Monday, January 30, 2012

119: I'll Try Anything

Even before I had come to the end of my long-winded message, I was regretting the excessively-maternal words my mouth was leaving on the athletic director's message machine...

     "Since the boys' basketball game is being played just a few miles from our house, is there anything I can bring for them? Cookies? Gatorade? Food for the bus ride home?"(Pause...This is when my mind went into a silent panic - This man must think I'm ridiculous. I bet he's thinking, "And this is exactly what got her son into this situation...she's a helicopter mom on steroids.)  

Okay...back to my pathetic message.

     "I probably sound like I'm hovering, but it's just been a difficult road letting him go, and I feel this need to do something for him." (Pause again...Now I'm realizing that I can't erase what keeps flowing out of my mouth. Why didn't I think this message through before I dialed his number?)

And finally, I wrapped it up by thanking him profusely.

Wow. 

I'm not going to begin over-analyzing my lamentable ramblings, because it seems pretty clear to me. (But I'll discuss that later.)
     Ignoring all insecurities related to my copter tendencies, I headed to Trader Joe's and picked up some things I knew he'd like: pretzels, clementines, popcorn, and peanut butter cups.
     A couple hours later, we were headed to the game, and that's when I realized a message had come in form the athletic director. He was kind. And he let me know that the boys would love some Gatorade.
     So, we made a quick detour to the grocery story, and bought a bunch. My husband was sweet and patient with me as I asked clerks if they knew where the cheap Styrofoam coolers were located.
     Before too long, we were back in the car, and in the trunk sat our case of Gatorade - on ice - in our new $2.99 cooler.
*********************************

Sunday morning, M sent me an email. It began, "Hey mom....Thanks for coming to my game on Friday and bringing me food..." The letter continued, and it was good.



Sometimes I hover, sometimes I go overboard, sometimes I even kiss him on the cheek
 in front of his basketball teammates. 
I bought him too much food, and I didn't need to buy all that Gatorade. 
But I did it anyway. 
When you are scared, worried, and miss your child,
you try everything.





     

Sunday, January 29, 2012

118: Love Lessons from Dog School

While watching the young couple across from us fussing with their baggies filled with treats, their backpack loaded with toys, and the stubborn clasp from one of their fancy accessories, a temporary calmness washed over me.
     My own flash of serenity may come across as insensitive and snobbish, but it is the truth. Thank goodness that is not us over there, because from this side of the room they look quite silly and exhausted. 
     The Will Ferrell/Chris Farley lovin' part of me, began to conceptualize a Saturday Night Live skit - "The Overindulgent Doggie Parents" or "The Spoiled and Pampered Fifty Pound Puppy."

And then...I stopped. This sweet, young, childless couple just loves their puppy. They aren't being "silly" and if they are "exhausted" then they probably don't feel it yet. And if they do feel it - then they don't care how tired they are. They are focused on making their dog happy.


Am I finding similarities with raising puppies and raising my children?
Yep.

     I admit it. My goal for my children is that they become happy adults. But don't worry, there are other dreams for them floating in my head which sound more refined, penetrating, and insightful; however, when push comes to shove - I want them happy. Happiness to me is simple. I pray their hearts are filled with love, their actions pour out kindness, and their souls are saturated in faith.
Ahhh...happiness.
*************************

This young couple attending dog training with us weren't intentionally spoiling their puppy - they were searching. They were hunting for whatever would make their dog content, peaceful, and fulfilled ~ happy.

     We are all searching. And at times (especially in today's society,) we may over-stuff our bag of tricks. But I'm not going to beat myself up over it anymore or worry about what other people think or secretly analyze others for doing the same.
Done. No more judging.

Dear Sweet M,
I'm trying my best. (And if the size of my old bag of tricks (aka...diaper bag) I used to bring to church when you were little is any indication of how my heart overflows with love for you, then I rest my case.)

I love you to the moon and back, moon and back, moon and back. 
Always have. 
Always will.
mom




















Thursday, January 26, 2012

117: Fog on Both Sides

Even though my moon was hiding, waking up to fog this morning was, in some ways, perfect; because for a moment, my inside landscape matched the scenery outside perfectly.

Now, I wish I could say that the outside fog lifted and carried along with it my inside fog. But it just didn't unfold in such a serendipitous way. Hours later the view out my window is sunny, but the view behind my glasses still seems a bit hazy.

