And a lot of it (angst) is created by me....by my own anxiety. This week I heard from difficult child on Monday and I kept it short, making plans for his birthday which is tomorrow. He engaged a bit about his background check for a job and the problems with it, but I kept it very short and didn't encourage a back and forth about it. Then I texted him Thursday to see what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. No word. easy child had said his dad and he were meeting difficult child for a birthday lunch so I thought, well, I guess I'll know more after that and I will just make the cake of my choice. I know difficult child likes Birthday Cake ice cream from Marble Slab so I am getting that. But....the angst in me was increasing....so yesterday I went by the day shelter to see if he was there. They know me now. Ugh. They said he hadn't been there today, so I just left and thought, okay, well, I guess he'll contact me or he won't about Sunday specifics, i.e., where to pick him up or what time. Later yesterday I had three or four missed calls and then a message from an unknown number and my stomach tightened up, but I didn't call the number back. difficult child left a message saying that his phone was stolen earlier in the week and he would try to call me again later. So he did, and asked me to bring him some flip flops and some clean clothes to McDonald's, which is about a mile from my house. I went and saw him for the first time in a month. He looked good, and I was glad to see him. He had two friends with him and I bought them all food and we sat outside on a table and talked. The friends asked me questions---one had gotten beat up the night before and had gone to the ER, said he has a severe concussion. difficult child told me later that that guy is his friend who he tries to protect because both of the parents are dead and he is homeless and somewhat off and the day shelter is trying to get him benefits. Okay. Then the other guy is the stepson of a former NFL player and they don't get along so he's on the street. He later told me he hasn't talked to his own mom in a month and a half, and he seemed sad when he talked about not seeing his little sisters. He says he is going back to college at the end of August. difficult child said that guy wants him to get an apartment with him. So.....as I sat and listened and drank my diet sweet tea, somehow I started to feel better about difficult child's situation. Who knows if any/all/some of the above stories are true? I guess the thing is, difficult child has a community. Then, he used my phone to call his dad and brother about the lunch today and we walked over to a shade tree to stand while he did that. Another guy, an older man, walked up and gave difficult child three dollars. This is another homeless friend. difficult child said, "see we stick together and help each other. That guy is just an old drunk, but I've helped him before and now he's sharing what he has with me." Okay. difficult child said he is going back to Goodwill Career Solutions Monday morning to keep on with their process of helping him get a job. They help felons get jobs. I said, why haven't you gone back to the Salvation Army to at least stay in their shelter? He gave me some answer about the treatment center, waiting on them, and if he goes to the SA and then leaves he can't go back for 90 days...plus, he said he's still mad at them. So....okay. I said: what about a halfway house? difficult child said he has called all of them (???, all, ???) and they all want a month up front. Hmmmmm...I don't think so, but I said....well, I believe your family will help you get started if we truly believe you are ready to make a start. Then he started telling me how he hasn't used drugs at all (ask any of these guys, Mom) but is drinking and smoking cigarettes. "I'm 25 years old and I've got to get going here." That was one thing he said yesterday that had a ring of real truth, I believe. So...okay. I came home and told SO about it and he is....shall we say....skeptical. I am too. I am trying not to be on the hamster wheel of craziness, wondering what, who, how, when, why, if, etc....endlessly. There is no redemption there. All of that is talk. It is action that counts. I have learned that over these past years. So, what action has occurred in the last month since he got out of jail. What action to change his situation? It sounds like he is going to probation (county and state) weekly. He has not been arrested again. He said he went to Goodwill and went to a two-hour orientation before he found out about the background check. He didn't jump on the halfway house idea even though I clearly indicated I would pay for it if he decided to go, at least for the first month. So....time will tell. We are picking him up at the same McDonald's tomorrow at 4 and will take him to difficult child's house where we will have beef burgundy, broccoli with cheese sauce (both difficult child's favorites), salad and bread, and then birthday cake and Birthday Cake ice cream, and then easy child will take him where he wants to go after we are through. I know it will be a hard afternoon but I am hoping I can have a good attitude about it all, which for me would be living in the moment, enjoying being with difficult child, doing something for him that is okay to do, and then letting him go, to whatever is next for him. Easier to write, will be harder to do. My mother has sent him a check for his birthday. I will give that to him, with very mixed emotions, but as SO and I talked,she didn't ask me for my advice and I am not going to try to control or manage what she has decided to do. My sister has sent me a check for difficult child and told difficult child in the card that I will have the check. That is a harder deal, because as I posted early on here, they had all given me money for him for Christmas and that was a huge burden. I am going to put the check in an account that I am going to open, plus will put some money of my own there, and maybe we can use that one day to help him if and when he gets ready. My son was very sweet yesterday. He said thank you several times. I tried to listen to his friends, and just sit there and spend time. It was good, actually. We hugged and said I love you several times. My heart was hurting but I was still glad to see him. I just wish so much for him, and I would be so glad to see something good start to happen. And I know so well that he is the only one who can make it happen. I am trying to be grateful for the good things right now, today, and accept reality. I'll let you know how tomorrow goes. Off to make the beef burgundy.