Donuts make it all better

This morning I drug MonoBoy to talk to a counselor.  I do mean “drug.”  I didn’t tell him about the appointment initially because who wants to hear complaining for an entire month?  Instead, I broke the news this morning when he was already in the car.  There was a moment that I feared he might bail out of the moving vehicle.  To say that he wasn’t happy is like saying that water is wet.  Duh.

He actually REFUSED to get out of the car when we arrived at the office.  Exasperated, I headed on up to the office because by that time, I needed the counseling session myself.  Eventually, he emerged from the car (purely out of guilt) and came into the office.  We chatted very briefly with the counselor together, and it really seemed to go along fine.  Although I doubt that he will ever return on his own fruition.

I had visited with the guy during MonoBoy’s standoff and told him that he was struggling with depression, gave him my opinion of the causes, and admitted that within the past week, MonoBoy had started opening up about the issues and showing great strides toward improvement.  Later during our joint discussion, he asked MonoBoy, “On a scale of one to ten, where would you rate your level of self-esteem with ten being the highest?”

“Four.”

I wanted to burst into tears.  How in the world could this be?  Is it genetic?  God knows that I have self-esteem around that range, but this kid is good at EVERYTHING.  He should be riding high on the self-esteem cloud of Level Ten.

You know immediately where my self-esteem sends my mind.  I HAVE FAILED AS A MOTHER.  Then my mind reflects on all of those addiction shows where the addict says, “It all started when my parents separated when I was nine.  I was using crystal meth by the time I was sixteen.”  Heck, even the chick on TLC’s “Love, Lust, or Run” blamed her outlandish dress on her parents divorce.

Hello! Outlandish dressing?  MonoBoy was sitting next to me in jeans with holes in the knees and a hoodie covered by my old denim jacket from the Michael Jackson era.  Waaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

The good news is that three Dunkin’ Donuts later, MonoBoy was speaking to me again.  Yes, donuts make it all better.  Just ask my big butt.

 

A long tough road

Another month (or more) has passed since I’ve blogged.  It’s been a long tough road.  MonoBoy’s return was difficult.  The fracture of my boys’ relationship seemed almost irreparable at times.  Slowly though, I see them leaning on each other.  I see our bond growing again.  MonoBoy has finally talked about the fight and what happened that awful week.  He felt blindsided by his brother’s anger and since I wasn’t there when the fight happened, he didn’t know where to go, so he went back to his dad’s.

His dad was almost overjoyed by it all.  He got to say terrible things about LoverBoy to him, further feeding his fear and anger.  He told him not to return to my house because it wasn’t safe and he told him to have little contact with me.  He said that every time he texted someone, his dad would say, “Is that her?  Just don’t respond.  Give her one word answers.”

Little did he know that it wasn’t me.  Even in my devastation, I knew what was happening.  I knew that a text from me would feed his father’s fury.  He said that he knew that his dad was just wanting to punish me about the car, but he was mad and he just wanted to stay away.  As bad as it all hurt, I understood.  The entire day was traumatic and I wasn’t there.  It was awful and confusing.  He got to be the center of attention and worshipped at his dad’s house.  My house represented pain.  He needed the escape.

It’s been a tough month or so for MonoBoy all around.  The relationship with his girlfriend was toxic.  His basketball season was disappointing, since the older boys liked to haze him as the only sophomore on the team.  His grades were terrible.  Things were going from bad to worse.

There was an incident with a friend that involved the two boys playing with kitchen knives like swords and resulting in cutting his friend’s hand, nicking the tendon and requiring stitches.  It was awful. I got a call from his friend’s mother that MonoBoy had “stabbed” him and sent him to the hospital and that MonoBoy went to practice instead of going with him.  I was hysterical.  I lost it and I took him to the store to spend his own money on cookies for his friend and we went to see him immediately.  MonoBoy and I were sobbing, and they spent more time comforting us than the other way around.  His friend admitted that they left him behind because he was sobbing and couldn’t pull it together.  I grounded MonoBoy for the duration of his friends time in stitches.  It only seemed fair.

The incident caused the bullying to increase.  He was getting texts and snapchats that he was terrible at basketball and had to cut a teammate to look good.  There were racial comments about a white boy with a knife cutting up brothas.  The following week, several of his teammates were jumped by some football players.  He was walking his girlfriend to the bus and got lucky enough to not witness it, but I think it caused him to feel further isolated from his team.