     This fog of mine rolled in a couple weeks ago. Ever so slowly, it crept in and made me quiet. This force has temporarily cornered me and has created this reticent, sedated version of myself. For several nights, I've tried without success to write about my blurred vision, but I can't seem to figure it out. Little nuggets of clarity have certainly come and gone, but nothing solid, clear, or focused.
     I'm not worried though - this too shall pass. My hunch is that my foggy funk is related to my Steam Engine Theory. For months, perhaps years, my head has felt like The Little Engine that (Sometimes) Could. My days have been spent putting out the proverbial teenage fires, meeting with teachers, checking homework, and figuring out if he is where he says he is. Yes, this list sounds pretty typical, but for some reason the magnitude of his storm has been difficult for my scale to balance.
     As M has settled into his new school, I suppose I too am settling into my new routine. I miss him, but I don't miss the yelling. I miss his humor, but I don't miss him teasing his brother. I miss his animated discussions about his world history class, but I don't miss the sneakiness. I miss watching him make his crazy Oreo milkshakes at night, but I don't miss finding bad things in his bedroom.

Change is hard. It doesn't matter if it's "change for the better" or "change for the worse." The art of establishing new "normals" takes a little while.

Okay...the fog is lifting. I'm ready to snap out of it.







   

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

116: NOT Little Miss Perfect

     My middle-aged eyes can still recall what my naive, fearful, and immature teenage eyes saw so many years ago. Kids drank and smoked and had parties and broke rules and got in trouble during my high school days. I certainly wasn't perfect, but my parents would probably tell you that I was a relatively easy teenager. I liked school, I liked making my parents proud, and I loved watching "The Love Boat" with my mom and sister on Saturday nights. (Perhaps I was a bit unusual.)

     But I did get in trouble...twice. Neither incident had to do with alcohol, drugs, sex, cheating, or the law. Instead, one had to do with a pom-pon trophy case, while the other had to do with writing in wet cement. (Boy, I sound like a rebel.)

Case #1: The Pom Pon Trophy Display Disaster...
     For some reason, my friends and I liked to figure out what words would spell if they were written backwards. (Remember...we didn't have cell phones, laptops, or iPods.) Popular words and phrases around our high school were favorites with which to jumble. Unfortunately, one favorite made-up word from pom pon camp was a bad word spelled backwards.
     As a couple of my fellow teammates and I were decorating our glass display case, we thought it would be fun to sprinkle favorite little sayings from our camp experience on the back poster. In a nutshell...We spelled one of the bad words backwards and taped it to the background. Then my old tennis coach noticed what the word said in its reflection, and before we knew it - my pom pon friends and I were suspended from performing for the next two "home" games. (Tragic.)

Case #2: Wet Cement TMI...
     As our bus brought us back from an "away" match and rolled up to the front of the school, my fellow tennis teammates and I noticed that the front steps of the school had been given a coat of fresh cement. We all were tempted to run our fingers through it - but not everybody did.
     Unfortunately for me, I was one of the impulsive kids who couldn't keep her fingers out of it. And it gets worse...I didn't just "run" my fingers through it. I wrote my first and last name and my phone number.
     My high school's front steps welcomed 2,400 students each morning. What was I thinking? (Aha...I wasn't thinking.)
     Luckily, a sick feeling was brewing in my stomach by the time I got home. The guilt (and realization of the stupidity I exhibited on the front steps for all to see) had gotten to me.
     In another nutshell...I told my parents. My dad drove me up to school where we found a maintenance man smoothing over my contact information written for all to see on the front steps. I helped the man put away his tools, and then I apologized to the man and my parents.
********************************

In 1984, teenagers broke rules, got in trouble, and some even made their parents sick with worry. What's going on today in our house is not a new phenomenon - but I'm convinced that the stakes are higher in 2012 than they were when I was a teenager.  (And I'm so glad that I didn't have Facebook and cell phones and computers to document my mistakes. Sometimes, I feel sorry for teenagers today.)

M, Here's what I want you to know -  I didn't always make the smartest decisions when I was a teenager. Sometimes Nene and Papa had to get me back on track too.
     When the decisions your precious child makes go from being downright laughable to downright detrimental, you are going to find a way to get their attention and say, "I love you too much to let you do this." 
That's all there is to it.
I love you,
Mom


Monday, January 23, 2012

115: "Stronger"...Thank You, Kelly Clarkson

Just four months ago we started this mysterious journey - and the weepy, fragile version of myself has been replaced. I haven't exactly turned into some tough-as-nails mom/chic, but I certainly have gotten stronger.

