Resentful feelings for having an unperfect kid. (looooong, whiny and stupid post)

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SuZir, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    This will be huge whiny vent that I'm not proud of, be warned.

    This was a weekend of High School graduations there here. In our culture there are three big celebrations during ones childhood, christening (for close family, usually only baby's immediate family, grandparents, godparents and uncles and aunts are present), confirmation (when kids are in their teens, extended family, relatives and closest family friends are invited) and then High school graduation, which is traditionally open invitation party for family, friends, neighbors, even parents' business associates. First 'public showing' of your kid and yes, kind of a brag party. Close to hundred guests during the day is not that uncommon.

    This is a spring most of my difficult child's class mates graduate. With relatives, friends' and workmates' kids, neighbors' kids, kids who started in the same Church playgroup 16 years ago, difficult child's friends, easy child's friends etc. we ended up visiting in nine different parties all together. To some parties we all went, but there was also a time in which everyone in our family was in the different party (fortunately parties last all day and you are expected to just stop by for an hour or so.) Major scheduling hassle, but we made it. I also sent out 12 sets of flowers, gift cards or cards to those we were unable to visit.

    I'm happy for all those kids and their families but I can't help of feeling also jealous. It's not that difficult child was not graduating. He will graduate in his own time and I would not have any problem with him graduating next spring. Many do that. Take an extra year during the High School for year abroad or to accommodate their schedule with time consuming hobby like sport, music or something else. Most of difficult child's former team mates are doing that. But difficult child plans to graduate at fall. It has always been possible, but in old times only those who failed their final exams graduated at fall, so it wasn't really celebrated. Now the system has been much more flexible almost 20 years and some just choose to graduate at fall after spending either 2,5 or 3,5 years in High School, but still fall graduation day is not at all as big of the thing as spring graduation that is almost like national Holiday. Those who graduate at fall also tend to miss all the prom type of things as also difficult child has done.

    I would still be okay with difficult child graduating at fall and having parties then. But no, difficult child did inform me yesterday that he will likely have a game on his graduation day and anyway he will not want any party. He will not even go to school to have his diploma. He is very sure about that and it is of course his choice. He will miss gifts he would get from all the guests, but that is also his choice. It is his graduation, he has a right to make those choices.

    It is just that I feel cheated. This was not what I thought I signed up when having him. I have worked so hard to get him through school. In his first day of Kindergarten, in first recess, he did run away from school, and was found by police five hours later (those were the long hours I can tell you) and it only went downhill from there. If someone would had told me six years ago, that difficult child will indeed graduate from High School I would had been so happy. But now that graduating have seemed like a sure thing some time now, I have begun to want more. I want my bragging rights! I want everyone to see, how good grades he has, how well he is likely to do in his finals. I want to show all those people who looked me with pity or disdain during those long years that difficult child did it. That he did just as well or better than their perfect kids. And difficult child is not willing to give me that. And I feel resentful.

    In fact I feel resentful for also other things about who difficult child is. Not only because his bad choices, but because who he really and truly is. And I'm not proud of it. I do love him, dear heavens I love him, but he is not the kid I always wanted.

    We are part of minority and like many minority groups our minority culture and identity tends to be very important to us. In the very essence of our minority culture is community, being social. We spend a lot of time with family and friends, have parties and entertain guests. Go vacations together with family friends, our kids tend to do everything together with their 100 closest friends etc. Community is important. My mother, while being part of this culture and being like a fish in the water when she chose to participate had a great disdain towards this culture. But I have always cherished it. I loved those times when my mother chose to participate and take me with her or when I was with my grandparents who were very much part of the culture. One thing I fell in love in my husband was that he does embrace this culture. It is important to me.

    difficult child has never fit in. At times he tries, at times he doesn't want to do even that, but never has he fit in, been really part of it. It's simply not him and I feel bad because of that. He is not a kid I always wanted. And I feel even worse feeling like that.

    I know I'm complaining about something I shouldn't. My son is not here to make my dreams come true. He is valuable as his own person. But still I feel cheated. To go back to my beloved dog metaphors it is like I had bought a Irish setter puppy for dog shows. Imagined I would get a dog like this. Dreamed of taking it to shows, maybe even winning some. And for some reason the breeder wouldn't have given me a puppy from show lineages but a true bred field trial puppy. Magnificent dog on it's own right, but totally different creature than that show puppy I wanted. If I would try to take him to dog shows, I would be laughed out from there. And my dog would also be totally unhappy, because he was made for hunting. To run and find game, to work, not to gate proudly in circle and stand still and look like a beautiful statue.

