Back history: A month ago, I met with difficult child's (former) counselor to discuss "parenting strategies." At the time we discovered difficult child's paraphernalia purchase, we called the counselor and he emphatically supported our decision to not support difficult child (financially) so long as he is using. When I met with the counselor last month, he was VERY surprised to learn that difficult child had actually stormed out, never to return. He gave me two recommendations - A) To be prepared for difficult child to be arrested as a best case scenario and decide what we were willing to do when (not if) the call came B) To break the ice with difficult child before he came home for TGiving, to set firm standards of living in our home, rehearse and memorize them and emphatically spell them out to difficult child before he came home for break. So, we drove 4 hours to accomplish B. H gave him a heads up earlier in the week that he would be in the area on business. I texted him that morning and said I decided to tag along. We picked him up in his spotlessly clean apartment (complete with empty liquor bottles lining the space above the cabinets), heavily scented by air freshener and took him to lunch. He & H watched the game, difficult child picked at his lunch and when the check came, I pulled out my legal pad and H and I vocalized our "standards of living." We started out by saying that our hearts and trust were broken and that we wanted to take this first step to begin to mend them. And that we love him very much and nothing could change that. Basically, be home before 12:30 on weeknights, 1:30 on weekends because WE need to sleep, if he will be late he needs to sleep elsewhere, be a good example for younger brothers, do not promote drug or alcohol use or provide either to them, if we find drugs or paraphernalia in our home we call the police, no porn or sex or profanity in the house, no driving our cars at all because we know he could test + for marijuana use. And that so long as he followed those guidelines and respected us as his parents, our home would always be open to him. Interestingly enough, he did not say "boo." Did not ask for clarification, did not deny that he is using. In fact, when H explained that the vehicles are off limits - he told us he planned to buy a scooter to use for work (in my opinion acknowledging that he was & would continue to use) It was not a warm reunion but it wasn't ice cold either. No hostility which was a relief. Seems to be living pretty high on the horse, so I am not sure (well, I don't want to know) how he is affording it all. Remember my "mommy heart" sent him some basic groceries last month? I asked him if they made the pancakes (I included pancake mix & syrup) He told me they got blueberries & strawberries, chocolate chips, cool whip and caramel sauce to go with them. Not quite a grocery list for a guy who is broke...he also traveled to North Dakota to visit a friend, and has gone to a few Big 10 (ticket $$) football games at neighboring schools (gas money$). *Sigh* In the car on the way back, he asked to read my notes and then asked if he could keep them. Said something to the effect of "you went to the trouble of writing them"... it struck me as WEIRD. I know I need to stop trying to read into things - but I also know you guys understand. It made me feel unsettled - he didn't say it appreciatively and it's not as though he was euphoric about us allowing him back home - so it's doubtful he wanted to memorize them to be a brown nose. It was just odd. H felt similarly. I almost feel like he is looking for loopholes or to hold it against us. (Like "I can do this because it wasn't on the list") Time will tell. Maybe he intends to put em in his pipe and smoke them. Or keep them as proof of his hyper controlling mother to show his therapist when he is 40. I was very glad that I had written out the notes on the ride up instead of carrying in my computer copy...I wrote them longhand because I didn't want him to immediately become defensive when I pulled out a typed set of sheets! My typed set (in my purse) was a long work in progress and had the detachment statements plus some gems from you all on them -- as well as my notes for future conversations... ( I like to think things through by writing them out. My typed notes were actually pages from my laptop journal that I printed) We sat PC17 down today and told him everything we said to difficult child so we could keep him in the loop. Also tried to emphasize we are happy to pay for his education & the costs associated with it so long as he got decent grades and behaved himself. And we reminded him that he has been a delightful kid and that he does not need to be perfect. difficult child has used up all of his rope...PC17 hasn't even used an inch of his own. And that we appreciate it very much. I had an older brother who was a difficult child and it made me scared to death to screw up in front of my parents. Anyway, not much to report. Glad it's over with and we will see how it works out - I am mostly concerned about his month long winter break Dec 23-Jan 24. So a really long post with no real news to share...see what i said about thinking things out by writing?