First, a little background info. When I was 16 years old, I became a Mommy. I would not recommend that to any other 16 year old girl, but I will say that I have always been a very devoted mother. I didn't push my beautiful daughter off on her grandparents so I could go party, or anything like that. I tested out of high school rather than dropping out. I went to college at night so I could spend my days with my daughter. I made countless sacrifices to give my little girl the best life possible. She will be 20 years old in 3 weeks, and has not spoken to me in over two years.
She was always a fantastic kid, well rounded. Beautiful, talented, friendly, and intelligent. Her parent-teacher conferences were always an absolute joy for me, as her teachers were always singing her praises.
This all changed the day she turned 13, and by the time her Senior year of high school rolled around, she was a 'typical' teenager - surly, selfish, and, well, bitchy. She hated me, hated authority, etc etc etc. My husband deployed in September of that year. A few days before he left, we learned that my daughter had been ditching school or showing up late, even though she left here on time every morning. In the 5 weeks since school had started, she was truant or tardy on 21 different days. Yes, that's 21 out of 25 days.
We sat down with her over dinner the night before hubby's departure, and clearly spelled out to her that if she ditched school again (AT ALL, even one period) I would take away her car. PERMANENTLY. Well, wouldn't you know it, the very next morning, as I was
It took a lot of planning to be able to actually follow through with the consequence of taking away the car, because we live far from the school and the bus pass is expensive. I also knew she would freak out and cause a huge scene, and probably try to run away, so I arranged for my parents to take her in for a couple of weeks if needed. Once I had all the ducks in a row, I took her car away. It was not as simple as that, but that was the end result. She made a huge ugly scene, threw out some truly horrible accusations that got CPS involved, and then went to go live with her dad an hour or so away. She threw away her ENTIRE senior year, over the 'right' to ditch school, and has refused to even speak to me since then.
OK so now that you know that part, I have a deep dark confession: I have blamed my husband, at least in part, for the loss of my daughter. I figured that if he had not deployed (which he kind of volunteered for at that point) then she would never have gone so far off the deep end. Now, I honestly know that this is NOT really his 'fault' but I still really equate the two. Deployment = I will never see my beautiful daughter again.
But that's not even what has me in tears today. My angst now is due to the very real chance that this is ALL about to happen AGAIN.
My husband left last Wednesday, and by Friday night, my 15 year old (aka 'Bonehead') was acting up WAY more than normal. I cut him a lot of slack, as I know he is struggling with the stress of dad being gone every bit as much as I am, if not more. And he really can't express his feelings about this.
But I draw the line at HURTING people. I was unable to just 'ignore' or otherwise accept him beating up on his little brother! Keep in mind, this boy is already 5'9" and approximately 160 lbs, all muscle. Size 13 shoe, so he is still growing. And my younger son (aka 'Knucklehead') is ten years old, barely 4' 9" and maybe 65 pounds soaking wet. So Bonehead is a full foot taller than Knucklehead, and outweighs him by nearly 100 lbs.
When Bonehead was picking on his brother Friday night, it started as teasing and turned into outright BEATING on him before I could intervene. And, just like his big sister, as soon as I stepped in, he started the whole one-upsmanship contest. I went from "get ready for bed" to "pack your crap for Grammy and Grampa's house" in less than 5 minutes. He even managed to trump THAT one, by running away. In the middle of the night.
My dad found him an hour and a half later, near the elementary school right by our house. He finally went willingly with my parents, but didn't pack his things, etc etc etc. DRAMA. So now I am trying NOT to blame hubby for the loss of yet another child. I don't think Bonehead is completely lost to me anyway, but then I initially thought that my daughter would cool down. She still hasn't. And I am beating myself up, feeling like a complete FAILURE as a mother - I can't even get through a WEEK of deployment without letting all hell break loose at home.
And now I fear potential future deployments all the more, since deployment = loss of a child.
Please don't judge me here, I realize this next statement is tantamount to sacrilege or blasphemy, but at times like this, I freaking HATE the Marine Corps.
OK maybe not quite. But I hate my life right now, and it seems like all the crappy parts of my life are crappy BECAUSE of the corps.
To make matters worse, I realized today that I don't even know how to work our new lawn mower. It's a high-tech thing, and has been Bonehead's responsibility for almost a year. Hubby called me this afternoon and I broke down crying, and when I told him I didn't think I could even figure out how to run the mower, he said "I think I can walk you through that over the phone, if that's what you need". In my head I was screaming, 'NO THAT IS NOT WHAT I NEED! I need my husband home and I need my kids back!' But instead all I said was 'okay' *sniffle*
And I really REALLY hate myself for crying on the damned phone - it stresses him out, makes me feel bad for being so 'weak' when he really needs me to be strong, and worst of all wastes precious time we could have spent TALKING.
Happy freaking mother's day....I hereby withdraw my nomination for that 'mother of the year' award.
My family 5 years ago
My family 5 weeks ago
My family 5 days ago
My family today.
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING FAMILY. :(