A fork in the road maybe...good vibes please



I've had two longish, friendly, chatty phone calls from difficult child - 1 last night and another this afternoon. Just the phonecalls themselves are a WOW since he has been known to be out of touch for weeks! I am sensing some positive changes and I could really use some good vibes that they're real and they stick.

difficult child is now living temporarily in NW North Dakota working on the restorative landscape crew for a major contractor who is running pipelines up there. His job is just for the summer, the company is putting up their crews in trailer bunkhouses. North Dakota is like a frontier almost- growing faster than the infrastructure can keep up. He is in the middle of nowhere surrounded by men and it's an expensive place to be; low supply and hi demand for everything. He started this job in NE and it was a lot cushier, they were lodged in a hotel in a decent small town and it was just him & his 3 friends the first month. Now they are working with the utility/road crews- aka real "working men" and it's been an eye opener. He said they are the smallest & youngest guys around and they have to be careful because fights are constantly breaking out in the bars & sometimes they get hassled for being young and working a "summer job." Fortunately, older guys working for the same company have ben watching out for them. I gulped hard & advised him to PLEASE ignore the hassling and to walk away from any temptation to engage in an altercation. He said " Mom, I walk away and we lay low most of the time. A few of the older guys are taking us under their wing, so we hang out at the camp & barbecue and share meals and stuff. I am pretty sure I can't risk another punch to the face and losing anymore brain cells."

He mentioned that he is trying to get home for July 4 but that it's difficult since he in the middle of nowhere. I asked him how long he would be working there, and he said he is definitely not staying past the summer. He also said " You know mom, I've been thinking about it, and I think I am going back to (former) school in "college town". I have to contact them and find out what I need to do to enroll. Being around all these crews has made me realize that this is not for me, I really need to get a college degree."

I know, you are rolling your eyes at me. I rolled my eyes when he said it. been there done that, tee shirt and all. Except that he said it, all on his own, freely. And I think it's the first time. It is also the first time that he made a mature comment about the sucker punch to the face -almost 4 years ago- that was the beginning of his spiral down.

And then he asked me if I knew about "Danny", And he told me that Danny had died a few days ago. The rumor is a heroin od but no one is sure. Apparently,Danny posted a "60 days sober" message on his FB page a few weeks ago. Danny was a friend from HS- a year younger than difficult child, a year older than pc19. They all went to the same school since K. difficult child played FB with- him; they worked out every day together the summer before difficult child's junior year in HS. That was the summer difficult child had his 1st brush with SA. When we found out he was experimenting with drugs & alcohol, we grilled difficult child for "who, how and where?" and Danny was the "who." I intended to call Danny's mom to let her know and my own shame/pride/fear kept me from doing so. I've always regretted it- especially when I heard when Danny went to rehab his own junior year in HS. And now I regret it even more. I can't even imagine her pain and I am just heartbroken, he was a lovely child & a warm & friendly young man despite his addiction and his parents loved him beyond measure and did all they could to get him help. Addiction is truly evil.

I am guessing Danny's death prompted difficult child to call and reach out to me. It's been a long time since difficult child reached out. I know Danny's death must have shaken him to the core; it very well could have been him.

And finally, difficult child's was back here for a few days between their NE & ND stint about 2 weeks ago. He and his coworker/friend came for dinner and I really like the friend. Nice boy, clean cut, working hard for tuition money for the upcoming year. difficult child pulled h aside before he left and quietly gave him $500 to repay us for his college textbooks from his most recent failed semester. Mind you, we never asked to be repaid. This was all on his own. Another first.

I am not getting my hopes up too high . Could this all be signs of some sort of progress? Yes, but that's my mommy heart speaking. My difficult child-mom self knows that any sign of progress could dissolve in an instant and that I need to be pragmatic. For years, I have been struggling because difficult child has never seemed to learn from his circumstances, he's been a Peter Pan. Maybe he is finally starting to see the light?Please hold a good thought for me and for him...
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Calamity Jane

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Wow, Signorina...he's come a really, really long way. He's had some real world experiences and had to learn from them. He's also seen his brothers thrive and move on, and in his recent clarity realizes this is his time to take responsibility for his life. That means he's thinking of a future, and with the $500 repayment, he's acknowledging his boneheadedness in the past. This is great news! I'm optimistic and hope you'll be posting more good news as time goes by! You've been through the mill, Sig, and I'm so very happy to hear this report!


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Sig, Definitely holding a good thought for you and difficult child.

I am so sorry to hear about difficult child's friend Danny. What a tragic loss. I am sure this news did have an impact on difficult child. So very sad.

On other fronts, It does look promising Sig. Your son is perhaps maturing??? It sounds to me like he is examining his life and looking at where he wants to be in the future...And acknowledging your and husband's sacrifices in the process by paying you back for text books is awesome!

I am hopeful...or at least cautiously optimistic for you both!


