Gambled & hope I didn't flunk detachment 101. X'ing fingers...

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Signorina, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Will try to keep a long story short (as if I am capable of such, nevermind)

    difficult child asked me to take him to cash his CD today. Big gulp. Asked him into my office to sit down to talk. Thanks to you guys helping me sort it all out in my own mind ( ) I had done my homework and I was prepared.

    I showed him the email from the accountant stating that I could cash it but that I must write the checks myself to prove I used it for his benefit. Told him that had the added benefit for him to stay on our dental insurance as a dependent. He smiled.

    I showed him a spreadsheet from his childhood savings account which shows that the CD he wants to cash is nearly 100% funds that his dad and I gave to him over his lifetime. (allowance, toothfairy, birthday gifts etc. God Bless Quicken)

    I acknowledged that he did not want to use his college fund ostensibly because "he wants to do it himself." I said "Your CD is money dad and I gave you, your College Fund is money dad and I gave you - I am not seeing a difference." I showed him the recent account statement for his college fund.

    I then offered to LOAN him the money in his college fund. I said he would be doing US a favor. College fund has an annualized return of 0.03% (yay recession) and we would pay 10% to withdraw the funds to close the account and actually LOSE money. If he signs a note to borrow the money from us, he can still do it "himself", plus we can get the money out of the fund without penalty and it's a win win. Told him we would lend it at prime and each note would start the repayment period 36 months from the date it is issued. (presumably post graduation)

    I told him I thought I should cash the CD and drive from our bank to the student loan bank and pay off the $2000 loan he took, leaving $3300 leftover. That we should pay his advance (Jan-May) rent and next years first and last etc from the $3300 which would leave him $1600. His tuition bill is anticipated to be $4000, so he would still be $2400 short plus living expenses. I offered to "loan" him the $2400 from his college fund plus pay some of his living expenses (directly).

    We talked (or I talked and he listened, not saying much) for about an hour. I was able to get my points across. I told him that by stubbornly insisting on doing it himself (ie getting into debt) now he was limiting his options post graduation. I explained that I too had a crisis at 19 and had dropped out of school for a bit and had eventually gotten my life back on track - that I wasn't exactly "Miss Mary Sunshine" in college - enough said. And I tried to emphasize that I was able to get my life back on track at age 20 because at 20 - I hadn't made any bad decisions that had long term consequences. I told him that he may be offered a great internship that he won't be able to take because he has to work full time. Or that he may want to take a year off after graduating to snow board in CO. (a dream of his) but that he won't be able to because he can't defer his student loans. Or take a semester abroad... And that once he graduates and gets that $80k p/year chemistry business job - he will need to buy a car and SUITS - but he will be in debt and have no savings - how can he possibly afford a wardrobe and a car and an apartment if he has to pay his predatory student loans with- "big bad bank"?

    I told him the story of how I desperately wanted to become a stay at home mom when his younger brother (baby 2) was born and that $10,000 in debt stood between me and being a stay at home mom. And that the $10,000 was money we had spent years before having baby #2. A car loan, H's school loans, credit cards, a home improvement loan...and that it may have well been a meelion dollars, because we didn't have it. We never found it. And I never was a stay at home mom because of it.

    Now, let me be clear - if we loan him $5000 a semester - he will still need to come up with another $3000 to pay his rent and living expenses. So he will have to work.

    Then I offered to just pay his tuition from his college fund, no note necessary. But that I am willing to loan it to him instead if he really wants to do it on his own.

    I asked him how much better his life would be if he just had to worry about school work and groceries etc instead of worry about coming up with $8000 per semester? He acknowledged it would be much better.

    He agreed to think about it. I got a quick "thank you" and an "I love you" and now I sit and wait and realize I may have screwed up.

    Food for thought...I am hoping the easy child inside the difficult child bites...

    and yes, I realize I may have made a really big bad enabling mistake. I really hope not. For reasons I can't articulate, I still feel like he is on the brink and I am hoping I can pull him back...

    Sometimes, I feel like the keeper of the flame. He is that little boy to whom I read "Guess How Much I Love You" a thousand times...and I feel like if I write that little boy off, he will be gone forever. I wish I could reach into him and pull my easy child out.

    Did I actually write "long story short?" HA

    (and if you want to blast me - please move on - I know I was likely wrong - but I needed to do it FOR ME)
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't think you're wrong and even if I did I have no right to criticize a well thought out decision you made that just may keep difficult child on a path much different than the one that looked like he was going down. Besides this may just make him show his hand and reveal what is going on.

    I hope he takes your offer. He is very lucky you made those financial preparations for him years ago.

  3. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I really think the easy child inside your difficult child WILL emerge over time.
    I think your difficult child is lucky to have had you and husband make these financial preparations (as Nancy said). You two set up an expectation long ago that difficult child would go to college...and your difficult child has lived up to that.
    I also think it is wonderful that you outlined some of difficult child's goals/dreams vs the reality of post graduation. You are really trying to help difficult child think this through.

    Good job mom! No critisism from me.
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Sig - I don't think you made a mistake.. no critisism here. It is a gamble and you recognize that. A gamble worth taking if he turns things around. If he doesn't then that will be one more lesson learned about what is really going on with your son. We all have to do what feels right to us at the time... and that can change over time. A year ago I am not sure I would have been ready to just let my son be homeless... now I am (although I am hoping like heck that in a few days he won't be and he will have learned something).

    The one question I have is did you see his grades and have you confirmed he is actually enrolled in school? I would insist on knowing that before paying any more money to the school.

    If he comes back and refuses your offer then I really think something is up that you don't know about. Otherwise your offer just makes pure logical sense.

  5. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Fingers crossed that he will listen to reason. Keep us posted.
  6. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Haven't seen grades nor confirmed enrollment. Haven't pushed to see either though he verbally assured me he was enrolled full time last semester. Proof of enrollment is definitely a condition of releasing CD money or 529 funds. Grades would be nice too and definitely a condition if we pay tuition. I don't want to push too hard until I know where we stand. As far as I can tell, this is a battle (in his eyes) for control of his life and I am trying to make it clear that my goal is for him to be able to control his life post grad. I am treading carefully as to not trigger the control button which led him to flee in August. Really, I am winging it with the end goal of him staying in school and not letting the partying go way overboard. I totally acknowledge that his use is beyond "normal" but I hope it hasn't gotten past the point of redemption. I don't know
    I know I am grasping at straws but I guess this is a last ditch effort to make him understand that WE are not the problem. And I don't want to alienate him and I fear we are close to that and will do it if we push too hard. And I know placating is handing him control so I am trying to draw clear lines. I feel like so long as he wants to be in college, he has a chance and I want to support that.
    Can you tell I am conflicted?? Lol
  7. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sig, I so hope this works out for you and your difficult child. Please keep us updated.

  8. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest


    First, i am sitting here with tears pouring down my face. That's the same book I read my difficult child about a million times. It breaks my heart to think that sweet child has grown into this.

    So...i know exactly how you feel.

    Everything you said makes perfect sense. Remember sometimes they learn things but we never know for a while. A lot of what you said likely went in...let's just hope and pray it comes out.