This will be huge whiny vent that I'm not proud of, be warned. This was a weekend of High School graduations there here. In our culture there are three big celebrations during ones childhood, christening (for close family, usually only baby's immediate family, grandparents, godparents and uncles and aunts are present), confirmation (when kids are in their teens, extended family, relatives and closest family friends are invited) and then High school graduation, which is traditionally open invitation party for family, friends, neighbors, even parents' business associates. First 'public showing' of your kid and yes, kind of a brag party. Close to hundred guests during the day is not that uncommon. This is a spring most of my difficult child's class mates graduate. With relatives, friends' and workmates' kids, neighbors' kids, kids who started in the same Church playgroup 16 years ago, difficult child's friends, easy child's friends etc. we ended up visiting in nine different parties all together. To some parties we all went, but there was also a time in which everyone in our family was in the different party (fortunately parties last all day and you are expected to just stop by for an hour or so.) Major scheduling hassle, but we made it. I also sent out 12 sets of flowers, gift cards or cards to those we were unable to visit. I'm happy for all those kids and their families but I can't help of feeling also jealous. It's not that difficult child was not graduating. He will graduate in his own time and I would not have any problem with him graduating next spring. Many do that. Take an extra year during the High School for year abroad or to accommodate their schedule with time consuming hobby like sport, music or something else. Most of difficult child's former team mates are doing that. But difficult child plans to graduate at fall. It has always been possible, but in old times only those who failed their final exams graduated at fall, so it wasn't really celebrated. Now the system has been much more flexible almost 20 years and some just choose to graduate at fall after spending either 2,5 or 3,5 years in High School, but still fall graduation day is not at all as big of the thing as spring graduation that is almost like national Holiday. Those who graduate at fall also tend to miss all the prom type of things as also difficult child has done. I would still be okay with difficult child graduating at fall and having parties then. But no, difficult child did inform me yesterday that he will likely have a game on his graduation day and anyway he will not want any party. He will not even go to school to have his diploma. He is very sure about that and it is of course his choice. He will miss gifts he would get from all the guests, but that is also his choice. It is his graduation, he has a right to make those choices. It is just that I feel cheated. This was not what I thought I signed up when having him. I have worked so hard to get him through school. In his first day of Kindergarten, in first recess, he did run away from school, and was found by police five hours later (those were the long hours I can tell you) and it only went downhill from there. If someone would had told me six years ago, that difficult child will indeed graduate from High School I would had been so happy. But now that graduating have seemed like a sure thing some time now, I have begun to want more. I want my bragging rights! I want everyone to see, how good grades he has, how well he is likely to do in his finals. I want to show all those people who looked me with pity or disdain during those long years that difficult child did it. That he did just as well or better than their perfect kids. And difficult child is not willing to give me that. And I feel resentful. In fact I feel resentful for also other things about who difficult child is. Not only because his bad choices, but because who he really and truly is. And I'm not proud of it. I do love him, dear heavens I love him, but he is not the kid I always wanted. We are part of minority and like many minority groups our minority culture and identity tends to be very important to us. In the very essence of our minority culture is community, being social. We spend a lot of time with family and friends, have parties and entertain guests. Go vacations together with family friends, our kids tend to do everything together with their 100 closest friends etc. Community is important. My mother, while being part of this culture and being like a fish in the water when she chose to participate had a great disdain towards this culture. But I have always cherished it. I loved those times when my mother chose to participate and take me with her or when I was with my grandparents who were very much part of the culture. One thing I fell in love in my husband was that he does embrace this culture. It is important to me. difficult child has never fit in. At times he tries, at times he doesn't want to do even that, but never has he fit in, been really part of it. It's simply not him and I feel bad because of that. He is not a kid I always wanted. And I feel even worse feeling like that. I know I'm complaining about something I shouldn't. My son is not here to make my dreams come true. He is valuable as his own person. But still I feel cheated. To go back to my beloved dog metaphors it is like I had bought a Irish setter puppy for dog shows. Imagined I would get a dog like this. Dreamed of taking it to shows, maybe even winning some. And for some reason the breeder wouldn't have given me a puppy from show lineages but a true bred field trial puppy. Magnificent dog on it's own right, but totally different creature than that show puppy I wanted. If I would try to take him to dog shows, I would be laughed out from there. And my dog would also be totally unhappy, because he was made for hunting. To run and find game, to work, not to gate proudly in circle and stand still and look like a beautiful statue. It's not even that I wouldn't have that 'perfect show dog', my easy child is very much the kid I always dreamed of. And I'm sure that with him I will also have that full experience of being a parent of High School kid, with all the parties and like. And as I said, it will indeed be a great victory to have difficult child graduate. His schooling has been rough time for all of us. And I have to admit, that for him it is probably better he has some distance to our minority and culture (in his current town he probably knows one or two people who belong to same minority, there are very few of us there.) He may feel less as an outcast. And while he may have to deal with some prejudice because of being minority, it may be easier to him, because those people snubbing him are not 'his folk.' But he is not complying with my 'parenting plan' to give me a good 'parenting experience.' And at times that makes me resentful, even though I know I have no right to that.