One night at 2:30 a.m., my son called and asked if he could sleep on our couch because the place he was going to stay that night did not work out.
Part of me wanted to tell him, “good luck,” but, another part didn’t want anything to happen to him out on the streets in the middle of the night. I was afraid that no matter what I did, I was going to make the wrong choice.
I reluctantly went to go get him but let him know that he had to leave the house by 11:00 a.m.
The next morning, I woke him up at 10:00 a.m. and suggested that he go take a shower and get some breakfast so that he would be ready to leave by 11:00. He would not get up.
I was so exasperated. After getting up at 2:30 in the morning to go pick him up and bring him back to our house, he paid me back by refusing to wake up. I didn’t know what I was going to do. The more I tried to get him up, the more stubborn he became. Eventually, he got up, but it was already 11:20, so I left the house 30 minutes later than I had planned.
I told him that now he would have to walk wherever he was going because I did not have time to drop him off anywhere. He got so angry at me and said, “You mean you can’t f-ing drive two more minutes out of your way?”
Not, “Okay, mom. I really appreciate your picking me up in the middle of the night and letting me stay here. I know I should have gotten up sooner and that now you are late for your appointment. Don’t worry about it, I can walk.”
Instead, I got yelled at as a thank-you for my mid-night generosity.
I had no idea what I had set my husband and I up for when I let him spend the night, but that morning was certainly an indication of what was coming.
The next night, he called at 9:00 p.m. and asked if he could just spend one more night here because Spence had gone out of town and he couldn’t stay at his house without him.
We said we would call him back after we had a chance to discuss it. It seemed probable that there was more to the story than he was telling us and we didn't know if we should let him stay without knowing the truth about what was going on.
When we didn’t immediately agree, he let us know that if it weren't for our attitudes, he wouldn't have had to move out in the first place and wouldn't be in the position he was in now. My husband pointed out that we didn’t make him give up his home two months ago, he made that choice all on his own. Of course that made him mad and he swore and hung up on us.
Unfortunately, he is unrelenting when he wants or needs something, so he called back a few minutes later and tried another manipulation tactic. He said that he was going to move to Colorado with a friend since he had nowhere to live anymore. At this point, I think he fully expected us to give in and beg him to come home, on his terms, rather than move out of state.
I recommended that he not move to Colorado on the spur of the moment at 9:30 at night, but wished him luck if that was what he wanted to do. He sarcastically shot back with, “Well, we aren’t going tonight, I still want you to let me crash on your couch, again.” I told him that we hadn’t had a chance to decide yet and would call him back in five minutes. He said that we had 2 ½ minutes.
He sure wasn’t making us want to roll out the red carpet.
But, we were just gluttons for punishment and stupidly thought that at least if we let him stay, we would know he was safe for the night, and that maybe this time he would appreciate it, and it would influence him to reconsider the idea of moving to Colorado.
We called him back and said that he could spend one night on the couch under the conditions that he had to take a shower before he could even sit on the couch, that he had to wash and dry his smelly--dirty clothes, and that he had to make sure that he spent the next day finding another place to stay.
He rudely shot back with, “Well, I will be in Colorado by tomorrow night, so you will be rid of me just like you have always wanted.”
I should have added the condition of being nice to us, because he certainly was making sure that we were going to have to walk on eggshells all night in order not to set him off.
He was at our mercy while we drove him home though, so at the risk of having him jump down our throats, we asked him why he had nowhere to stay anymore and wondered if he got kicked out of Spence’s house. He said that it wasn’t any of our business. We said, "We think we have the right to know, since we are bringing you back home." He finally admitted that everyone got kicked out because Spence was going to have to go to D.T.
My husband suggested that if he couldn’t stay at Spence's anymore, then he should spend some time that night thinking a lot about his future and what he was going to do because the last two months hadn't really gotten him anywhere. Of course, his reaction to that was to swear at us, tell us that we didn’t need to worry about him anymore because he could take care of himself, and that we should just shut the hell up because we didn’t know what we were talking about.
We were driving him to our HOME, were going to let him eat our food, wash his clothes, take a shower, and sleep on our couch and this was the attitude that he gave us. I honestly wanted to just pull over and make him get out.
But, of course, we didn’t--because of the whole glutton for punishment parental thing that we had going on that night.
I was so tired the next morning. I had woken up almost every hour during the night, feeling nervous and wondering why I was awake, only to remember that my son was sleeping on my couch downstairs. Then, I would try to fall back asleep while thinking, “What are we going to do?”
He didn’t seem to be in a very big hurry to leave the next morning and was acting as if being at home was as normal as ever. He was just hanging out, finishing his laundry, and even being fairly nice.
The calm atmosphere led us to dare to approach him with a proposition that might make his life a little easier. We said, “Look, you don’t have anywhere to live right now and just in case you don't really want to move to Colorado, we thought that if you can agree to follow the rules of the house, you could stay here for awhile.”
