It was a wonderful Christmas at our house, the weather was beautiful, we planned ahead and it actually worked out, all of Santa's gifts for difficult child 2 were things to build and do, which held him over til the rest of the gang got home to open gifts, we didn't rush from one house to the next, I just really enjoyed Christmas for a change. Other than... After he went back to base from leave, he called me every day, at least once a day, sometimes more, up until 3 or 4 days ago, then he stopped, cold turkey, no calls or even text messages at all. I just assumed he'd made some new buddies and was hanging with them. Now I wonder. Yesterday, difficult child 1 called. He sounded great, upbeat. He'd had guard duty yesterday morning, was eating lunch, which was a huge spread brought in by some volunteers, and he said it was wonderful homemade food. We had a nice conversation. He talked to difficult child 2, asked about the family and the day's plans, etc. Then towards the end, he said some of his burns were almost healed. I said "what burns". And he said they'd had him on suicide watch because he'd been burning himself with cigarettes, apparently fairly significantly, and apparently he started while he was here on leave. He thought suicide watch was stupid and it was all a big joke, and when I suggested maybe burning himself wasn't really a great idea, either, he got snappy and made it into no big deal. I tried to salvage the conversation by joking that next time he comes home, I won't be able to let him go play with that friend. He didn't take any joke, he snapped back and said "I'd like to see you try." We managed to get back on a less hostile note, and ended the conversation on a positive after that. Amazingly, its all been calm in my head. I think I accepted some time back that I can not control him. I love him, I do not want him to self destruct, but I can no longer stop him. And the distance the military has given me from him helps. He's in as controlled an environment as is possible, he has a lot of direction and specific rules about conduct, but he's not here, and I am ashamed to admit, that's a relief. I have spent the past 15 years worrying myself sick. Half the time worrying about him and that the signs he exhibits are signs of bigger problems; the other half worrying about me, worrying that I make a mountain out of a mole hill and that there's really nothing wrong with him, its just my inability to deal with "normal" things. I guess if nothing else, this gives me a little validation that I'm not completely crazy as a parent. If the Marine's think he might kill himself, surely I wasn't too far off in worrying about his behavior.