The Obligation  

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He lived in an abusive household. His mom was strung out on dope and his dad, well he didn't know his dad. The guy that shared the house with his mom beat him up from time to time. Most of the beating went to his younger brother. I can't imagine the life they led for the first 9 years of his life. They had no power sometimes, often cooking off of a camping range in the kitchen with cans of sterno cooking fuel. The meals consisting mostly of ramen noodles and cool aid. The house was dirty all the time and his mom was stoned and the "father" was just mean.

He came to our house at the age of 11. He was quiet and a complete introvert by this time. My wife and I felt that we had to help this kid out. We couldn't handle all three of the children, but we felt that surely one more would be ok. He didn't want to talk about anything, especially to me. I was a man so that meant that I was probably mean and nasty like the last man he knew. He was much closer to his aunt. She had been around him when he was a baby, back before it was totally terrible at that house. She was only 10 years older than him, so there was a closer bond than between he and I. I figured he could use some team activities to get him to connect with some other kids so we signed him up for baseball. I was coaching and figured this might be a good way for us to bond. We had a great season and he really took to baseball. We won our city championship that year for the minor leagues and you couldn't have asked for a better ending. He hit a single that scored the go ahead run. I felt that maybe we had made some progress.

After baseball it was cubscouts, but that didn't work so well for him. We then tried bowling. That was a hit and he did better than average at that as well. The kid is a fairly decent athlete. He just had zero self confidence. We worked on that and tried to keep him active and connected. It seemed to work for a while. There were a few calls from school, but for the most part he did his work and everything was going ok.

The teen years came and he became a little bit rebellious. He wanted to live with his grandparents. My wife and I didn't like that idea, but we figure that maybe it could be good. It turned out to be a bad thing. There was no discipline in that house. They pretty much let him do as he wished. Stay up late, pretend he was sick and stay home. Don't bother finishing homework, no problem he wouldn't get in trouble for that.

It lasted his sophmore year and then he wanted to come back. There were other things that led him to going to his grandparents. He and my wife fought often ( they were almost like siblings). It was becoming a real problem for her especially with our small child. We didn't feel that it was healthy for him to see all the conflict going on. But I was promised that things would be different. Things had changed and he was going to walk the straight and narrow. It lasted for a while. Don't get me wrong there were little hiccups in the road. He got drunk one night with some friends (I wish I only did that once as a teen). Regardless of all the little and sometimes not so little stuff. We got him through high school. The one other thing he had developed on his own was a love for the guitar and I must say he's good.

So high school is over and he finds a little job, telling us that he didn't really see college in his future. I explained that I understood, but some form of higher learnig could only do good for him. He decided against it and at 19 he was out on his own, with a couple of friends. They had jobs and were renting a house together. I was happy for him, and felt that considering his start he was gonna be ok.

He lost his job and mooched off his friends for a while. Couldn't find another job (I know it's hard) and ended up moving to another town with some other friends to look there. Got in a little trouble and came back to town and here he is again.

I must say that I feel the failure. I honestly thought that he had a shot, but I can't put the drive and determination into him. I have come to the realization that he thinks the world owes him something. And while deep down inside I might agree, because nobody deserves the hand he was dealt. I also get angry, because not everybody gets the second chance he got.

My obligation to him ended when I saw him through high school healthy and graduated. I feel now that his obligation is to me. He needs to show me that he learned something from his 8 years with this family. We are far from perfect, but we did everything we could to help him become a young adult with some hope for the future. I might have failed him at some level by not being there everytime, but he has failed me by not being determined and driven.

It's a sad time for me, but I have come to the conclusion that there isn't much else I can do. He has a little time left and he will have to find other ways besides my wife and I for his living arrangements. He is like a son to me in many regards, but he has never shown me that level of respect that my other children do. I am hoping that he clears his head and realizes that we are here for support not To support him.

Family is great and the most important thing in my life, but sometimes it just hurts too damned much....

This entry was posted at Thursday, January 14, 2010 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

22 comments

Oh, Bendigo, the things that go on in people's lives. I wonder if this post would reach him? Maybe he'll do something with the guitar playing? I want to think of a fix, but I know it doesn't work that way. I hope it works out, my friend.

