difficult child out of the house - Day 3

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by WhereIsTheLight, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. WhereIsTheLight

    WhereIsTheLight New Member

    I want to thank you all for allowing me to put my feelings to words. So many of us are sensitive to overexposing ourselves to friends and family, that this board is the perfect place to share those thoughts without feeling like you're constantly complaining to others. I keep telling myself that my relationships outside my family should be based on a connection with that individual, and not the need for constant emotional support for my own situation.

    So, I figure I'm going to try to keep this online diary instead. Because you know what I'm going through and because I can let the stream of consciousness take me to places I haven't worked through, or that embarrass me or shame me or hurt me.

    So this is the third day without difficult child. She didn't show up yesterday to get more stuff, but she did call this morning and has apparently dropped her vow of silence. A friend of hers called yesterday, not knowing that I had kicked difficult child out. I was curious about how and when they had spoken. The friend admitted that she hadn't spoken to difficult child, that difficult child had given her some "BS about a vow of silence" and had written all communication to the friend.

    I said, "I wish you guys would call her on her crap. Then she would see what is normal and acceptable behavior, because right now, I'm the only one who does and I'm the enemy". Maybe someone told her to knock it off and start talking like an adult who wants to communicate. I hope so.

    difficult child said she would be by this afternoon to get more belongings, but she was a bit concerned about taking a bus to Detroit in the evening. The parenthetical to this is that she wanted me to offer her to give her a ride back to the <span style="color: #FF0000">H</span><span style="color: #FF6600">i</span><span style="color: #FFFF33">p</span><span style="color: #009900">p</span><span style="color: #000099">i</span><span style="color: #993399">e</span> <span style="color: #6666CC">Heaven</span> (I say that affectionately because I do not want to post the exact name and it is the only way I can describe the place).

    I hesitated for a moment. I have been ferrying her around because she has no driver's license (she lost the opportunity to take drivers training because of her HS grades), and for an organic, anti-establishment, contraCapitalist, unmaterial kid, she see no problem with me blowing off gas at $3.00 a gallon to taxi her or leaving her lights on all night. This is a boundary I've bent on so many occasions, if only to get her out of the house so I can have some peace.

    But, it is a valid concern. The bus would take her across an 8 lane boulevard and down the block from Heaven. And she'll be loaded down with stuff...no way to defend herself and easily caught off guard. It would take only one idiot to harrass her appearance. It would take only one shadow in the night to put her in danger.

    But wait! I said this was it. This is permanent. You need to become an adult...you need to figure it out and not rely on me, not have expectations of me, not have me at your beck and call. You need to learn the bus routes, and economize your time to the bus schedule.

    So, I simply said, "Are you going to make it to your doctor's appointment Wednesday?" She said yes. And I said, "I'll see you later then".

    So, enter the ambivalence. Do I stick to my guns or do I help her out? If I don't drive her back to Detroit, will I be able to get her out of the house. If I do drive her to Detroit, will she continue to rely on me, albeit from afar? Will she call me and say, "Mom, can you do this or that?" And will I cave?

    I want to maintain a relationship with her. I want her home for Sunday dinners and let her do her laundry. I want to bring her fresh juices and some new vegetarian recipe I've tried because she has challenged me with her self-imposed diet and I like to cook and I eat healthier now and I've just lost my best customer.

    I want her to be normal. That's what it comes down to. Those Sunday dinners where she can tell me about the goings on at Hippy Heaven...about looking for a job...about her plans in the fall for classes at the community college...about trying to get work on an organic farm this summer...about perhaps joining AmeriCorps when her scholarship runs out. All these things that I thought I could wait for, I could endure another year, another week or another minute of discord, just to give her a chance to succeed.

    I want to see her come through that front door, plop her bags down and give me a big hug and say, "I'm starving". You know, when the college kid comes home in the movies. That's what I want. And I want to know when she leaves through that door, that she is growing, learning, living.

    I've tried to steer her in a direction that would be comfortable for her. Why do you apply at fast food restaurants when you are a vegetarian? Why do you apply for cashier jobs when you don't feel accepted by the public? Go to the tatoo parlors, go to the piercing places, go to the veternarians - go somewhere where you don't feel like you're being stared at. And the truth is that Michigan unemployment is double than that of the rest of the country's and it is even harder for kids.

    easy child is working two jobs. The first one, I picked up an application for her at the grocery store a few weeks before her 16th birthday. She was hired on the spot and they made an exception for her age. easy child finished HS in November, as I put her in an alternative HS. She is ADD, and Ritalin caused her to tic, so I decided that a "C" would be success for her and I refused to medicate her simply so she could pay attention better. She has no behavioral problems. But school has been difficult for her, and after seeing difficult child drop out of mainstream HS the minute she turned 16, easy child was sending me ominous messages. "I can't wait til I'm 16...I don't have to go to school anymore".

    Oh, no, young lady...you WILL finish HS! But then the HS installed 47 survellience cameras and issued ID badges, some identifying children who were on academic or behavior restrictions and were not allowed to leave the campus during lunch. Well, knowing that easy child could very well be publicly branded as an academic failure, I hotfooted her out of there as fast as I could and wrote a scathing letter to the principal, counselor and school board.