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Sounds like huge progress to me. An event can trigger the lightbulb to go off and the death of a friend who did drugs is a big event. Crossing fingers, eyes and toes, but it sounds very good.


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Interesting update Sig. I have read and watched reports about the job surge in North Dakota and the influx of workers and the growing pains associated with that kind of growth. It will be interesting to watch the progress in that area.

During my husband's post grad school he worked one summer for a relative that owned a company that put in footers for those huge utility poles you see driving across the country. Like your son he worked among men who did this for a living and said it was the hardest job he ever had. Luckily the men looked out for him and didn't let anything bad happen to him. I suspect that kind of work and the kind your son is doing is enough to convince may young people to finish school.

If your son does decide to go back to school he may very well finally have the drive and commitment to see it through this time. Will keep good thoughts that this is the lesson he is learning. Thanks for the update.


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Sounds like he is headed in the right direction. Hopefully, going back to the college town won't make him go back to his old ways. Can you suggest another college where he won't be close to his old contacts?


Really, his old school is his only shot (a long shot at that) as far as being admitted. I am detaching myself from any input, especially unsolicited which is really hard for me! He is definitely on his own as far as going back to school. (At least until he has a successful & verifiable semester under his belt.) He has a bad tendency to dangle school in front of us & this time I am not jumping at the bait!
I am happy for his obvious progress. Maybe the time away with decent, hard working men has done a lot of good. I'm praying it continues.


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Staff member
Sig, I am hoping with every fiber of my being that this is the turning point for your difficult child.



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Oh I am crossing my fingers, toes and everything else I can cross.

I will tell you that I was a huge difficult child as a teen and didnt even graduate HS. I got my GED two weeks after my class graduated. There is a long story behind that. However, several years later...two kids later.... I went back to college and got my degree. I pulled down a 4.0 average while taking care of three kids under the age of 6! It can be done.


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Add me to that list, too. I was a MAJOR difficult child growing up and quit school in my sophomore year. I became an exotic dancer as soon as I hit 18.

Then I met my husband who convinced me to make something of myself. I got my GED, went to college during the day while working nights and now make very good money. It was a two year sacrifice trying to raise two children at the same time, but it was worth it!

As you all know, my ex-difficult child got her GED at 16. She is still very determined to go to college once Connor gets a little bit older. She is experiencing the natural consequences of her life choices and realizes she messed up. She admits she should have stayed in school and went directly to college.

I do have hope for all of our children...


Thank you everyone. I really appreciate it. I haven't heard from him since though I did not expect to. I remind myself that expressed how he felt at that moment and those feeling will probably pass and I shouldn't read into it too much. It IS and needs to be enough that he said it and felt those things, even if just for a moment, that IS growth and shows he is capable.

Like many have mentioned in their replies - I had an "aha" moment around age 20 - I took a year off from school and realized that if I didn't go back ASAP, that I never would. And that getting a degree was important to me and it was "now or never". H had his own aha moment at age 22; his mom had divorced his step dad, sold the house & moved away. H was sleeping at a friends parent's home -in a spare room - and next to the ironing board and going from one mediocre job to the next. He said he woke up one morning and realized he didn't want to sleep next to the ironing board and that he wanted more from his life. (he had to quit college at 19 & move home to go to work & care for his younger sister when his mom's marriage went kaput, and then she just abandoned him & moved out of state) He took charge of his life at that point, went back to school, worked 2 jobs, etc.

So I know it *can* happen and I am crossing my fingers that it does for all of our kids... SOON!


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Sig every so often my difficult child will mention wanting to go back to college. I just smile and say something like, that's nice. I will not take the bait. We financed two tries and the next one is on her.


Hello Sig, I am SO happy to hear about your son..just even working out in North Dakota is awesome. I fear everyday ( even when my son lived with us ) that he's going to get into BIG trouble with the law for money. I'm sure he's been a runner for drugs....simply for $$. If he were to get caught this wouldn't be jail time for pot and a DUI but Prison time.
Just the fact that your son is out working his own job, and working hard at it is progress. I actually had a dream before my son took his NEW overnight job where in the dream I was walking with him to work holding his hand and he was just a little boy. Now he's gotten into worse drugs as he met really "Bad" people at his work and he blames it all on me since I was the one who applied for the job for him. He's thrown this in my face ever since his first arrest. Soon as I start to feel guilt I've have to tell myself that he would've done this no matter where he was working. My son did a semester at college but if it weren't for me pushing him, filling out his FASA , etc. he wouldn't have gone. I'm sure he met druggie pals at school too. These kind of people are everywhere and my husband keeps telling me "it is who he CHOOSES to hang with".
Keep us updated on your son, and I thank you for your reply on my thread I posted yesterday ..."missing my son.."
Midwest mom and Childofmine
have really helped me, telling it to me straight then at the end of the post always letting me know they are so sad for my hurting mommy heart. Yes, I'm guilty...I have raised a mommas boy , not by his choice but my own.:distress: