We were both sad because this is the first year he hasn't been home and we've spent Christmas at our house, etc. I was trying not to set up a situation where he could later say "see- if you don't do ABC, I'll get in trouble and won't be home next Christmas" and use it to blackmail me in the future. But I did tell him I missed him and wished he was home and that I hoped we could always be together for the holidays in the future- even someday if he's married and has me a grandbaby to hold ( ). He told me that he was sorry, too, that he couldn't be home with me. He said none of this was my fault, that he just had a whole lot of emotional stuff he needed to deal with and that he's tried to deal with it all while he's been in there. He said he hoped he would always be home in the future, too, and that he would "play Santa" for the dogs when he came home. I think that insight was my Christams gift from him this year and if it's sincere, I couldn't have ever had anything better. I mentioned that he didn't have much longer before his release. He mentioned a few boys that are going home within the next couple of weeks and said a couple have gotten charges just a day or two before their release. I asked if he thought sometimes a person might get scared about actually coming back to "real life" and messing up because of that. He said sometimes it seems that they try too hard not to get in trouble, and that leads to it happening. But he said sometimes it's because the boy has nothing to come home to. I told him I hoped that didn't happen with him and he said he didn't feel that way. I reminded him that I'm not perfect and that no one's life is perfect. He told me he knew he wasn't perfect either, but he wished he was. Of course I'm feeling all mushy and crying now! I know he's still a difficult child even though the people in Department of Juvenile Justice say he's a easy child now, but those few easy child moments sure do bring back hopes and dreams and all other sorts of emotions. But I swear, he had to learn that I would never tolerate him pulling a knife on me for any reason, short of me abusing him and I wasn't. Somewhere in there I also told him that as bad as this was, it could have ended up sooooo much worse- for both of us. He didn't say anything to that.