He withdrew further and started dressing more outlandish.  Let’s call it New York street style.  And by street style, I mean gutter.  Instead of empowering him, the clothes were further isolating him.  He was being subjected to more bullying by some football players.  He suddenly decided that school “wasn’t his thing” and he “wasn’t cut out for college.”  He became addicted to Twitter and following these young, rebellious model-types.  He decided that his future was in fashion.

After everything that we had just endured, I almost couldn’t take it.  I tried not to panic.  I tried to be supportive.  I even borrowed my sister’s sewing machine and bought him art supplies to paint his “fashion logo.”  I researched open calls and modeling agency applications.  It became pretty apparent, pretty quickly that he just wanted out of his current situation.  He was hiding behind this new persona, but it was making him miserable.

I tolerated it for a few weeks, and then, as is common with me, I LOST IT.  I told him my true thoughts about everything.  I told him that I didn’t really think that he wanted it because if he did, he’d be willing to put in the work.  I told him that he was DAMN RIGHT that I wasn’t going to accept C’s and D’s on his report card because I knew that he was capable of A’s and B’s.  And I told him that his girlfriend HAD TO GO.  She was awful, and friends with the same football players that were causing him problems and that she believed in “loyalty before love” according to her tweets.  Bottom line was that she didn’t support him.  She never attended his games.  They didn’t discuss the knifing incident and the fight.  There was absolutely no substance to the relationship.  Just him pleading to see her and her blowing him off.

The wake up call (and subsequent grounding from his phone for grades) seems to have helped.  He’s doing his homework and studying.  He still pushes the envelope on his attire, but it’s not so outlandish that it’s causing him pain.  He’s refocused on basketball and reconnected with old friends outside of basketball.  I see his joy returning.  His energy returning.  He’s figuring out how to balance all of his interests.  And most of all, he ditched the girl, so he seems so much lighter and more confident.

I haven’t allowed myself to breathe a sigh of relief yet.  It’s too soon.  We have a way to go, but at least now, we have hope that we will get there.

Not-so-happy new year

When LoverBoy got home from his girlfriend’s, he told me about the fight and that he thought his nose was broken.  We went immediately to the ER for x-rays.  I was more worried about a concussion than anything, but I knew that he wouldn’t to even discuss that for fear that he wouldn’t be able to play soccer and his first official Varsity soccer practice was the very next day.  The x-rays showed a fracture, but no displacement, so they sent him home to rest.

Y’all, how did this happen?  How did our lives get to this point?  No matter what awful thing happened, it was the three of us against the world.  And now some terrible thing had divided us.

LoverBoy admitted to starting the fight.  Despite his broken nose, he reached out to his brother to apologize.  He told him that he loved him.  He received no response.

I can’t describe the torture of the following days.  It was like going through the separation and divorce all over again.  My abandonment issues were kicking my butt, and I just could not imagine what MonoBoy was feeling.  Was he hurt?  Did he think that I had abandoned him or betrayed him in some way?

I feared that I had lost him forever and that he would never speak to me again.  I told myself that he would return when school started.  I reminded myself that he isn’t allowed much contact with me when he is with his dad.  But knowing these things and believing these things when you are so devastated are two different things.  I didn’t want to push MonoBoy, so I only texted him at night before bed to tell him that I loved him.  He always responded positively with “I love you more” or something normal, so I shouldn’t have been so panicked and worried.

But I was dying.

Finally, on the Saturday before school started, I got a text that said, “I’m coming home, I just don’t know how to ask.”

It was definitely a not-so-happy new year, but there was hope.

His plan to punish me

As promised, I woke up at the crack of dawn on the Monday after Christmas to stand in line in the cold to get MonoBoy his actual drivers license.  He had basketball practice at 9:00am and he was so excited to drive there on his own, but we were going to be cutting it close.

While he drove off to practice, I drove straight to my insurance agent’s office to add him to my policy.  I asked her how it worked, since I was covering the kid, but his dad was covering the car, since it was in his name.  What insurance would he provide if he wrecked the car?  She looked at me like I was an idiot.  She said, “Your insurance insures your son to drive YOUR vehicles.  If that vehicle is his primary vehicle, then he needs to be added to THAT insurance as well.”  I told her what information that my ex had gotten from his insurance agent, and she said that I should warn him that it was a risk.