    Oh, these schools. There is more to that story. I got a letter - no, an order form, really - last summer, right after school got out (that way there is no one left to question...I've seen the schools do this a million times, and then you have to wait until fall to talk to someone). easy child had failed gym class, and as such would need to take a $200 summer school class in order to graduate. easy child had more than enough gym credits as she had taking it throughout HS, and only one year is required. It didn't matter, the cheery clerk said, because she was short 1/2 credit cumulatively. All her academics and requirements had been fulfilled. Oh, she can take any class she wants, she just has to have another class.

    So, do I wait til fall to see if I can talk some sense into the school district because they have never made accommodations for easy child's ADD (in Michigan, it is up to the schools how they want to address ADD and it's not considered a learning disability), knowing that it was a gamble that could force easy child into another semester of HS? I looked into community classes that would spark an interest for her, but they would not qualify as a credit, and since I was very offended having learned of her failed class through school district sales call, I took her out and put her in an alternative HS designed to get these kids that piece of paper. I know it was the path of least resistance, but I had a kid here who knew I couldn't force her to go to school after she turned 16, so off she went to the other school. Her credits were such that she was graduated just before Thanksgiving.

    So, easy child decided in that old soul of her, in that wisdom that still suprises me, that since she wasn't going to school, she had way too much time on her hands and applied for a bussing job at the diner that caters to the after church crowd. She was hired on the spot. It was third job she applied for in her life, and she's working two of them simultaneously. Today, she has a nine-hour day on her feet. Some days it's 12.

    With summer coming, she's been wanting to quit the diner. And she figures she young and should have fun. The people can be mean there, and someday, I'm going to go up there and anonymously observe. If I see someone being nasty to my kid, I will not identify myself, but I will tell them that I don't like how their employees are treated and will take my business elsewhere in the future. They refused to serve my brother's girlfriend once and I'll never forget it. Yet, easy child knew all this as her cousin worked there for about a year or so. But I didn't shield her from this job, as she is complacent and quiet and she needs to learn to speak up (certainly this is from the hell she's endured from her sister). And this was perfect - if she quit or got fired, she had another job to fall back on.

    So, easy child goes in to give her two-weeks notice after hemming and hawing for six weeks. And they want to make her a waitress! Her grocery store check is direct deposited into her savings (she has alot more money than I do and indeed I've had to borrow from her) and she plays with diner check and tips. But she can make much more money as a waitress than a busser, so she is currently weighing the pros and cons. I told her she was in a position most of us have to be in an established career for years to realize - she has two employers fighting over her...go big...ask for the moon! Raises, prime dining times, benefits!

    My easy child is so easy child that the world even knows it. She's petit, long chestnut hair, and has the most liquid brown, almost black, eyes I've ever seen framed by wispy black lashes. She didn't get them from me...I have to use the 2-step mascara and a magnifying glass...she hates mascara. She is a little kewpie doll and is a joy. I keep forgetting she's 18 in a month!

    So, you can imagine what difficult child thinks about all this. easy child is cute and small and I'm big and scary and the only reason why she gets the job is because the men interviewing her want to have sex with her. If I was cute, I could get a job.

    difficult child, I would tell her, that's like saying I didn't get the job because I'm fat. You have to let go of that, because people see it on your face, in your body language. You are accusing them of not liking you when you walk in the door. Yes, I went through all that, having been heavy all my life. It was the easiest crutch to fall on before admitting I needed to not smoke before an interview or have a better resume or answer questions a little more thoughtfully. When I let go of that crutch, I found interviews much more comfortable, and by the way, you are very cute...I couldn't tell her these things before she shut me out.

    So she minimizes easy child accomplishments while finding excuses for herself. It's hateful and hurtful. To her, bringing home an application is tantamount to her commitment to becoming gainfully employed. I really am trying! See! Here's 5 applications. Nevermind that the applications sit incomplete on the dining room table for weeks.

    When she called this morning, I didn't ask if she'd eaten. She lost quite a bit of weight that she did not need to lose because of the liquid diet. I threw out the soups and purees she didn't take with her, because I can now finally make room in the fridge for the food easy child and I will eat. easy child eats way too much junk food that she buys herself and I blame myself having to cater to difficult child's eating habits and not having the energy or the money to make easy child a real meat and potatoes dinner. We juiced the oranges and pears and grapes and plums I bought difficult child to drink while her jaw healed and drank them ourselves. I tossed half empty bottles of acai and noni and kombucha. I've counted 23 teas that I eventually made difficult child move to her room. And I've paid for every last bit of it.

    How is she going to eat now? Who is going to spend $115 on fresh organic fruits and vegetables and tofu and dried mushrooms? Who is going to try, try, try to make this liquid diet healthy and tasty and different for her everyday? Who is going to juice, chop, blend, puree and strain? Is she going to ask the oral surgeon the right questions Wednesday? Will she comply with treatment? She forgot the waterpik....do I remind her to take it with her today? Will she remember that she needs to be seen by a dentist when her wires come off?