~ No longer do I cry every time Adele (or any song that reminds me of M) comes on the radio.
          Although, I still like to belt out a couple of my favorite lines from "Someone Like You" whenever it pops on the radio. (The other one I like to sing loud and proud..."Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson. Man, oh man - that's a good one.)

~ No longer do I feel the need to act like a man.
          Let me explain...my husband and I have discussed at length his ability to go to work each morning, and close his Personal Life box, thus allowing only the Work box to be opened. All of my boxes are open at all times. In fact, a better way to describe my "box" situation might just be to call it one big Multi-Purpose box - and everything just flies out of it at all times. For months, I have tried to stifle my emotions - and the contents of the Multi-Purpose box - But no longer! I am woman! Get ready to hear me roar, cry, laugh, sigh, sing, and...breathe.


~ No longer do I lose sleep over mean things people say or write to me.
          But boy, oh boy...some people write the most vulgar things.

~ No longer do I feel stuck in the tunnel without a flashlight.
          Of course there's light at the end. M is one, really cool person. He is going to get through the teenage years just fine - I'm certain of it. And I love him.
          


Sunday, January 22, 2012

114: Tricks and Treats

     It's taken quite a few months to adjust to living without M home all the time, but I have begun to make peace with parts of our daily routine. Luckily, my mind has developed some tricks and rituals to make me feel closer to him.
     The minute my alarm sounds, I pray. If I fall back to sleep, that's okay because I have my 10-minute snooze alarm to get me going again. B has made coffee, so I grab a cup and check on K. At 10 years old, his cheeks are still smooth and soft - so I kiss them.

     (I wasn't prepared for M's soft, rosy, baby cheeks to change. Actually, I wasn't prepared for most of the changes. The summer I noticed that the soft skin and smooth, little hair on his shins had been replaced, was probably the summer that my job description began to change.)


     After I walk out of K's room, my tip-toe steps take me to the den. (This next stage of my morning ritual could be considered one of the many tricks my mind plays, but I prefer to see it as just a sweet morning treat.)
     Through the dark, I easily navigate around the ottoman and stop at the book shelves below the shutters. I pull open those wooden shutters, and...there it is. The moon. Somehow, the moon has become a close friend of mine ever since M left.
     I think it's something I've read about before - loved ones being far away from each other - but that very same moon greets each of them in the morning and sends them off to bed at night. I like to think that most mornings, he notices the moon too.

There's a chance he does. And that's how I get to say, "Good morning, honey. Have a good day. Love you."

And so, another day begins.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

113: I Know

While M is growing up right in front of my eyes, I am too.

Obviously, this journey has not been easy for me ...but it has not been easy
 for him either. And he's the most important player here.

(I know that fact is obvious; 
I just needed to write it, to see it, and to let him know
  that I know.)

I love you, M.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

112: Lessons From the Teacher's Lounge

     Yesterday, while getting coffee in the teacher's lounge, a fellow teacher taught me a lesson; the lesson pertained to basketball. It began with a simple comment that went something like this,

 "So, I read that M is quite an athlete on the basketball court."

Feeling a bit concerned that I may have come across as a braggart when I mentioned all his baskets from the other night, I quickly explained that the real joy in watching him play was not related to his points scored. The pride was stemming from everything else I witnessed on the court...his passing, his patience, his sportsmanship, his smile, his clapping, his nodding in understanding to his coach, his posture...everything.
     I added, "That probably all sounds silly, but I'm just so proud of him. The boy who used to play basketball with his hands up all the time yelling, 'Pass it to me...I'm open!' had been replaced by a new version of M I was just getting to know."

My fellow teacher, Coach O, quickly corrected me...

"Nothing silly about that. You can see signs of maturity on a basketball court." 

     He went on to verbalize perfect illustrations to prove his point, and soon his words were running like expert commentary to the visions of I had rolling through my head. Soon I began to comprehend Coach O's lesson, and I liked what I was hearing. 

Thanks for the lesson, Coach.




Tuesday, January 17, 2012

111: Be the Land

You know how some movie lines just stay with you forever? Well for me, Chevy Chase had one such line in Caddyshack. Chevy's character, Ty Webb, was coaching a teenager on the golf course. He bestowed his wisdom by whispering to the boy just as he was about to swing the club...

"...there's a force in the universe that makes things happen.
 And all you have to do is get in touch with it,
 stop thinking, let things happen,
 and...
Be the Ball."

