Backyard Feeder

Backyard Feeder
photo taken through porch screen

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My sons are OK

This past weekend I took a trip from Quincy, Illinois to Green Bay, Wisconsin. My mother in law was hosting a baby shower for our son, his wife and the baby boy (Ayden Michael) who is expected to make his debut in February. Our three oldest sons were together and it was a wonderful time.

My husband almost forgot his meds—that would have been a mistake, but the son that lives near us and drove up separately but at the same time reminded him when he called about meeting for breakfast before the trip. We ended up not forgetting anything important and it was a great trip.

Our youngest son appears to be in episode or under the influence of his, also mentally ill, girlfriend and since he is on probation, he was not included. I have been stressed about his behavior—he seems to have no conscience at all. He stole and pawned his father’s tools while he was living with us and lied until his father found the tools at a pawnshop and threatened to involve police. When we were getting ready to leave, we couldn’t locate our GPS unit and Troy (my bp dh) learned that someone had attempted to pawn one similar to it that day—so police are involved and our son and his girlfriend are suspects. I keep thinking—What did I do wrong to have a son that does this? How did I fail to parent him properly? Being the all-powerful mom, I automatically assume that it’s all my fault and that if I had just…but I don’t know what I should just have done… that everything would be normal.

Anyhow, spending time with my older sons, the sons that saw more of the craziness and less of the disability money, the sons that should probably hate their father and me for staying with him, those older sons seem to have turned out pretty good. They love their father and one another. They were all full of concern that this baby will have everything that they can find for it—picking up any missing things after the baby shower.

The three of them have partners who get along and care about other people. I truly love the girls my boys have brought into this family. There are plans being made for a christening that involve my oldest asking one brother to be the godfather of his son and the other to play guitar and sing at the event. Both are thrilled to travel (it’s a 8-9 hour trip for both of them) for this exciting event.

Knowing that the sons who have the most reason to be damaged are doing fine. It finally is starting to sink in that it’s not poor parenting or even growing up with a bipolar father that is to blame for the craziness in our youngest son. It is probably at least partially genetic—I’m more sure than ever that he has inherited the “crazy gene” from his father but we have no control over that so it’s not our fault. He has also made bad decisions while in episodes and while stable that have set him up for some difficulties. Again, we can counsel him to make good choices and to do the next right thing, but what he does is his responsibility. I guess what I’m saying is that in spite of the fact that my son may be growing into a sociopath, aside from making sure that I’m not enabling his behavior, it really isn’t my fault or responsibility. And at 18 he is still young enough that if he can be persuaded to get help, he can still be turned around. But I can’t be responsible for things I can’t control and my prodigal son is something I can’t control—much as I’d like to.

The moral of this story, for anyone still reading, is that even in a totally chaotic home, with the right mixture of love and one stable parent, it is possible to raise children into healthy, happy, responsible adults. But there are NO guarantees. Who’d believe it?

Bonnie Rice
Author of Love Has Its Ups and Downs
Wife to Troy, BP1
Mother to Michael, Christopher, TJ and Joshua

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

My resolution for this year is to write something every day. I would like to write something for my blog every day, but I will probably do more writing in my notebook on days that I have to work. A more realistic goal for the blog is that I will write something at least once a week--on a day when I'm not working.

I'm not sure what I think about New Year's Resolutions. I know that many people make promises to themselves and few people actually follow through. I don't want to start the new year with a lot of big plans and ideas and not get beyond the planning phase. I do think that a new year is a nice starting point for a project--it is easy to remember the date you started and you don't have to think about how many weeks or months you've spent working on it. It makes the math easier.

How do you keep your resolutions? Do you follow through? Do you skip the whole process? Do you start strong and slow down? I really hate to start this and post this on my blog and then not follow through.

I guess posting here is going to be a part of my motivation. I can't very well post that I'll be writing at least once a week and then not post something new every week. Accountability, whether it is to a close friend or the reading public, is one way to stay motivated.

Simply writing the plan for myself makes it more likely that I will follow through because I have to do more than just let the thought cross my mind to write the plan. I have to think exactly what I want to do--write something that isn't email or a forum post. I have to decide how much I want to do--about a half hour per day, more if I have the time and inclination. I have to decide how much of what I am writing will be for myself and how much will be "published"--most of the writing will be private, but at least one piece a week will be something that I am willing to share online. That's not just a formless idea, that's a plan.

I almost hate to do this because this isn't a polished piece, but I think that it is important that I post this to start my 2011 writing plan. Wish me luck. I'm going to need it. I'm basically lazy.