independence and his future.  He has to show that he can be responsible or we’ve gone through all of this for nothing and then what is the point.

There is a lot of guilt because I feel relieved in a lot of ways, relieved mostly because I know in my heart that where we are right now is the best place for EVERYONE, even OC, at this moment.  OC will either fall or fly, but it is on him which that is.  BG and MC feel more comfortable in their own home and in being who they are and saying what they think without feeling like they get a slap in the face every time.  Hubby and I have felt this sense of peace, as in we are not in a constant battle.  Yes, we have been working like crazy and not even because it was something we had planned or really wanted to do, but it has been peaceful.  Painful, but peaceful.  We will move forward with what we have to work with and we will keep finding the best way for us and, when allowed, help our kids do the same.

 

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Author: TJ Fox

Slightly sane artist, book addict, wife and mother of 3 who is forever rethinking her place in this world.

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