January 14, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Maybe I'll let him see this post and just maybe he will get a different perspective...There is always hope :)

January 14, 2010 at 3:54 PM

I don't think letting him see the post will do anything but make him angry with you. Especially if he's a private person. Also, if he has that 'entitlement' mindset, he won't get the message.

Sounds like you've done all the right things, now it's up to him to grow up. It can go either way, people who come from dark and difficult places either realize how lucky they are to have gotten through it and are more appreciative of everything they have now, or they will take advantage of the fact that people feel sympathy for them and always cut them slack.

That's my two cents.

January 14, 2010 at 4:49 PM

You bring up good points Kristy.. the whole entitlement thing just seems to be a huge focus for him right now..

January 14, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Ya know this tune is familiar to me. Oh yeah, I was this kid. Seriously. You have to let him fall down so he can figure out a way to get back up. You can not make be confident and strong. He has to find this in himself. As long as he is clean from drugs I would let him see what life can be like without you guys. I came from a strict military household. If ya screwed up you paid the price. You have done all you can. Tell him you love him and that you always will be there to talk and listen but you are not the "Bank of Bendigo" as my father would say to you. Good luck, man. It will take strength and faith.

January 14, 2010 at 5:34 PM

All you can do is plant the seed, and then step back and pray that it grows. You did what you can.
God will see that.

January 14, 2010 at 5:41 PM

As a wise man once said, "Teach them right and to be honest and though they wander off the path early in life they soon find the straight road again." Don't worry, a few hard knocks and he'll look back and one day thank you.

January 14, 2010 at 7:43 PM

My story is the complete opposite. The parents I do have left are in the same situation as what you are facing.

You can only do but so much before you exhaust every option at your disposal.

That being said you are twice, no thrice the man that I am.

January 14, 2010 at 8:06 PM

You guys are awesome you know that...you have offered up some good advice and some support to boot...Thanks!!

January 14, 2010 at 10:20 PM

Congrats man...check the title bar of my blog. I started something new, I think you might like it. Well, at least for the next week you will.

January 15, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Thank you Ian...That means a lot to me...I'm glad that you like what I type :)

January 15, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Well I always try and turn people onto blogs I enjoy. Just trying to figure out creative ways to do it...ala awards...etc. You've been anointed, and keep up the great work!

January 15, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Are you two gonna hug it out bc I may cry:)
nahhhh ya know I lurv ya

January 15, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Lol..this is why I can really get into blogging...You guys always manage to give me a smile for my day..one way or another :)

January 15, 2010 at 3:33 PM

Never in a million years did I think I'd blog. Never in a trillion years did I think I'd have followers. Never in a gazillion years did I think I'd even care about my followers.

All of that's been hijacked and I cannot be any happier because of it.

AND YES WE WILL GET A ROOM! Want to join in? ;)

January 15, 2010 at 3:38 PM

I love a good hug fest Ian;P
blogging has become my vice. a girl has to have something, right?
Great blog Bendigo... I am so glad you let us in your life... takes guts to talk about the hard stuff

January 15, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Well I too have that 38" waist..Guts I have plenty of... It's actually a good way to look at things objectively for me...so thanks for taking the time to read it

January 15, 2010 at 4:24 PM

Wow Bendigo. This post touched me so much in your honesty.

Like you said, you have done your part. You have given him love, and a second chance and a physical possessions that he would not have had otherwise. You Bendigo, are an amazing person.

I only hope to be as brave as you one day and take someone in like that. You have done a GREAT job. You have done what any parent would do. and now it's time to do what any loving parent would do, and let him make it on his own.

Not a failure my friend, a great achievement.

"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings" ~Hodding Carter, Jr.

January 15, 2010 at 6:42 PM

Good lord, it's an Ian and Bendigo bromance in full swing, lol. 'You're pretty,'... 'No, YOU'RE pretty', 'You hang up first,'... 'No YOU hang up first,' LMAO

January 15, 2010 at 7:12 PM

lol...kristy...you better look out I think that Lisa Marie will grab you up and put you in the middle of the group hug...

January 15, 2010 at 7:42 PM

You've done a lot for the kid. Not many would have had as good a second chance as him...damn, some people have it so hard though.

I'm with Kristy on the "showing him the post" part. It could go either way.

I hope it'll work out, Bendigo.

January 16, 2010 at 8:30 AM

I'm skeered!

January 16, 2010 at 4:26 PM

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