What a difference a year makes. As you may know, difficult child wanted to come home last August. It didn't happen. In fact, it was the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. difficult child said his counseling was a waste of time and refused to discuss anything. The counselor agreed that if he wasn't going to try, he could quit coming. difficult child shut down all communication with me and his counselor after that. I went to my own counselor and started on happy-pills to deal with my grief. difficult child was named All-State in his sport in November. I read about it in the newspaper. (Congratulations, son.) (Oh... and Happy Thanksgiving.) A few days before Christmas, he emailed me that he wanted the bracelet I had bought a few years earlier. (I told him when I bought it that he could give it to a special girl and he'd know who that was in a few years.) I was sure he was taking the easy way out... hand me a few dollars and the girl would be happy... easy. I suggested he go to the mall and find her something. He was angry and said I bought it for him to give away. I told him I also thought I would have a relationship with my son. I didn't hear anything from him, including Christmas day. In January, he emailed me telling me to fill out the financial aid forms on line for colleges. I did. The calls from coaches started coming, each telling me that difficult child had told them that I hadn't filled out the forms and he couldn't do anything until I did so. I told every coach that the forms had been filled out and that difficult child hadn't been completely honest with them. difficult child called me one night in January or February. He needed a ride to a college visit the next morning at 6:00 a.m. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive each way. I agreed. For both legs of the ride, he talked about himself. He broke up with the girl immediately after Christmas (surprise!) and he's having the time of his life. He had months of paychecks that he hadn't cashed, all the girls want him, etc. Not one time did he ask about us, the dog, easy child... not once... and I offered nothing. I dropped him off at 6:00 p.m. emotionally exhausted. Nineteen colleges were interested in him. I sent him his phone messages via text. I received a curt message back: "If a coach calls you again, give them my cell and tell them not to call you again." (You're welcome, sweetie.) He called me in the Spring. He signed up for a different sport and he is amazing. Would I come and watch? husband and I went together. We told him to let us know when he wanted us to come and see him again. He never asked us again. He needed a ride to work in March. I picked him up, packed a lunch, and drove him to work. He had done nothing with the colleges. He wasn't returning their calls and wasn't worried about it. I dropped him off and within two minutes, he called. He wasn't scheduled to work... "Isn't that hilarious?" he asked followed by, "Good. I didn't feel like working today anyway." I picked him back up and asked him if he wanted to come for dinner. He said yes. His step-siblings were here, as was easy child, and husband. He never once asked any of them how they were, how school was going, etc. He monopolized the entire dinner conversation. For over an hour, we heard about him. When dinner was over, he was ready to go. Spring Break he left with friends for Florida and stopped here the day he was leaving. He dropped hints that he had no money (I asked where the months of paychecks went and he admitted he spent it all) and he had no summer shorts that fit. I offered him some of easy child clothes. He turned his nose and declined. He left with nothing. He turned 18 over spring break. (Happy Birthday, son.) The end of April, he asked if I'd order the corsage for his prom date (back with the girl from Christmas again). I did, and of course, I paid for it in advance and texted him that the corsage could be picked up on Friday. Three days later he asked me if he could have money for a tie. I gave him the money. Prom came and went. No call, no photos, not a thank you. Nothing. (You're welcome again, sweetie.) Mother's Day I received a text. It said, "Happy Mother's Day. Enjoy the beautiful, sunny day." I texted him that I would have liked to see photos of his senior prom. He responded that he's "too busy for his own good. Sorry." I have yet to see pictures of my difficult child's senior prom. Graduation morning. I received a text from difficult child: "Did you order tickets?" "I did not," I replied. "Would you like any?" he asked. OH MY! I called my husband. He said he doesn't know difficult child anymore but he would go and support me if I wanted to go. I texted easy child. No response. I waited a half an hour. I texted easy child, "I declined the tickets." easy child immediately texted, "GOOD!" I texted difficult child, "No thanks. Good luck to you and congratulations." And that was that... there was no response. Some may think I am awful. He reached out... but, he's reached out before and I've accomodated him every, single time... until he wants something again. My heart can only stretch and break so much. My difficult child is 18. He's a man. I wish him nothing but good things. Word on the street is that he applied to the community college (the 19 coaches have apparently moved on without him.) He will not be playing his sport in college and there will be no athletic scholarships to help pay for tuition. (Sigh.) But, he is an adult and he's safe. He's still in the gates with the country club access and the lake-front cottage. His life is now his life... and my house and heart has found peace... finally.