I’m upset that I can’t keep this place up for very long without falling off the rails. For that I apologize, especially after my series on true scaling was going so well. I want to explain what’s been up. This isn’t for you so much as it is for myself. I just need to quantify and process everything that’s transpired in […]
I’m upset that I can’t keep this place up for very long without falling off the rails. For that I apologize, especially after my series on true scaling was going so well. I want to explain what’s been up. This isn’t for you so much as it is for myself. I just need to quantify and process everything that’s transpired in the last twelve months.
This time last year we took on my wife’s two youngest half siblings. A girl, the older and a boy, the youngest. Two more teenagers in addition to our own teenager. We don’t have a lot, but they were not in a good way and my wife, knowing how her mother was, could not let the kids remain in their situation. We decided to risk everything to help them.
With the aid of my own family we provided for their material needs: their own rooms, new furniture, new iphones, laptops, clothing, televisions, everything we or our son had, we made sure they had. As their stand in parents we also provided support, advice, counseling, schooling, encouragement, a stable living situation, commitment and love. But with that love and commitment comes boundaries, borders, and correction. I guess that was their first problem with living with us.
Things were awkward for them as they got adjusted. There were ups and downs that we chalked up to them being both young and out of their element. They had lived in the same town for their entire lives up until then. We knew there would be some growing pains. But, my wife and I were unprepared for all the pains. Weeks of talking, supporting, and encouraging led to a brief calm, but the youngest was still very defiant. I tried to open them up to a world of opportunities that lay before them. All they had to do was believe that they had the ability to take them. That didn’t go over so well.
By April the youngest was in open insurrection against us and nothing we did would change his mind. He had failed to adjust and wanted nothing to do with us. He wanted to go back home. Everything he claimed he needed we gave him: Love, attention, judo lessons, a job. He was unable to see how we were sacrificing for him. With each thing we gave him to quell his needs he turned against us as a problem contributing to his displeasure.
To pay for the rising costs and grocery bill my wife took on a second job, working upwards of ninety hours a week so all of us could eat well. I had been a stay at home father for my son as he grew up, clearing the way for my wife to pursue her career, but I had to take on a job too. But, without an adult in the house at all times, the situation deteriorated quickly. My over worked wife was stressed beyond belief trying to appease and contain the spiteful teen. I was forced to quit a job enjoyed very much to maintain order.
Despite all the defiance the youngest had in fact changed, although he would probably never admit to it. His outlook had shifted, his respect for others went up, he got straight As for the first time in his life, was on the honor role. He had earned employee of the month at his job, and scored the highest military ASVAB score in his high school. But, no matter how much he gained in being here he couldn’t get his head out of being back at home. The only way I can describe it is that his real family had zero expectations for him and I think that was simply easier for him to handle (I.E. laziness). Worse yet he attributed all of those wins purely to himself and didn’t see in any way, shape, or form, that our help gave him a platform to succeed (I.E. Selfishness).
In the last three months his insurrection against my wife and I turned to life altering disappointment, and sometimes criminal action.
When the kids became employed, in order to facilitate a positive start in their adult lives, they agreed to put 2/3rds of their job earnings into their own savings accounts. The rest would be for them to spend as they pleased. Our only request was not to use the money in the savings account. Unfortunately, he did. After I caught him he agreed it was dumb and went to set it right. Within twenty days he did it again, but even more, to buy collectible shoes.
After this he was fired from his job for failing to request off for a family holiday. We gave him over a month of notice and he either failed to follow up with the request or he lied to us about actually requesting it off. When we returned he was fired for job abandonment.
Later, he was caught giving another child at school his medication. His status as an exemplary student is the only thing that earned him a reprieve from felony charges being filled on him for distribution of a controlled substance and potentially ruining his life. Due to the nature of what my wife does, we told him that this was the end. He had one more shot to get right.We couldn’t risk his activities affecting our family nor did we want to see him ruin his life. We loved him and the more we tried to hold on to him, sometimes for his own safety, the more he tried to squirm free.
The next school day after his suspension he asked kids to punch him in the restroom hoping the incident would incite our threat to return him home. The police couldn’t punish him because they didn’t have enough evidence but knew exactly what he had done. We were awestruck, disappointed, and saddened. Everything we had done to help. Everything he had accomplished. He simply didn’t care. He would give in to selfish pride.
After he was fired from his first job he was given an opportunity to work at my wife’s second job as a waitress. Through the mercy of my wife and a sympathetic manager he got employed as a bus boy. He was excited to get working again. He loved that people liked him and that they gave him free food. After a mere three weeks he was caught stealing tip money… not just from another server, from my wife. After he was caught, on camera no less, the management believed that he was the reason for money going missing conveniently around the time he was hired. He was banned from the restaurant and fired without remorse.
At this junction you might be wondering why we hadn’t already sent him back. I’m only outlying the huge things. This doesn’t include the day to day minutia of him being almost unable to listen to basic direction. Everyday was a struggle. Oh yeah, he even used judo to throw my own, twelve year old son (at the time), on the bare ground when they got into a fight.
None of this includes the things the other older child was going through. This doesn’t include the rare times my son would have issues, or my wife’s work issues, or my wife’s second work issues, or my wife’s other brother’s career and family falling apart (whom had also lived with us before these two), or my own, simple problems.
Everything just kept piling up and we couldn’t ever find a moment to breathe. Every month there was a large meltdown facilitated by him and buried underneath the debris of everyone’s day to day problems. Each month when things finally started to calm, just for a moment, they would both blame us and say were weren’t trying hard enough to make it work. When things got tough and we tried to rein him in he would tell my wife he was going to deliberately make our lives a living hell.
I would try and counsel him, advise him, and guide him. Hours and hours of talking and shedding tears with and for him. The sleepless nights of my wife and i crying in our bedroom hoping he would come around, praying for his clarity and well being. My wife and I both knew that sending him back wasn’t an option since the beginning, but after stealing from us, after everything else, we have to send him back and he doesn’t care one bit. In fact, he chalks it up as a victory for himself.
We’re now waiting for the court decision to release us from guardianship so he can return to his parents that neglected him, that told him they didn’t want him, that let him run amok, let his school work go unnoticed, that hit him, that couldn’t keep the lights on, that couldn’t keep the heat on, that are on welfare, that live in a house were heroine addicts go to die, that can’t stop doing drugs, that can’t stop smoking, that can’t stop drinking, that can’t stop stealing from their own family. All of that is apparently easier than living with us. I guess we were truly terrible human beings.
Even before we sent out the court paperwork we pleaded with him to stay. We gave him a final chance to make things right because we know what apathy awaits him back home. He might have forgotten, but we haven’t. My wife hasn’t. He didn’t care, and, in fact, went out of his way to make sure we understood he didn’t want to be here by trying to get his parents to recite back the exact procedure with the court documents to him once they arrived. His mother even took this important conversation with him and attempted to divert it to her and what other people in her family were doing in their lives. She couldn’t even hold her attention on him long enough to get things straight. Long enough to help him work through what he considered to be so important. There was no urgency, no care on her part and he’s so blind that he can’t see it. To him, it was irrelevant.
My wife just sat and cried.
Most would probably sleep easier knowing, finally, that he doesn’t have a shred of compassion for what we attempted to do for him, but my wife and I still feel terrible for him and everything he’s giving up on. Life can be disheartening when you have higher hopes for someone than they have for themselves.
Once all the dust settles I plan to get this place running again.
Update: The final day he was here he went through our house and stole items from every member of my family. He was returned home, in his head: victorious. But my family, and his sister are left here to pick up the pieces of our broken lives that he ruined.