Okay, this is something terrible to admit. I hesitate to do so, but my kids aren’t going to go searching on the internet for me and I think I can get away with it.
I’ve been a helicopter parent, hovering, hovering. That’s my choice, my fault. In fact, the worst thing I did for my kids was not to set limits. I had such a wretched, painful childhood that I wanted to spare my kids that. I could always see things from their point of view, and I didn’t want them to hurt.
So of course I ended up with kids who always look to us to rescue them, who can’t survive without us supporting them. I feel like we can’t do anything for ourselves, when money’s so tight, because we have to make sure our kids are all right.
Then again, I have two wounded kids. My daughter, solid and funny and smart and hard-working, had what used to be called a nervous breakdown around the time she turned 18. She hasn’t been the same since. She’s fragile, unable to do more than two classes at a time in school, is easily crushed. She’s had some moments of independence — she figured out where she wanted to go to school, arranged financing, etc. I didn’t realize until it was too late that I had to co-sign the loans. But since I’d been paying her $1000 a month rent in Philadelphia it was cheaper, and she seemed focused. As it is now, she’s been in this school for 5 years (three years at other schools which I paid for out of pocket) and graduation isn’t in sight. If she can’t do more than two classes, how is she going to work full time (she’s never held a successful job). And several of her college loans are asking for money because she hasn’t had the financial aid office fill out the proper forms. She’ll be 100k in debt if and when she graduates, and I can’t envision her working.
And my son, who’s coming home for a week on Thursday (paid for by his ex). I’m really really annoyed with him, and I’ve never been angry with him in his life. All the totally fucked-up things he did, I would grieve for. The expensive schools, the opportunities, and he’d simply go back to his old ways.
Mind you, now he’s relatively clean and sober. Because his drugging and drinking was done at such a young age (starting at 12!) and he had a number of years at therapeutic schools (costing anywhere from three to six thousand dollars a month) his body was able to mature out of it. I don’t think adult addicts and alcoholics can return to using responsibly, but I do think it’s possible for kids whose brains hadn’t developed.
Anyway, as far as I know the weed and drinking aren’t the problem. His moods are. And he’d being a total asshole to Erin, who, poor soul, wants to get back together with him. And he’s holding her hostage, emotionally.
I finally wrote him and said he had to decide if he wanted to be free and unencumbered (which he thinks is what he wants right now) or have stability, which comes with responsibilities. And if he chooses freedom then he has to accept all the uncertainties, financial and otherwise, that go with it.
We’ve bought every car he’s ever owned (except for the $300 one) and I was about to co-sign a loan for a more expensive one when he didn’t even have a job. I’m insane. And we’ve been supporting him out in Detroit, simply because our life is simpler and calmer when he’s not here.
But enough is enough. I’m tired of him. I’m tired of his complaints, when he’s been given more than almost all of his friends and not really had to work for it. I’m tired of my daughter’s absolute inability to face the hard facts of life.
I want them all to go away. They’re not fun anymore.
Isn’t that a terrible thing to say? A horrible, wicked thing to admit? I’m tired of trying to fix them, particularly since it never works. They have to fix themselves. You’d think they’d want to, but both of them still expect to be rescued.
And God knows I still want to rescue them.
My son has severe learning disabilities and a screwed up body from a bad snowmobile accident during his druggy phase, making many many jobs unavailable. My daughter has severe emotional issues.
But he’s 25 and she’s 28. I won’t ever be able to cut the apron strings with my daughter, since we co-signed those damned loans that she’ll never be able to pay back. But we can tell my son that it’s time for him to grow up. Either be a man, find a job and accept the responsibility of his family, or stop asking us for money.
It’s no wonder I don’t want them around. All these problems I can’t fix, and they don’t seem to be trying to do anything to fix them themselves.
And it’s my fault for indulging them, fixing everything in the past. Or at least I share the blame.
Long, long rant. I love my children, would gladly die for them. I wish they were still the sweet babies who loved me, but then I’d have to go through all that hell again till they grew up. So no thanks.
It always seems like everyone else’s children have got it together. They hold jobs, they have families, the girls have boyfriends or girlfriends by the time they’re 28.
Long rant and I don’t know if I’ve come up with any answers. Except to let go and let god, something I always forget to do. The best step (for me) of the 12 steps is number three. Turn it over to my higher power. I can’t fix it this time.
And it kills me.