So I mistakenly did.  I hadn’t even finished my explanation of the conversation when he went APE SHIT.  He started screaming about how I screwed him by waiting until the last-minute to tell him.  I should have called and gotten this information weeks before.  He said that I was just trying to force him to have the insurance, and he would be damned if he would let me strong-arm him.

I was utterly shocked.  I couldn’t believe his reaction.  I didn’t understand it.  He seemed to be so angry about the timing.  All you have to do is make one phone call.  It’s not a big deal.

Cuss words were flying.  He asked where MonoBoy was and I responded that he drove to practice.  He screamed about him driving around town without insurance.  He said that he was going to take the car away from him and he was going to make sure that he knew that it was my fault.

I left work about the time that MonoBoy would be getting out of practice.  I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I knew it wasn’t good.  The Ex was there in my driveway when I arrived.  “Where is it?  Where did you tell him to hide the car?”

Are you kidding?  I haven’t talked to him.  I don’t know where he is.

He called MonoBoy and told him to go immediately to his house to discuss the car.  He got off the phone and screamed at me that he VOWED to make me pay for this.  I might have gotten away with these games with LoverBoy’s car last year, but this one was going to bite me in the ass.  He was going to make sure of it. “Mark my words!”

I was shaking.  I went into the house and cried.  What in the world just happened?  I had done exactly what I said I would do.  I added MonoBoy to my insurance.  Nothing had changed, and yet, I was a bad guy.  It was all so crazy, and yet, he was SO CONVINCED that I had done some evil deed.

I knew that this really had nothing to do with MonoBoy and his car insurance.  It had everything to do with the things that LoverBoy had told him the week before.  That’s what he wanted me to pay for.  I sat on the couch crying.  My reactions to him are not always normal.  Normal people would shrug it off because he’s out of his mind.  I cower in fear.  LoverBoy asked what was going on and I said that I had a fight with his dad about the car and I was waiting for MonoBoy to get home to talk about it.  Since I didn’t tell him the details, he freaked out and started texting MonoBoy to come home.

I was unaware and announced that I was going to the grocery store.  Doing normal things makes me feel normal better.  I was on Aisle 2 when my mom called, panting into the phone with a cryptic message, “The boys…fight…pretty bad.”

“The boys got into a fight?  A bad one?  Was it physical?  Do I need to come home?”

I abandoned my basket and headed to my house which was only two minutes away.  The boys were no where in sight.  I texted them both to come home so that we could talk about whatever had happened.  We are a family and we need to work it out.  LoverBoy replied that he was at his girlfriend’s and needed some space to calm down.  MonoBoy replied with “I’m going to stay with dad for a few days.”

He won.  Whatever had been said.  Whatever had been done.  He was able to carry out his plan to punish me.

He passed his test, but…

The morning after the dance/dad debacle, I drove MonoBoy down to his Driving School to take his test.  The Ex arrived, and I winced because I could tell that sleep had only further solidified his anger and belief that his son’s feelings were all my doing.  I swallowed my fear, though, and tried to send positive mental vibes to MonoBoy for good luck.  After your first son fails his test, you don’t take any chances with luck.

While we waited, a gentleman started asking my ex about the program and the new change that they could take the test from the school and not at the DPS office.  My Ex had to admit that his ex-wife was the one that handled all of it, and he didn’t have the answers to his questions.  Of course, he wasn’t about to claim me as his ex-wife with the answers, as I’m sure it pained him enough to even acknowledge my existence.  I just got to enjoy that moment that he had to admit that I handled the stuff for the kids.  Damn right.

Good news.  MonoBoy passed!!!

Bad news.  You have to take your sealed envelope of test results to the DPS for the actual license.  And they closed at noon on the day before Christmas Eve.  Which was exactly eighteen minutes before we arrived.  Oh the heartbreak!

To further break his little heart, the DPS office wouldn’t open again until after Christmas.  I tried to point out the bright side that he would have his license before he returned to school on the 6th, but he would hear nothing of it.

What a roller coaster this holiday has been and it isn’t even Christmas yet.  What do the post-Christmas blues have in store this year?