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

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