I don't apply this wisdom to all aspects of my life, but I certainly have thought of that line while cheering on my children at sporting events.

*********************************

     While my husband drove the 43 miles east to M's basketball game yesterday, I read aloud from the book I’ve stuffed in my purse for the last couple weeks. Like Chevy's character whispered to the teenager in Caddyshack, Bob Meehan in Beyond the Yellow Brick Road, whispered to me...

"...although they may drift out of your sight from time to time,
they will always see land out the corner of their eye...
Be the Land - 
firm, immovable, reassuring."

I like that. Thank you, Bob.

Monday, January 16, 2012

110: 16 Years Ago Today...Duds and Suds

Sixteen years ago, M was in his sixth month of life. 
Here are some highlights:

  • A typical dinner included a 4 oz jar of chicken and potatoes, a 4 oz jar of apples and blueberries, a jar of green beans, and a side of mashed potatoes.
  • Cruising through the mall with his Aunt K was a favorite daytime activity on cold, January days.
  • Spots popped up all over his face and body, as he experienced his first virus.
  • He hung out at our neighborhood Duds and Suds with me, since I couldn't figure out how to juggle laundry baskets and M as I took the steps down to our apartment's laundry room. (Now, I do realize that I could have left him in the apartment alone for 5 minutes...but as I look back, I love knowing that I couldn't leave him for even a second.)
  • After church on Sundays, we joined the T Family at Bagel and Bagel.
  • Enjoyed lunch and a trip to the bookstore with three of my former students.
  • His "nana" bought him an Exer-Saucer. (Side note...as M began to talk, he couldn't say "Nana" but he sure could say "Nene," so mom became Nene.
  • I trimmed his hair.
  • His 6 month picture was taken with the Olan Mills' coupon I received from the hospital the day we were discharged.
And on the 31st of January..."M is laughing out loud so much!" 


How do I know all these details? Well, this weekend I dug out his Big Box of Memories from the stacks of boxes left over from the move.
     For the first two years of his life, I kept calendars in which I wrote little tidbits from his day. Back then,  my mind was always dancing with so many sweet, easy mysteries...What will his voice sound like? What will his hobbies be? Will he play tennis like his dad? Will his hair stay this white? Will he like to read? Who will his friends be? What will his first word be? Which one of these blankets will end up being his "blankie?"


Okay...back to 2012 - Time to get going, because my To-Do list for the day is long. I'm going to take advantage of this holiday by unpacking some of those boxes recently discovered, clean the bathrooms, do some laundry in my own basement, and make M his favorite cookies. Then I'm going to hop in the van and drive 43 miles east to his basketball game.

M, 
Can't wait to see you today. 
Love you,
Mom

Saturday, January 14, 2012

109: A New Addition to the Top 10 List

I can't get that basketball night out of my mind. 
January 12, 2012 is officially on my list: 

"Top 10 List of Best Moments of My Life"

As it is no secret, we've had some major obstacles, speed bumps, road blocks, stalemates, standoffs, and stumbling blocks on this pilgrimage to raise adults. At times it has taken great faith, prayers, and hope to trick myself into seeing the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel - But wait...my eyes, my heart, and my head definitely saw a flare fly across that gymnasium Thursday night.
   
     We have challenged his teenage groove in a manner that has shook us all to the core. Of course he's angry at us, of course he doesn't understand why we're doing what we're doing, and of course he doesn't like our parental expectations.

So what I expected to see, hear, and feel that night was teenage vexation.
But what we got instead was respect.

Obviously our journey through the teenage jungle continues, but boy, oh boy...it sure was nice to see that wonderful glimpse of the great man he is becoming.

Love you, Babe. Nice playing Thursday night.
Mom

Thursday, January 12, 2012

108: The Best Game...Ever

I caught a quick glimpse of him through a little window while we walked around to the gymnasium door.   That 3 second glimpse would have been enough to sustain me for the weekend because during those seconds caught between two blinks, he was smiling.

*********************************

     My husband and I greeted 6 other family members as we headed up the bleachers. Within moments, I think he gave a smile and a wave. Honestly, I'm not 100% certain that it was directed towards me - but that's okay, because the best part was just being near him.
     Soon, my eyes were watching him play, but my brain was wondering if he would talk to us after the game, or let me hug him, or let me kiss him on the cheek. In a little grocery bag I had packed a few of his favorite snacks; would he stick around after the game long enough for me to give it to him?

