Christmas Blessings

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by BKS, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. BKS

    BKS New Member

    So as it happens this time of year, we receive one of those newsy Christmas letters from a family member or friend. This one came in today from the family (father, mother, son, daughter) and my husband grew up with the father. They are great people, salt of the earth, and we really love them. We see them a couple of times a year and enjoy their company.

    This year their letter reads like a who's-who list of accomplishments for their two children (age 21 and 18) from Honor Society, church leadership positions, community leadership roles (the son 'takes on naturally'), working with children in their community, youth programs, etc. - both children are making our friends (rightfully) 'so very proud.' The youngest is looking at colleges right now.

    My husband and I have one child, 19 years old, kicked out of the house, unemployed, and proudly doing drugs. We didn't sign his name to our Christmas card this year because he isn't living with us and we weren't sure if he would 'go off' that we included him on our card. I cannot write my own letter of our past year but instead I made a list (for this group only) of the positives in our lives:

    I have decided that we are thankful for the fact our son is alive, young, and has his life ahead of him. We are thankful for the peace that he is not living under our roof because of the ghastly stress this was causing our family. We are thankful that he is in touch with my husband (mostly by text) " even though some of his updates are stories bragging of different drugs he is experimenting with. Our family therapist has told us to ignore these messages and make no response and we are thankful that we can receive this professional advice. We are thankful for our health and the ability to look toward the future, with hopes that our son will find a sober and productive adulthood. And importantly, last but NOT LEAST, we are grateful for this forum allowing us to exchanges thoughts, prayers, and feelings with others going through similar struggles. Without the comradeship, advice, compassion, and care from those on this site, we would certainly be in even greater pain including feelings of isolation from the rest of the world who seem to have normal children moving forward with their lives. Plenty of blessings to appreciate - I just don't want to mail them out in a newsy holiday letter.

    Best, BKS

    I would like to add a postscript. As I write this I am trying to be positive. However, I keep wondering what my husband and I did/didn't do............
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    BKS... I'd guess every single one of us on this board end up wondering the same thing.
    What if. If only. Why didn't...

    Know what I've discovered... thanks to some really good people here on the board?
    We do the best we can with what we know...
    If we had known better, we would have done better.
    What is past, is done. What is important is today, and tomorrow. If there are any changes to be made, it is in myself, in preparing for today and tomorrow.

    The rest is... water under the bridge.

    But. He's young. And many of our difficult child kids (and difficult child siblings ...) somehow survive those early-twenties, and by the mid-twenties start becoming sane and productive. There still is hope.

  3. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    All you can do, in the face of these holiday newsletters, is to remain posiitive (as you are doing) and to realize that these people are clueless. They do notmean to cause harm, they simply do not inhabit the PlanetGFG and, therefore, have no idea that a world exists outside their own.

  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I do understand that it can feel awkward when someone is just bragging on and on while your child is still struggling. However, in moments like that it's best to remember that despite what it appears no family is perfect and they all have their issues. If you could peek into their private lives, you might be shocked at what you'd see.

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    BKS, years and years ago I wrote one of those holiday letters and posted it on here as a parody. The shame is it didnt get archived. It was priceless. I didnt keep a copy and it was so long ago there is no way I could replicate it. I wrote it on my work computer I believe and if I didnt, the computer I wrote it on has hard its hard drive has been wiped at least once even though it is still sitting in a room in my house somewhere. That computer was two computers

    I do remember one sentence in there was something to do with my youngest son. He was 14 or so and was in a group home at the time. He had just been arrested for taking fake pot (weeds from the side of the road) to this group home and attempting to give that to other boys at the group home as pot. He was arrested and charged with felony possession of pot and felony possession with intent to distribute. Talk about overkill. Well I said it the newsletter that "Cory has decided he has developed an interest in the pharmaceutical industry and is now working as an intern in the manufacturing and distribution process. We couldnt be prouder of him. I am sure this interest will take him so far in life!"
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi BKS. I would imagine most if not all of us here can relate to how that note made you feel. It hurts. Recently I noticed on Facebook a post from a woman I went to HS with who put up an article about her son, a very successful business man, who at 37 invented something extraordinary which would benefit mankind and now switched careers to be an inventor. She is from a very loving, extremely successful family. On all counts she has had a charmed life, so very different from mine. It had a negative impact on me for a little while. Then I remembered that comparing my life to another's is always a negative experience. How you felt was a pretty normal reaction. What you did to relieve your pain was an excellent choice, count your blessings, be grateful for all that you have. A very, very good choice BKS.

    We are a unique brand of parents on this board, thrown into this strange world of difficult child's............we learn resilience, courage, strength, resolve, commitment, compassion and how to love our kids in a very different way. There are no rewards or merit badges, but I believe, in a larger picture, we learn to do what your signature says, 'when we are going through hell, we just keep going' and our experience in that hell elevates our humanity and offers us a connection to others in our understanding and compassion.

    And, to respond to your postscript, here's my unsolicited advice, throw all that wondering what you and your husband did or didn't do overboard. The likelihood is that you did all the same kinds of things that your note writing friends did, but, for reasons unknown to us parents, your son turned out the way he turned out. I don't think self blame serves any purpose but to keep you suffering........ as if knowing what you could or should have done will change anything, it won't. He is who he is, it is what it you presently handle the cards you have been dealt, is all that matters. And, from what I can see, you're doing a stellar job under very challenging circumstances. How we respond to difficult situations brings out all the strengths we weren't aware we had. Asking your son to leave, going against your natural parental instincts and societal pressures takes a lot of courage and holding that line takes facing our fears and displaying valor in the face of adversity. You are a Warrior.
  7. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I hate those newsletters. I think they are just the delusional ramblings of parents who close their eyes to many shortcommings. I don't even read such letters when they come. I might skim them and then I toss them in the trash cause tht is what they are. Just garbage ment to continue and maintain the comeupance of the writer.

    for instance, I have a dear friend whose son was using extacy and I worked up the courage and told them. They knew all my difficult child problems and that I wasn't judging just trying to help. They did nothing you would expect a parent to do. In fact they defended their son as "just a kid having fun". He didn't get hooked on drugs thankfully and is a very sucessful adult making a great salary and living a life of celebrity in the big apple. But it has since come out that he is gay. He came out to his family and also to my daughter. His parents told him that he isn't to ever talk about it to any of their family or friends because they would have to move. Their son is a wonderful guy. I love him dearly and know how this attitude hurts him. They have never breathed a word to me (mom's best friend) or even to mom's cousin that they do everything with. The son was not allowed to bring his partner to his sister's wedding although another gay relative was. Their son is hurting but to hear the parents you would think that life is just peachy for all of them.

    @Janet, I remember that leter but unfortunately do not have a copy. I thought it quite funny at the time. -RM
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    BKS, having only one child (like me) makes those doubts even greater. I usually choose to believe if I had a easy child he/she would have remained a easy child. So, it really was not my doing. Sure.....I made mistakes and would do some things differently...but nothing would have changed who my difficult child was/is. And no other human could have changed her either. And I am glad she is her own self now. I would not change her at all!
  9. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I get those Christmas update letters, too. A friend's son is going for his PhD, and her other son is my difficult child's age and is going to another fabulous college, Dean's List. I'm really proud of her kids, I've known them all their lives, and I love them dearly - they're just great kids. But I'd be lying if I told you my heart doesn't hurt just a little when I read it - sometimes I dread even opening the envelope. Even my easy child looks like a failure compared to her kids - sigh! But that's just the way it prayer is simply for both my kids to reach the potential God gave them in the time He permits them to be here.
    Cheer up...don't forget to be thankful for this board, too!