No, not the new job… Parenting! Damn, it’s hard!
The more you care, the more they act like they hate you for it. You worry about them, do things for them, give them things they need (or just want) while you do without, and pick up their slack when they let you down—and all you get for it is grief. I wasn’t a perfect child; far from it! If my parents knew all the things they missed, they would be stunned. Or maybe they wouldn’t. I don’t know.
At least I was smart enough to know that they really loved me. They made me do enough for myself that when I got ready to move out, I actually knew how to hold a job, handle my money, pay my bills, and live on what was left.
My son, almost 17, thinks he’s almost ready to move out, and he can’t do any of those things. He can cook a little, and do his own laundry, but he has no concept of what it takes to provide those things for himself. He’s one of the most ungrateful children I’ve ever met, despite my best efforts to model and teach gratitude. In the last couple of years I have been through a job loss and a year of unemployment; a case of shingles brought on by stress; sudden triple-bypass surgery for my father; a divorce; the death, loss, and illness of some beloved pets; and a move to another town to be closer to a school that he has now quit.
I drive him to and from his frequent doctor appointments to monitor his medication for ADD and the depression he inherited from his father, pay for those medications, and I’m the one that deals with him when they don’t work. I’m the one who has to try to convince him that there are reasons to go on living. I’m the one who has to try to make him believe that he’s not a worthless failure. I guess the good news is that he hates his father more than me.
He’s vulgar when he’s angry with me, and curses at me frequently, despite my repeated objections to his abusive language. I take care of the dog that’s “his” even though he’s never paid a vet bill, and she runs to me when he frightens her with his outbursts. I’m the one who provides him transportation to see his girlfriend.
I love him. He’s my son. I will always love him. That will never change, and will never stop. But I divorced his father for treating me with so little respect; for treating me as if my feelings weren’t important. I’m worn down to nothing now. I don’t even date because, quite honestly, I would never bring dream of bringing someone else into this tumultuous situation. It leaves me with nothing to give emotionally. No one is here to give to me. No one holds me, tells me they love me, and fills me back up when I’m empty. I’m so far below empty that I may never be full again.
I had the opportunity to quit once before, and I lost a man I truly loved because I wouldn’t just run away with him and leave my son behind. But I couldn’t. So I don’t suppose I can quit now.