    It's not even that I wouldn't have that 'perfect show dog', my easy child is very much the kid I always dreamed of. And I'm sure that with him I will also have that full experience of being a parent of High School kid, with all the parties and like. And as I said, it will indeed be a great victory to have difficult child graduate. His schooling has been rough time for all of us. And I have to admit, that for him it is probably better he has some distance to our minority and culture (in his current town he probably knows one or two people who belong to same minority, there are very few of us there.) He may feel less as an outcast. And while he may have to deal with some prejudice because of being minority, it may be easier to him, because those people snubbing him are not 'his folk.' But he is not complying with my 'parenting plan' to give me a good 'parenting experience.' And at times that makes me resentful, even though I know I have no right to that.
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    First the easy stuff. It seems to me that this graduation "failure" is more due to his sports than to being a difficult child. While I understand that there still would/should/could be a certain amount of mourning due to it, choosing sports as a career path is a GOOD conscious choice. Most very serious athletes (think Olympic type competitors here in US) don't go to regular schools and don't follow regular graduation schedules. (neither do child actors and I'm not just talking the successful ones) Your bragging rights are in the fact that he's already following his carreer path and will still graduate HS. I think this is MUCH MORE PHENOMINAL than just graduating on time.

    The rest? is normal mom stuff, I think. Those of us with difficult children probably have it much harder, becauswe there is a certain inherent lack of potential. Trust me I get it. DD1 may never be a "nice" and happy person. BUT I can certainly see her as a VERY successful (albeit cut throat) CEEO or attorney. My point is you take the positives wherever and whenever you find them. Even if they are not the positives you dreamed of.
  3. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I could relate to your post. Neither one of mine had the big graduation that people around here have.

    I had hopes for the older difficult child. He was smart and was set to graduate until his behavior got him expelled two weeks before the end of school He had already told me he didn't want a party and I was unhappy about that but I figured I'd at least get to go see him graduate. They told him he could walk across the stage with the rest of the kids but he would get an unsigned diploma. He told them to f*** off. In fact, I was kinda proud of him for not going along with their foolishness because the did him wrong with the expulsion. Anyway, he went and took the test for his GED and got a perfect score and never looked back.
    YOunger difficult child was not a good student and I don't think I ever had my hopes up for him to graduate.

    Both difficult children are working and being responsible adults. I have seen that no graduation was not the end of the world for them or for me. I made the best of it and, like you, I'm proud of what they did accomplish but when I see other parents celebrating with their kids I still feel a pang. I try to remember that the one who feels bad is me, not them, and it is a little thing.

    Maybe when he does graduate he will let you have a little celebration with just you and him. Go out to eat, go someplace fun, just to mark the occasion. Really, a lot of those parties is for impressing other people and by the time they have the 5 year class reunions, they won't remember who had a party and who didn't.

    One think I've learned with 2 difficult children is to accept the good things and ignore the ones that didn't work out. It saves a lot of craziness on my part that way.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Suzir, I understand what you're saying. I don't think it's a whiny, stupid post, I think it is what you feel, what many of us feel and you have every right to those feelings, they're real. difficult child's come with their unique ways of doing life, and we as parents come with our expectations of our kids. Sometimes the gap between those two is staggering in it's size. Our disappointments are painful. My difficult child was an honors student who quit High School 3 months before graduation because she wanted to move to LA with 2 other difficult child's. One of hundreds of poor choices she's made which made no sense.

    I understand your resentments and you have a right to them. I hope in expressing your feelings that they begin to dissipate. One of the many things we as the parents to difficult child's have to do is to lower or change our expectations of our difficult child's, for their sake, as well as ours. We're not on the usual "parenting plan" offering us the usual "parenting experience." However, we are still human, with human feelings and disappointments. It sounds as if you understand your difficult child well and know that this may be in fact, the best path for him. You got him this far and that is a lot to celebrate.
  5. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Go for it vent, whine, stomp your feet and Growl; we all need to from time to time. If I didn't I would explode and this house is messy enough! (don't need me splattered all over)

    I think if we took a poll on this site about 99% of us would have to admit this isn't the life we had in mind when the stick turned blue or the agency said "we found you a child" - I'm sure somewhere here there is a copy of the story of person who packed for Tahiti vacation and ended up in Holland.

    That pretty much sums it up life is what happens to us when we were planning something else ; point being you have accomplished so much despite all the obstacles out there he lived to see adulthood, graduation is happening in the future and he seems to have found something he does well that he enjoys.

    I understand I get sad that the last decent picture my 17yo took she was only 4yo, she was never in the dance recital or when half my family can't even pick up a phone when receive my first born's college graduation announcement. But in my case, the way I go on is consider Angel in spite of how gloomy things looked at 6yo is still alive at 17yo, that my son in spite of his learning disability and lack of trust fund still got his college degree.