We gave him detailed list of rules so that there could be no misunderstanding about what we expected.
No using marijuana or anything like it (spice, etc). No using any drugs of any kind. No drinking.
No smoking cigarettes or anything like it (e-cigs). All of the above paragraph means that you can't do it at our house or anywhere in the world.
Random drug testing, more often than ever, will take place. Positive tests, or even you smelling like pot means that YOU JUST CHOSE to move out.
Curfew is 10:00 and 11:30 on weekends. If you don't come home by that time, the door will be locked. You don't get to have a house key.
You will get a job. You will start paying for your own things like clothes and extracurricular activities.
You will clean up after yourself. The room you reside in will NOT be messy-according to my standards of messiness. You will not eat food in the room you reside in. You will take care of yourself, teeth, and eyes.
You will treat us with respect and you will not swear at us. You will tell us the truth.
If you choose not to follow the rules EXACTLY, you will be choosing to move out.
He started reading them and before he got very far, he tossed them aside and said, “F-you!”
Even though that was the reaction we should have expected, it was not exactly the reaction we hoped for.
I handed the sheet of paper back to him and told him to keep reading because he might really want to consider that given his lack of options at this point, this might be the best opportunity for him. He told me to just stop talking and began to cram the clean clothes back into his bags, all the while calling me a “c***” and a bitch and everything else he could come up with.
That was the last straw. He obviously wasn’t going to see past his un-founded anger and animosity and there was no way I was going to let him keep slowly packing his things back into his bags while verbally abusing me just because I dared to care about him and wanted to help him, so I facilitated a quicker departure by throwing everything out the door and onto the lawn.
He got angry and came very close to hitting me, but then said that if I touched one more thing, he was going to hit his dad, instead. He grabbed a backpack and stormed outside to pick up his belongings. I threw out everything else and told my husband I hoped he wouldn't get hit. My husband was so angry about what my son had been saying about us and the names he had called me that he was struggling to keep his cool (but was doing a better job of it than I was). My son didn't follow through with his threat and simply let loose more of his demeaning profanity. He parted with saying that he was glad to be moving to Colorado because he was never going to have to see us again.
We locked the door and thought that was the last we were going to see of him for awhile.
He called the next day. His initial reason for calling was to get me to do him a favor, but he obviously wasn’t finished with attempting to make his problems, our problems, and seemed to be getting some kind of satisfaction out of letting us know what terrible parents we were. It was crazy because WE didn't put him in the position that he was in, but he sure was taking out all of his anger, uncertainty, and fear on us.
His friend supposedly wasn't ready to leave for Colorado yet and he wanted me to pick up some of the things he had taken with him and bring them back to our house because he had too much to carry around. I said, “I don’t know how to decide what my responsibility to you is. You threw the chance to come back home in our faces. And before you left, you were extremely mean and said way too many awful things to me. None of that makes me want to do anything for you, right now."
His answer to that was, “I told YOU to shut up when I was packing and you wouldn’t. You should have expected what you got.”
Oh right. Because in MY OWN house, I should expect to be called every name in the book when I try to talk to my child, give him advice, and bend over backwards offering him a solution to his problems. I told him that it was not his place to tell me whether I can voice my opinion, or not, and that he definitely didn’t have the right to treat me the way he did whether he liked or disliked what I said.
But then, for some insane reason, I said, “Just so you know, in spite of your terrible attitude and behavior, I still would be willing to give you a place to stay--if you will do the things that you need to do to get your life back on track.”
He said, “What am I supposed to do to get my life back on track?”
I answered that he had to live by our house rules, get a job, and get prepared for moving out so that he could afford to pay rent.
He replied, “There are no jobs. I have been applying for months and I can’t get one. Now, magically, because you said it, I am supposed to be able to find a job. You are f-ing stupid if you think that I can get a job or that I am going to live there again. I am going to move to Colorado and maybe I will see you in about 17 years." He followed that with the usual hang-up.
But, he was still in town later that night when he called my husband and asked if he could at least sleep in our backyard. My husband told him that wasn't a good idea right now and that we were tired of getting yelled at, sworn at, and told how awful we were. Then in typical fashion, our son began to rage that if we loved him we would allow him to live at home and that the whole reason he was homeless was because we had been brainwashed to think there was something wrong with smoking pot and that he could prove we were wrong about it.
I know he really must have been feeling desperate about having nowhere to stay, but his arguments weren’t going to change our minds. We had taken all that we could take in the last two days and his irrational logic was not going to help him achieve his goal this time. It was very hard, as his parents to say, “Sorry, but we just can’t have you here right now,” especially when our emotions were running the gamut from not wanting anything to do with him to not wanting to lose him.
We said it, though.
And that was it.
The drama was over for awhile.
The sadness that we felt was not.