     (While my mother brain was in over-drive, there was a great basketball game happening on the court. M played the entire game and scored several points. I've never seen him play like this before. No longer was he the kid on the outside of the action yelling, "Here...throw it to me!" He was in the action, and his passes to his teammates were quick, deliberate, and effective. In many ways, I was seeing my son for the first time. Is it silly to think a basketball game can show maturation? I don't think so.)

     After the game he walked over to us, and that was my opportunity to go-in for the hug. He kind-of smiled again, and then said "Hello" to everyone. The team needed to head into the locker room, but he told us that he would come right back...And he did.

     We took some pictures with him, spoke to his coaches, met a new cadet from Rwanda, and basically just soaked in the happiness. He took the grocery bag with the snacks, then looked me in the eye and said, "Thank you."  I hugged him again and kissed him on the cheek. He then proceeded to hug the other 6 family members...I stood and took it all in.

As stressful as the last couple years have been, and considering that during the last few months we've seen many tense moments, I didn't expect tonight to metamorphose into a darn good night.


I love you, M. 
Good playing tonight.
Mom

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

107: Not Just Another BBall Game

This time tomorrow, I'll be sitting in bleachers watching M and his basketball team play just a few miles south of here. Cheering from the bleachers or standing on the sidelines while watching him play a sport, is something I've done hundreds of times. But tonight, it sure doesn't feel like it's just any game popping up on our calendar for tomorrow night.

My mother's heart is feeling plenty of different emotions, and I can explain
 two of them easily...

 ~ The Nerves...They must be the result of our last exchange just moments before Christmas Furlough ended. (Those final minutes in our kitchen before he went back to school were brutal.) I know he's angry, frustrated, and confused by my actions. I'm nervous because I hope the night goes well for him.

 ~ The Enthusiasm...I know the eagerness and excitement comes from the simple
 fact that I love him.

I love you, M, and I can't wait to see you play tomorrow night.
Mom

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

106: A Day With Dorothy

I'm not kidding about the following coincidences happening in my world at the moment.

  1. Approximately five hours ago I was using Dorothy's quest in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to teach my students about Joseph Campbell's "monomyth" known as the Hero's Journey.
  2. Just 2 hours ago, I settled into the driver's seat of my parked van as I waited for K's basketball practice to end. I was reading Beyond the Yellow Brick Road.
  3. And now, my ears are listening to the sweet sound of K playing "Over the Rainbow" for his piano teacher.
  4. One more thing - I live in Kansas.

There's nothing earth shattering about any of these occurrences; however, I've learned something important today from each.

1. In Frank Baum's book, Dorothy was "Called to Adventure" by a tornado; it swept her up and dropped her in a strange new land. Dorothy would then begin Campbell's stage which is commonly referred to as "Entering the Unknown." And once she crossed that threshold, her ordinary, old world would never be quite the same again.
     Our tornado was what some are calling "typical teenage behavior." Typical or not, it was destroying our family life. Then, like Dorothy, we entered several of our own "unknowns." There's no going back now; but that's okay. The days behind us weren't always that great.

2. My new book is not a book about Dorothy. The subtitle to Beyond the Yellow Brick Road is "Our Children and Drugs." Each paragraph leading up to page 32 has been helpful, and now - believe it or not-  it's actually shifted into another positive adjective...hopeful.
Bob Meehan writes on page 32,
     "Thus far, I have presented adolescence as a period of relentless pain, and I've made teenagers out to be obnoxious, offensive people. But I love them. I love their spontaneity, their vitality, their curiosity, their eagerness to learn, and their lack of inhibitions. And I see a strange beauty in their awkwardness. Most important, I love working with them because even the most messed-up teenager can change. And they really want to...Every time I meet a new teenager, no matter how desperate his plight may be, a feeling of hope overwhelms me. I know he can change."
     I know that M is not even close to being what he would consider as a  "most messed-up teenager." Therefore, change for us is just somewhere over the rainbow.

3. And that brings me to K's piano lesson. The new piece he is working on at the moment is "Over the Rainbow."

What are the odds?

Monday, January 9, 2012

105: Words With K

Well, this is strange. My chest pain is letting up.

Was it the interesting and enlightening book I began reading Saturday night?
Was it the conversation I had with my Aunt D on Sunday?
Was it the nice talk I had in the living room of my friend, L?
Whatever it was, I am grateful.