    I'm so glad we have this place we can dump our frustrations and disappointments, then take stock of our blessings and be able to go on with our day. Take care
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I really don't know, why this graduation party thing is so big for me. And how on earth am I even surprised, that difficult child is not playing along with my dreams on this matter.

    I really don't think that kids job in this world would be to make their parents happy or their dreams come true. I have been very resistant on fulfilling my parents dreams myself. And while being a pro athlete is not something I hoped for my kid, I'm okay with difficult child's career choice and even excited that he has found something he both loves and excels in. And I understand this High School graduation party is such a small thing. It is good he does graduate, because it will leave him to a fine spot to continue his education later if his sport career ends sooner rather than later. But even not graduating wouldn't be the end of the world. He could still pick up there he left and just complete High School little later in adult High School and continue from there on, if need arises. And as said, he is in good pace to graduate next fall, that is in fact sooner than serious sport or music kids usually do. And five years from now absolutely no one remembers if difficult child kept a parties for his graduation or not.

    difficult child decision to graduate at fall is not because of sport, well taking some extra time was, but they usually take a whole year more, not half a year. And also sport system is much more used to accommodate spring graduates. No junior national team camps or anything like that near spring finals dates. Junior level schedule is put together to be the best possible match for spring graduates and their timetable (school finals are national, so everyone is on the same timetable.) And for those already in men's teams at that age the teams tend to be very, very accommodating with school during graduation spring. difficult child's team will accommodate him also with his plans of fall graduation, but it is little bit of extra hassle for everyone. So difficult child choice was not because of the sport.

    I do think it has more to do with being able to skip all the prom type things without having to explain. And mostly I think it is about really wanting to avoid that big party, parents bragging, everyone asking and wanting to know how he did, everyone being shocked that he has the grades he has (difficult child certainly doesn't look like a brainy kid) etc. Maybe poor boy was afraid he wouldn't be able to decline having a big party, if he would graduate at spring. Or at least that if not having a party many would ask why. He probably thinks that graduating at fall and not having party no one will even notice he graduates and he will be left in peace.

    I'm also quite sure we can have some kind of graduating celebrations. difficult child will likely be totally okay with a family dinner to celebrate or something like that. And we can of course use his graduation gift as a carrot for that...

    When difficult child did tell me he doesn't want any parties or anything like that, his body language did tell me that he knew I would be upset. I have to give him, that he has clearly matured lately. Two years ago he would had told a news he knew would upset me with very provocative attitude, spoiling for a fight. Or dropped the news and run, or not told at all before absolutely no other choice or before I heard from somewhere else. Now he was giving me an early warning (it's still five months to his graduation day) and while he was very tensed he tried to go for nonchalant instead of provocative.

    Darn! Now I feel bad because I probably made difficult child feel bad and like he was a disappointment to me over this. And this certainly is not a thing I should be disappointed with him at. It is not like he would be making a bad choices here, just a little bit unconventional ones.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, I can relate big time.

    Sonic's graduation was yesterday. I am going to assume you are semi-familiar with US graduations and kids walking across the stage to get their diplomas and then usually a party afterwards, sometimes two (one for family, one for friends). The best students make speeches and talk about college. But Sonic has a form of autism and isn't interested in any form of college right now. He wants to work and will need to be placed by a special person who deals with kids who have disabilities. Seeing all the kids who were obviously college bound made me sad until Sonic met us after the ceremony and he was so excited and proud of his gown and his special day.

    Sonic had six people at his party, which was all the family that could make it. We have a VERY small family. Sonic didn't even want a party. Honest to God he asked me, "Do I have to be at my party?" (other parents of ASDers may relate to and chuckle at this). But it was a very nice, cozy little affair and now Sonic is done with school and waiting to be placed in a job.

    Sonic is not the only kid I've had who rained on my parental parade. None of my kids chose to go to a four year college and a few of them were certainly college material. So I never had that total "parent brag" glow. Plus we have such a small family that our parties always seem empty. But the kids that are now doesn't matter anymore what they did for high school. I am sooooooooooo proud of Julie (my little pastry chef) for her good job and getting a degree in what she likes that I am bursting. And SportsFan has so many problems and personality flaws and is still quite selfish...he was certainly bright enough for college easily, but he has mental illness and had to drop out. He is still not a mother's dream, but I love him.

    I think you will get over it and I think your feelings are normal.
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    Sounds like difficult child was trying to avoid all the social stuff. From what you've told us about him, it makes perfect sense.
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    MWM: My difficult child doesn't have any Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnose (Asperger was considered by his neurologist, but while his neuropsychologist evaluations came up with some traits, some key traits were not there and his overall functioning was too high for diagnose) but I can still relate to "Do I have to be in my party?" question. Only that difficult child was aware enough, that he kind of had to, so he tried to come up with the way, not to have birthday parties but still having the presents from guests, when he was younger.