    Why, why, why, does detachment obscure the bounds of the human desire to help another, of a mother's instinct to nurture? Why do I have to steel myself against the twisted manipulations of my baby and how do I know, deep, deep, deep in the core of this mangled, bruised and broken heart that I am doing the right thing, the best thing if I simply let her get her stuff and get out.
     
  2. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> want to maintain a relationship with her. I want her home for Sunday dinners and let her do her laundry. I want to bring her fresh juices and some new vegetarian recipe I've tried because she has challenged me with her self-imposed diet and I like to cook and I eat healthier now and I've just lost my best customer.

    I want her to be normal. That's what it comes down to. Those Sunday dinners where she can tell me about the goings on at Hippy Heaven...about looking for a job...about her plans in the fall for classes at the community college...about trying to get work on an organic farm this summer...about perhaps joining AmeriCorps when her scholarship runs out. All these things that I thought I could wait for, I could endure another year, another week or another minute of discord, just to give her a chance to succeed.

    I want to see her come through that front door, plop her bags down and give me a big hug and say, "I'm starving". You know, when the college kid comes home in the movies. That's what I want. And I want to know when she leaves through that door, that she is growing, learning, living.</div></div>

    Hugs to you, dear lady. Even though my difficult children are not to the stage yours are, Daughter is getting close. I understand that desperate yearning for "normal".

    Unfortunately, our Mother hearts want to help, rescue, save, and make it easier. Many times to the determent of our difficult children ability to survive out in the world.

    Honestly, I don't have any advice since I haven't been in your shoes. Just empathy and compassion.
     
  3. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    I would say that in order for her behaviors to change, she must spend time in the "real" world.

    The world where there is no one to juice her juices, where if she feels she needs to eat only organic foods that she must in some way support herself and purchase them.

    I know every situation is different, in my experience, my difficult child only changed his behaviors after he spent time "out in the real world" Mom's money tree only lived at mom's house. No one else cared if he had eaten or bathed or anything else for that matter.

    I got the call from him that he was cold and hungry and wanted to come home. He said he would do anything I asked of him if I would just let him come back home.

    Well, our difficult children all seem to have selective memory and not to long after arriving home, things made there way back to the way they were before.

    Once he had pushed me far as I could be pushed, I became angry enough to call his hand on his behavior. I let him know that he is now 18 and I didn't have to put up with his crap any longer. He could abide by the rules or leave ~ it no longer mattered to me

    It is enlightening to see how quickly my YOU BETTER WALK ON EGGSHELLS AROUND ME difficult child changed his ways.

    In my eyes I had tried everything possible to change him. I thought many many times there was no hope.

    Then it all changed when he realized how hard it was without help from home. He was allowed to fall and skin his knees and no one was there to care.

    It also changed when he turned 18 He knew that I didn't HAVE to put up with the crap any longer.

    I believe you are doing the only thing you can do. We all have to let go at some point and let our children learn from their mistakes. At 19, she needs to know that you have had enough and she can either change or live eleswhere
     
  4. KFld

    KFld New Member

    You are learning how to detatch, and it's not easy. Of course you want to help and you are now mourning all the things you thought she was going to be. And yes, it is mourning. It's a process you need to go through so you can get past it and be there to support her, eventually, when she starts making good decisions. They won't be the same choices you once dreamed of, but even the little steps will someday become huge to you. I always used to say my difficult child could have been a doctor, now I'm thrilled if he gets a job at Burger King. My expectations are so much less, or should I say different, then they were a few years ago, but when he accomplished anything that shows me he is becoming a responsible adult, I am still just as proud of him. It took me a long time, but I have gotten over what I thought he was supposed to become.
     
  5. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    I agree with what the others of us have said.

    I would add that, like all good mothers, you have walked paths you may never have walked on your own out of a good-humored curiousity and a fascination for your child and for everything she is, or might get, into.

    But now you need to draw your own conclusions as to what is best, both for her and for you, and stick to them.

    Think through everything just as you are doing now.

    So many of us (me included) have had to learn that we cannot be our children's friends. They already have friends.

    We need to be their parents.

    We need to see further based on our greater experience of life, and at least caution them not to go a wrong way. If they go that way anyway, we need to learn how to stand away from them and stay strong enough to be the beacon that will bring them back from the bad way ~ bad because it eventually becomes self destructive.

    So I say stick to your guns on the Detroit thing.

    Barbara
     
  6. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    God be with you and your daughter as you go down this leg of your journey in life. hard to watch. sometimes it has to be that way.
    sigh.
    I too have a son who is not allowed to live with me. I had him over for dinner yesterday. very very uncomfortable.
    like a dog who growls over his food while looking up at you with slits for eyes.

    when I took him back to his "apartment"...he let me in to see how he lives. no one even tried to hide the dozen or so mostly empty liquor bottles. he has gained a 15 pd beer belly as well it seems.

    I had to leave him there with my grandson, who clung to me and and cried not wanting to stay there.

    still, I cannot change this. so what I can do is pray for them and go on with today. after I dragged myself from bed, and called my one sister for some support.

    really what choice do we have when they are adults?? none
    your daughter will get hungry enough and she will eat. she is probably a master manipulator and will get others to care for her as well.
     
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