I participated in graduation activities for work. I saw 17 and 18 year old students, some with obvious struggles and some with seemingly the world at their feet. All of them are moving on to the next phase of their lives. All of them successfully completed high school. Some are the first in their families to do so. I saw excitement in their eyes. I heard pride in their voices. I am proud of them, but I couldn't help but think of my stepsons and how far off the rails they have gone. Last spring and summer was a brief oasis. We saw them regularly, but those days are long gone. It almost seems like that brief period of time was just an illusion. Neither will see or speak to us, unless YS calls my wife to scream and curse at her because she is annoying him with texts. DS was supposed to graduate this year. He has sophomore credits. He just quit his latest menial job. He is now unemployed. He has not done any work in his online school since just after Christmas. This is either OK with his father, or his father is too afraid of DS to hold him accountable. By comparison YS is doing well at his therapeutic school, if "doing well" means passing his classes and getting on the bus each morning, but summer is imminent and they do not offer ESY in his district. Camp or another structured summer activity is a non-starter. If YS says he doesn't want to do something, he doesn't do it. His custodial parent, his dad, is a doormat and doesn't believe anything is wrong with his son. There's probably some sort of legal recourse, since my wife has joint custody and we pay a big chunk of each check in child support to their dad. She is supposed to be involved in their lives, and Dad is supposed to support that. But he does not. However, with one child turning 18 soon and the other now 16, and with the level of estrangement and alienation between my wife and her boys, it's doubtful a judge could make much difference. Just feeling sadness about what is not at the moment.