     I'm looking forward to watching M's basketball game in town Thursday night. But tonight, I'm going to let K teach me how to play "Words With Friends."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

104: Teenage Threats

Occasionally I receive comments, presumably from M's friends, taking aim
 at what I am doing. These anonymous comments are written in a very derogatory
 and profane manner, even suggesting
 that I should
"die."


It's always done under the cloak of anonymity, as it is so easy in today's world to say whatever you want to say, do whatever you want to do, all without taking responsibility for your actions. 
     I guess I can understand why they are upset because in a way, I am calling them out on the little games they play.
     What they don't understand is that I'm not doing this to hurt M, but to help him. At this point in their lives, they can't comprehend that. Perhaps they'll understand me better when they become parents.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

103: My New Bumper Sticker

When I began writing, I hated Facebook. What a disgusting ocean of incriminating party pics some of our children enjoy posting.
     And then there are the "Status Updates" that make your toes curl. Would teens really say those reprehensible and repulsive things to the police officers, their teachers, their principals, their coaches, and their neighbors ... if they were standing in front of them?

Months after I vented about my aversion to Facebook, I find myself gaining inspiration from this modern form of communication.

     Today's inspiration is courtesy of a great mom, H; she found this piece on a Facebook page called "Happy Family," and posted it on her "Wall."  It is a quote that has been "Liked" and "Shared" by many around the world.

"My promise to my children ~ as long as I live ~ I am your Parent 1st ~ your Friend 2nd. I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture you, drive you insane, be your worst nightmare & hunt you down like a bloodhound when needed because I LOVE YOU ! When you understand that, I will know you are a responsible adult. You will NEVER find someone who loves, prays, cares, & worries about you more than I do! If you don't hate me once in your life - I am not doing my job properly. Re-post if you are a parent & agree."

I think I have found my new bumper sticker. And I want a T-shirt too.

Friday, January 6, 2012

102: Everything In My Power

Let's just call this what it is...The Road to Addiction. 

I don't believe that M is what society calls an "addict"  - at this moment. But I do believe that he has drifted a few miles down the road.

     Like most everybody on this planet, I have encountered, loved, and been baffled by people who struggle with addiction. A couple of them are dead, some still struggle, and a lucky few made it to the other side.

     My heart aches for those who have loved, and for those whose lives were cut short because of addiction. Many of their stories are familiar - by 14, experiment with alcohol (beer usually) - by 16, time for the hard liquor (usually the cheap stuff that's easy for friends and strangers to add to their beverage lists) - then comes "pot" (the same illegal substance that many teens will tell you is everywhere in schools.)

Is M the first teenager to get this far down the road? Of course not.
So why am I so worried?

     Some of M's peers seem to be able to balance grades, social life, family life, and self-care. I simply want M far from the road that could lead to harder drugs, rehab, arrests, and the body giving up from so much abuse. I've seen this happen before. It is a painful, painful reality not only for those who suffer, but for those who watch it happen in front of their eyes.

M, 
I love you too much to not do everything in my power
 to keep you off that road. 
Mom

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

101: I Know I'm Not The Only One Going Through This

This week, I received a comment from a mother, and I can't get her painful words out of my mind. She wrote about her 19 year old son,

"... this boy of mine may ... be labeled for life for stupid choices he and a friend made. I thought if I could get him through boot camp that I would be safe and he would be ok. We are not ok. I am sad, and disappointed and very angry that he threw it all away, on a whim.

We bailed him out Christams Eve morning (01:00). Horrible Christmas with this hanging over our heads. And now he is being nonchalant about it, like nothing happened and we are making too big of deal about it all."

     Several lines scare me as I can't help but put myself in her shoes. One that rings in my head the loudest is the line about him being "nonchalant." (That is certainly an appropriate word to describe one of the many baffling attitudes I've seen from M in recent months.)
     Another line from this heartfelt note that jumps out and bites me is, "...threw it all away, on a whim." (Impulsiveness seems to be a constant in M's teenage life.) 
     Then there was the line that told me her son had made this "stupid choice" with a "friend." (It's amazing how brazen, defiant, and foolish a teenager can be with a "friend" at his side.)

My mom keeps telling me, "Don't give up." 
Don't worry, Mom. I won't. 
I'm going to just keep on loving him as hard as I always have - even though it hurts. And I know my new friend is going to keep on loving her 19 year old son as hard as she can too - even though it hurts.

"...if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."
~Mother Teresa