My son signed a plea bargain for 12 years in prison today. Because this charge was an aggravated robbery charge he will have to do at least six years. I could write a few paragraphs showing how he was mislead and easily influenced and poor child he got a bad deal, but the facts are he chose to be with the people who robbed a convenience store and also who robbed his dad's house two years ago. Plain and simple. Part of me wants to live with the hope that maybe these years will be spent learning a trade and at least he will be "safe" but truly as time goes on I lean less and less on hope and more and more on acceptance of what is. He is and will be okay as he is relatively happy with minor things such as a "tasty treat" on Thursdays. I do know by his neuropsychologist evaluations that he is one who has to have many repeated consequences of his behavior to learn from it so to punish him into making it so hard that he will learn a lesson is not a valid option. He would gladly endure in a dumpster and not have the ability to pull himself out. I have allowed myself to feel the emotions and pain of this and even allowed myself to cry in court today. Not a horrible sob but was able to not have to be perfect and put together. For years I stuffed my emotions in order for others to be okay and not bother them, but lately I've been letting others know how their actions make me feel. Not so they can change, but owning who I am and how I feel in order to decide what I like to be around. A new way for me. I'm still not where I want to be on self-care and eating right, but I'm starting to tell myself I am just okay as I am today. Amidst all the turmoil with Difficult Child the last two years, I have managed to earn my MSN - woo hoo. I await the big certification exam on Sep 13 and have been and will be studying. I could not and would not have made it without you wonderful people on this forum. Even Al-anon people just look at me with pity and sadness when they know the whole story - as does most of my family. The wisdom and honest emotions shared here have been a safe place for mine to come out. I thank you for this.