Monday, December 21, 2009


My oldest came home from the new school Friday afternoon threatening to take the van home (almost a four-hour drive). I told him he did not have permission to take it as we were going to stay the weekend since Sam's son was coming. I would drive us back home on Tue. afternoon, the last day of school before Christmas break. My son refused to give me his car keys and told his brother to be ready to leave at 4:00 p.m. I ended up calling the non-emergency police. This was after both boys were verbally disrespectful, swearing and all. Before the police officer arrived, my son offered to give me the keys but I did not back down on his coming. I wanted an officer to speak with him and lay down the law so to speak.

While I was on the phone with the dispatcher, I could sense her disapproval. She kept telling me that my son had to give up the keys because I'd told him to. She made some comment that I needed to demonstrate authority and control. I don't disagree with her. It saddens me that my sons have been so trying and acting out as of late. But considering this is the first time they've really done so since their Dad's death six years ago, I am willing to cut them some slack. I kept thinking how as a counselor working for the county five years ago, I too would often tell harried parents the same line I'd just heard: "You're just going to have to get Junior to his supervised court ordered visitation with the father he refuses to see because you're the parent and have to. You need to be stronger and have more control..." These poor parents, mostly moms would tearfully relate that 16-year-old Junior was a hulking 200 pounds and 6 feet - how did I expect them to force him into a car? I understood what they were describing and did feel for them. Funny how the table is now turned.

The officer did speak to my son telling him that if he left without my permission he could be facing time in a juvenile facility if I pressed charges. My son appeared to understand. The first part of the evening was quiet with Sam at work. But later my oldest infomed me that he was supposed to go out to a family dinner with his girlfriend and they had already paid for his meal. I'm not sure how true this is but in the end we scrambled and came up with the compromise of my driving back home Sat. a.m. with my oldest while my youngest stayed back to "babysit" Sam's son, which we would pay him for. The hope was that we'd be back late Sat. night.

We left at 7:00 a.m. on Sat. with my son driving. I constantly kept warning him to slow down his speed but he unfortunately picked it up while I wasn't looking and got pulled over by State Trooper for going 82 in a 70 MPH zone. This resulted in a $140.00 ticket which we surely do not need financially. But on the other hand I figure he was bound to get a ticket sooner or later and it was probably better I was with him when it happened. He admitted that his girlfriend got a ticket on Thur. for rolling through a stop and another friend was in an accident also last week.

My son spent the day with his girlfriend and her mother's side of the family (her mom passed away from cancer in March). My son received some nice gifts and had a wonderful buffet dinner. I had some time alone in the apartment and was able to tidy it up some. We were too tired and it was too late to drive back to Sam's so we stayed the night and left later in the morning. It was a good thing we didn't leave too early because there was darned snow again and as we drove there were numerous, at least 20 vehicles off the highway and in the ditch. That had happended earlier in the morning and the worst of it had passed, so at least the drive wasn't too bad. But the past three drives to Sam's have involved challenging winter driving conditions and that doesn't make it easier for me - I am just more anxious all around.

My son's mood was better as we drove back to Sam's. His friends from back home have already started break on Fri. Both boys know we are going back tomorrow for the whole break. Tonight is a band concert at the new school and it will be interesting to compare the two groups. It is funny. One of the main reasons I have wanted to become involved/remarry is to not have to attend school events like concerts and sports events on my own. So here it is that I have reached that point of being in a new relationship and living with someone - but I am still attending the Holiday Music Concert on my own just as I did last year because Sam is at work. Why do I somehow feel that the Universe is mocking me?


  1. How did Sam feel about the "showdown" with your sons and the speeding ticket?
    When you were discussing going back and forth, I could not help but think of that major snow storm that came up the East Seaboard, and the things that can happen unexpectantly.
    I do hope that this was a lesson learned by your son, it is hard for him to forsee the things you can, and he needs to listen to you and be respectful.
    Although it's not that easy...unfortunately.

  2. Debra - Sam felt proud of me for sticking to my guns with the police officer. He told me that a number of times. He regretted that he was at work and could not be with me to lend a hand with the situation. He also felt that the ticket was a good lesson for my son to learn, although it is a painful one. The ticket needs to be paid at the start of the year and it means that the funds for Christmas gifts will need to go toward that.

    I guess I find it kind of ironic that my son ended up going home anyway this weekend. I hope he realizes that in the end, Sam and I both have tired to focus on what is best for he and his brother. I wasn't that thrilled going home (it costs $70.00 between tolls and gas roundtrip). But he and I did talk during the drive - and I think both boys are honestly trying to express their fear and frustrations to me (since the showdown).

    Thanks for commenting. It touches me that someone who doesn't even know me would have an interest and care!

  3. These power struggles are so difficult as a parent. I too often get so caught up in holding my ground that I forget that as teenagers they just don't quite have to ability to clearly communicate their needs. Michael often acted as the buffer, which I came to really appreciate and rely on. It has become one of the biggest challenges for me now that he is gone. I think the kids really miss having the second parent figure around to help when situations like this arise.

    What at first glance appears to have been a very trying weekend for you, later becomes one of insight and understanding. I like that. Although the weekend trip ended up being costly, and time consuming, the value in the lessons learned make up for it.

    I am a child welfare social worker, and have also experienced the irony of having the tables turned. Life's day to day problems don't escape any of us, espeically where teens are concerned. Do you note a tone of displeasure in this phase of parenting from me?

    Hang in there.


  4. Wow. I found your blog in a google alert and started reading. Bless your heart. It must be an awful time for you. Easier said than done, you've got to find your strength and say this is the way it is and I'm going to make a new beginning. The past is rightfully your past but the sooner you heal, the sooner you will find out where you're supposed to be. The boys are going to act're way too tired right now to know which route to take in discipline but you've got to do this for not let them see you crack. This is what they will remember the rest of their lives (talking from personal experience) and it's going to shape what kind of people they will be so you've got to do this for you and you've got to do it for them. Once they see you happy again, they'll be happy again. When they see you lose control, they don't know how to handle it. Find that's in there somewhere. ;o)

  5. Dan - It so helps to have another adult by your side parenting along with you. Everyone benefits, kids and parents alike! And it is just so darn hard doing this parenting thing alone. I appreciate connecting with someone who understands this and is a social worker as well!

    Boomer Chick - Thanks you for your honest and genuine comments. I do understand what you are suggesting but it can be mighty difficult at times for widowed parents to rise up to the challenge, not crack and find that smile. Any suggestions on how to accomplish this would be appreciated - sometimes I think it is easier said than done.