Tomorrow my son turns 21

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    We're taking him out to dinner at the local microbrewery...He says he wants to see what the big deal about it is - he used to live across the street, but has never been there. They have a "sampler" of their brews. He's not that much of a drinker we feel odd about it, and that's his choice - we've always given him choice of restaurant for his birthday that's where we're going.

    But it says something about me that I keep thinking about an actual gift.

    In February we paid for a new smartphone and one month of service - over $100 - and told him that was an early birthday gift.

    In March we paid $140 for electric so it wouldn't be shut off...but after that the bill was on him. His apartment building burned before he had to pay April.

    Now that he's homeless until May, we've paid $70 for one night at Days Inn and $300 for a week in the cheapo hotel. We've bought food, twice (not too pricy), paid $40 for his phone service and probably another $40 in laundry machines and detergents, etc., to clean his and his roommates things from the fire, in addition to storing anything salvageable and cleaning the dishes, etc., which was a nasty job.

    When they move in May, we've already said we'd get him Goodwill furniture and he'll need some new cooking utensils, etc. We'll probably give him another old TV, since the last one we just left in the sooty apartment (one of those big old ones you can't give away)...and we want to buy another anyway for ourselves. We'll likely help them a bit with other expenses of getting into the new apartment too.

    In short, we've spent a boatload of money on him since this fire and there's more to come.

    In December we gave him a blue-ray player (early Christmas gift). This weekend we learned it's gone. He pawned or sold it, as he does anything he gets of any value. :(

    Still, part of me says, "It's his TWENTY-FIRST birthday!" Birthdays have always been a big deal to me. I shouldn't feel this way. I shouldn't think I should give him something material, because he won't hold on to it anyway.

    :sigh: In another life, we'd be giving him a computer or a decent amount of cash or a car. In another life, he'd deserve and appreciate them and would treasure anything we give out of love and generosity.

    I want that other life.
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  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I hear you! I want "that other life" too... the "neuro-typical moving forward kid's parent's normal" life.
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  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Lil, pick another milestone date to celebrate in a few years. In fact, pick a couple. Age 25 is one... nicely measurable, if you ask me, and by then he may well be more stable and mature. If not then, how about 29?

    Age 21 is more significant to YOU than to HIM. So, don't celebrate it now. Celebrate when he reaches "maturity".
  4. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    We took our 29 year old and his sister out to a Mexican restaurant for his birthday in February. We did not buy him a gift.

    We've paid for his college. We've paid for rehab. We pay his rent. We pay for improv classes to treat his social anxiety.

    He doesn't expect a gift.

    Christmas is different, somehow. Mostly practical stuff, nice clothes and the like.
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  5. youngfool

    youngfool Member

    I know how you feel I've spent thousands over the years with bills rent cars insurance repairs anything of value has always been pawned it hurts to see this happen and wonder what the f--k are you thinking don't you see what this is all leading to but they don't the final straw was he took out a title loan on his car after I spent 3500 on a new motor of course he didn't pay so now it's gone finally got the message no amount of money energy would solve this sad to say but I've started my journey of loving detachment your not alone
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  6. PonyGirl65

    PonyGirl65 Active Member

    I hear you, Lil. I completely relate to the conflict of buying a birthday gift when you've already done so much! Birthdays are a big deal to me, too. I think taking him out to eat is a wonderful tradition, and I do understand you'd like to commemorate the occasion with "something more". 21 is kind of a mile-stone birthday, after all.

    Shall I tell you, when my son turned 21 he was in County Jail....? He was granted Huber privileges and I brought a birthday cake to him at his work.

    When my son turned 31 (just a few weeks ago) he was in County Jail. He would have been given Huber but he had no job. I did not do anything. Not a card, not any commissary funds, nothing. I feel bad about it now, but there ya have it.

    And wow, I just realized the symmetry of that. 21st birthday in Jail. 31st birthday in Jail.


    So here's just my gut reaction: Go buy him something! ;-) Even if it's just maybe a jumbo-pack of his favorite candy bars or something. Wrap it up in bright happy paper. Or make a mix-tape (do people still even do that) or something else home-made. Do something sweet. Do it for YOU, so you feel better.

    (Sorry Jabber! Us Warrior Moms tend to stick together);)
  7. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    We live in such a materialistic world where people feel they have to spend X amount of dollars on birthday and Christmas gifts. I think taking him out for dinner is a nice enough gift. He gets a great meal and to spend time with his parents...who have stuck with him through thick and thin and continually are willing to help him get on the right path. Who else has done that for him? Who else has stuck by him? These are things we continue to reiterate with our son. Anyway, I like the idea of getting him a more personal home-made gift. How about making a batch of his favorite cookies or his favorite meal and wrapping that up? Or you could always do my old standby...underwear and socks! Hey my husband loves getting those on holidays! LOL!!!

    Ponygirl...mix tapes? He'd probably look at it and be like, "What the heck is this?" Does this generation even know what cassette tapes are?

    Lil and Jabber, I hope you have a nice time at dinner tomorrow, and happy birthday to your son.
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Which is exactly why we've never given our son "his" car. Well, that and the fact that he was told twice what to do to "earn" it. First, it was: Get a job and pay for the insurance and your own gas and it's yours when you graduate from high school. Then it was: Get your associates degree in two years and it's yours when you graduate from college. He did neither. I've thought, We should just give it to him so when he's homeless he'll at least have a place to sleep. Or, Give it to him and he'll be able to get to work without worrying about our useless bus system in this town. But if we did...he'd title loan it in a heartbeat. :(

    I smiled at the mix tape too, they burn mix CD's now I guess. :)

    But I do love the cookie idea. Maybe a big batch of cookies will be baked tonight. That and a card and dinner. I think that will have to do this time.