    But he seems to have more trouble with his own parties than someone else. We were really running around from one party to other whole day Saturday and difficult child had to wear tie, which he considers a sadistic Croatian torture device and he knew all that beforehand and still came. He had a perfect excuse to miss all the parties. In fact I didn't expect him to come, because he had to give up his only day off in three weeks to sit hours in the car and spent a lot of money on gas just to go all those parties. He could have easily stayed home and just send cards or even Fb messages instead. So other people parties are not the problem.

    Maybe the problem is, that in his own parties you are kind of centre of attention. But also that seems silly, that he would hate being centre of few people so much, then he absolutely loves it, when he plays and is centre of an attention of few thousand people. And would just love to be in centre of an attention to even bigger crowds. And let's face it, keeping those graduation parties would be well paid job. Few hours of uncomfortableness but because most guests would give money as present, the hourly salary would be very good. If he plans to graduate without any ado, he will only get presents from closest family.

    But of course, it is his choice.
  10. keista

    keista New Member

    This is not a s big a contradiction as it seems. I can totally relate to this. Being the center of attention of several thousand ppl is non-intimate. You wave, and they adore you. At a party, when you are the center of attention, you are face to face with everyone - VERY intimate situation.

    In my younger days, I never passed up a party (uh, except for proms), but on my wedding day? My very first thought was, "Gosh, I wish Town Hall were open today so I could just get married and forget the whole party thing!" Seriously. I wanted to get married, I just did not want to deal with all the attention. When I shared this with friends and family they were quite shocked. It's quite a contradiction, but i can totally relate.

    I'll also say that I too have many Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) traits, but wouldn't qualify for a diagnosis.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Awwwwwwwwwww, Suzir. All I meant, hon, is that I understand how you feel and that it's normal. And you can certainly vent to us. We do understand.
  12. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Maybe I should just accept that one neurologist 'diagnose' we got for him is indeed the best one: "People are different. Some people are more different than others." That kind of sums it up with him.

    I was checking some dates and how his fall schedule will work out or will it (yeah, yeah his business, I was just curious) and ended up looking some pictures from some junior national training/development camp or whatever. Anyway, he and other boys same age group as he. There was also pictures 'behind the scenes' them outside of practices just killing time, doing things boys that age do. Playing XBox, playing cards, surfing net, just hanging around and chatting or watching movie. They all seemed to have camp t-shirt but their own pants etc.

    All the other boys seemed so bright eyed, sporty and confident. Even those basic tees fitting well and looking good. Sporting either clean cut or trendy hair cuts, carefully done, most having very trendy accessories, pants either trendy or comfortable or both. Trying to look good for the camera. And then there was my difficult child. Somehow ended up with tee at least two size too big (and not in the right way, and no, he was not the smallest boy there), slouching next to wall in the way that make you wonder if he has any bones at all and if he would just drop to the floor if wall was not keeping him up. Hair on his eyes (and not because being emo or any other fashion choice, but because his last hair cut was so long ago and next one would likely be when hair is so long he can't see and that starts to bother him) and just looking so not belonging as one can. Well at least he was there and not in his room.
  13. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    SuZir, I think you're onto something with this statement. Maybe this is as "normal" as your difficult child can manage to be at the moment.

    Honestly, your difficult child sounds a lot like I was as a teen. Obsessively interested in the things that interested me, not really having much interest in things that didn't, unable or unwilling to go along with social conventions just because they were expected of me. The times that I did so, I did so grudgingly at best.

    Here's an example:
    When I graduated from university, not only did I skip the convocation ceremony, but I didn't tell my family that it was taking place until it was over (and too late for them to arrange the usual social fuss that goes along with such events). I didn't get a graduation photo, or even collect my diploma from the university office until 10 years later when I needed to provide it to my employer for their records. My mother was crushed that I didn't care to participate in such an important life milestone, but I didn't see any importance in it and couldn't understand why anyone else would want to bother. I still don't regret skipping graduation, but as an adult I have realized that sometimes it's important to go through a stupid social ritual that you hate just because it makes someone else happy and you want to make them happy.

    Maybe your difficult child will get to that point someday as well.
  14. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Ya know...

    I had this vision of getting married at 20, 3 kids by 30. Happy, everyone got along, loved each other, no fighting.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA boy did I NOT get what I wanted.

    And sometimes I resent the HECK out of it.

    Please - VENT, whine, groan, *itch, whatever... We do understand...