I sit behind this computer with too many emotions. And I don't know exactly where to start.
Yesterday, I had to make the hardest decision I will ever make as a mother. I made the decision to better my son's life. To give him a chance at a real life, a much better life. A life that he as a young man can hopefully be proud of. And a life that is well respected.
I have struggled with Anthony for many years. I've struggled with his behavior, his actions, and his lack of motivation to do and be better. I've had to sit back and watch boys his own age prosper, grow closer with their families, and grow to become young boys their mothers are beyond proud of. Meanwhile, I've been missing that pride. I've been sitting back hurting, confused, and bewildered at what to do to get my son, my love, to do his best...at anything.
Was it my divorce from his father many years ago? Was it the pressure I put on him because he's the oldest? Was it my constant demands as his mother? Or was it simply my lack of knowing how to parent a son? These are all questions I've sat and pondered.
Clearly, I don't have the answers to these tough questions. Not then, and certainly not now.
You see, Anthony is a funny, witty, and passionate boy. When you meet him you're overtaken at how respectful he is; how polite. But underneath that boy who does posses such qualities, is a boy that's hurting. A boy that is missing a link. A boy that is crying out but no one is hearing him. And because of these emotions, he has unveiled behaviors that I as his mother can no longer cope with. I can no longer cope with behavioral and physical issues that have reared their ugly head into our family. I have tried to help him with counseling, therapy, intense one-on-one conversations, even mentors. I have tried to engage my son in any and all activities that he deem interesting, fun, or the least bit intriguing. He wants nor needs any of it.
I have sat back way too long trying the methods I know, to help this son of mine. My other children, who are young and innocent, are witnessing behaviors that don't follow our family's moral compass. They're witnessing behavior that will lead them down a dark, confused, and possibly ugly road too if they continue to emulate their older brother; whom they love and adore.
I made the decision to enroll Anthony into an all boys ranch. At this ranch, he will learn life's skills. He will learn how to motivate himself, how to learn respect & responsibility, and how to become a productive member of society. At this ranch, he will learn how to manage cattle & horses, work on cars, cook & clean, and even how to do his own laundry. He will have group therapy, individual therapy, and even family therapy once a week. He will learn that life is all about choices. You choose to work hard, you will reap the benefits from your hard work. You choose not to follow the rules and be lazy and unmotivated, well, there's consequences to those decisions as well. This camp will teach him that only hard work makes dreams come true...not chance or luck.
The above mentioned sounds great to you I'm sure. It does me too. But he's 8 hours away and he'll be gone for 9-12 months. That's where as his mom I have guilt.
As I drove away from his camp last night, I felt broken. I knew then and there if Anthony hated me, he had every right to do so. When I saw the fear and pain in his eyes, I wanted to grab my son, hug him and tell him I changed my mind...please come home with me. But I didn't. As he was crying, I kissed him, said I love you, and walked out the door. When the door shut behind me, I ached. I crumbled. I wanted to die. And I cried...sobbed. But I knew that I was making the right decision for him. I knew that if I let him continue down his destructive path, that I would be hating myself for not intervening in his life sooner. And then what? A son in prison? Becoming a grandmother at 37? A son addicted to drugs and alcohol? No, I'm not going to let that happen...I love him too much.
I know that there are some of you reading this who are mothers yourselves. Please don't cast judgement upon me or my family, for the most difficult choice that we have had to make. You're not in my shoes. And I know that it's always easy to judge a fellow mom when you wouldn't dare make the same decision as her when it comes to parenting. That's what makes us all so different. It's the love and support that helps us along when a crisis strikes. It's the comradery we need to have for one another as mothers, not judgement passers.
Bottom line: I'm struggling. I'm struggling with guilt, heartache, pain, and amongst them all, fear. What will become of him when he's away for so long? What about after he completes this program? Will he still harbor anger and hate for me? Or will he understand I was trying to do the best for him and forgive me, meanwhile I've gained back the son I knew was buried under that pile of poor choices. That I don't know. But what I do know is I love my son enough to want to make a change. A change that in turn hopefully produces an over-the-top amazing young man that I know he's capable of becoming.
I love this boy to the moon and back. I know that with the support I'm so desperately needing, I will be okay. And so will Anthony.
|Amanda Allard Photography|