    You're right, I'm sure. I think it means more to me than to him.
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  9. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    I don't think they even do that. They simply make a playlist on their iphones.

    I used to love making mix tapes. Ah, the good old days!
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  10. PonyGirl65

    PonyGirl65 Active Member

    :biggrin: Of course, I was speaking metaphorically of the nostalgic "mix tapes" LOL
  11. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hear you. It's so hard to shop for birthday and Christmas gifts sometimes. I tend to avoid sentimental things and go for practical.

    by the way, when it comes to buying "stuff" for a new place (utensils, kitchen supplies, etc)? I vote you take him to the Dollar Store (or go yourself to pick stuff out). You can get just about everything there.
  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    That's where most everything came from before. :( Next time I'm thinking a goodwill or salvation army thrift store. This will be round 3. The first, his landlord threw away! (Granted, after we called a lawyer about that the landlord paid for everything, but that money was, of course, spent.) The second - fire. But really, most of the pans were ruined anyway because they were cheap non-stick and he didn't wash them right and scraped the Teflon off. Some stuff we just didn't bother trying to pick out of the sink, etc. and left.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Skip the non-stick. Even the good stuff has to be handled with care.

    From garage sales or thrift stores only, you can get good cast-iron that is well broken in and easy to care for. Stainless is also easy care.
    I'm building a move-out box for each of my kids... son gets used pots and pans some of which are my old ones... daughter paid for her own full set of brand new pots and pans - yes, she likes cooking! She will end up with a few Teflon pans as she is extremely careful. Son doesn't want stuff he has to be careful with (at least he acknowledges that!)
  14. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Wow, it just seams like a few months ago that you were posting about his last birthday. Crazy how time flies.

    Enjoy your dinner with him and leave it at that.

    I know how you feel about the bluray. There's just nothing like buying something nice for your d_c only to have them pawn it for cash. I've been there too many times with my son.

    You have done so much for him, I do hope he lets you know it's appreciated.
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  15. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    His first set of pots and pans was my old set. Heavy metal, not stainless or cast iron, but something very, very heavy. They were over 20 years old and were great, but I'd been given a lovely stainless set from a friend who had two (hers and her new husbands). Still ticks me off those got disposed of.

    You know, Jabber and I were talking and we can't even remember what we did for his 20th. He was in the apartment we ended up paying for...but I can't remember if we bought him a gift or not.

    Actually, did a search of this site and found my post on last birthday...took him to dinner and gave him a little bit of cash.

    I kind of wish I hadn't read those posts. He's not much better than he was then...and I seem to be about the same. Maybe a bit less distressed and angst-ridden than I used to be about him.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  16. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Good idea on birthday dinner Lil.

    I have already been thinking of my son's 21st birthday which is at the end of August. That is about the time he'll be moving from sober living to the college dorm if all goes as planned (via my husband) in Fort Myers. We will not even SEE him on his birthday. Lord knows he's done enough partying to last a lifetime. Not waiting til 21 to drink like the old days!!

    Since we're paying out of state tuition and we've paid for rehab, sober living, endless medical bills, a car (that's been mostly NOT in his possession due to his bad choices), etc. I'll probably just call him and send him a birthday cake emoji!
  17. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Birthday friend gave her 18 year old son a "living in your car kit" which had some useful items, a roll of quarters for the laundrymat, some wet wipes, a gas card, some small gift cards for fast food, and hand sanitizer...maybe a few other items, too. KSM
  18. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Yes, that 21st has a whole different issue when there's been too much drinking already. As best we can tell, that has not been our son's issue, so a microbrew or two won't be an issue. If he lived far away, I'm thinking a card is a great idea. I'd maybe mail a care package...some of those cookies we've been talking about. :)
  19. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    I hear you!

    I want that other life, where my money goes to courses passed ( because I pay for school, but they get dropped) and things that are positive instead of my yearly "donation" to the university and paying off drug dealers and parking tickets! I am an alum of the university and they call looking for donations.... If they only knew how much I donate to them already

    We are getting a nice tax return, the original plan was to put it towards summer tuition, but we are going away with it instead.... I'm tired of working so hard and feeling so tired and resentful.

    I love my boys, but I think I want to start being more selfish, we all have been the ones sacrificing so much for them. I think it's time we gave them our love and support but that's it. The financial burden and guilt is exhausting.

    I hope you have a nice dinner, and that with a card and cookies is a thoughtful and lovely gift. ❤️
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  20. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I didn't do anything for my daughter's last birthday. Christmas, yes. The birthday, no. We had just spent thousands to be with her in hospitals and physical rehabs. And the thing she needed most - money - I couldn't trust not to be spent on drugs. I felt so badly that when I saw her a month ago, I didn't give or offer her money. Now that she has been arrested, I am glad I trusted my gut and held back.

    I want that life too - normal holidays, normal milestones. But for me, when she doesn't have her own place, she spends money on drugs, what kind of gift could I get that wouldn't be ridiculous? So I just didn't.