Saturday, May 24, 2008

Brandon Came Home and Left Again

Are you having fun riding the roller coaster ride of our blended family? Well, I certainly hope so because the ride is not over yet!

Brandon lived with his father (I don't feel that "daddy" is appropriate for him because daddy is also a term of endearment, so to speak...over and above being a biological father...he wasn't) for just over a year but things weren't rosy there either. His father didn't really care where he was, who he was with, when he came home or even...if he came home at all. Now this would seem like every teenager's dream world but I'm quite sure that he would tell you today that he hurt him deeply to have his father act like he really didn't care. He was more of his "buddy"...not his father. Even though, at the time...I was the evil mother because we had boundaries, rules and expected a lot from his grades, in the form of respect and just personally. It wasn't to be mean or punish him...but because we loved him and wanted the very best for him.

During his time away...I feel, shaped many different things in Brandon's life that might have been different if he had ONLY HAD A LOVING FATHER...his biological father...the one that he longed for and desperately wanted his love and attention. My heart breaks every time I write about this subject and it still makes me furious...all at the same time. My son deserved so much more!

His father brought him to our house on afternoon after having another one of their explosive episodes...he was having just as hard of a time handling him as I did. It wasn't as easy as he thought it was going to be but you have to take the role of parent...loving, firm, rule setter and enforcer...not his friend. After they had it out in our driveway...his father threw his stuff out of his truck and said "here he take him...I'm through'. Well, you know, you have to actually start something before you can be finished with it. Anyway, that day...Brandon moved back in with us.

We had moved since he left home to go live with his father and this house only had 3 bedrooms. I had taken the job of insurance billing for the OB/GYN that I still work for...from home. The 3rd bedroom was my office. We had his futon already in we shared a space for about 8-9 months...during his senior year in high school.

This time was not completely smooth but it did seem to be better than before he left just after he turned 16 before. We bought him a little car, got him a cell phone and got him settled in to finish school, then it would be off to college. That was our plans......

He drove like his! He got one speeding ticket in the school zone that I got him out of, at which time...I told him that it was his ONLY get out of jail free card...anymore...he was on his own. It wasn't long and he got another speeding ticket in town and we made him go to court. Of course, he was a minor and I had to go with him plus I knew the judge...he ended up with 8 hours of community service and driving school. He also had to "be good" for 3 months and it would not show up on his record. Ok, you would think that he had learned his lesson...right?

WRONG! He knew how much trouble he was going to be in if he got anymore speeding tickets, being that he was on our insurance and the car was in my name! It was only 4 months later...I get an envelope in the mail from the juvenile department in Memphis. I thought that was weird and it was addressed to Brandon. I called him on his cell phone and told him what I had received. He said he didn't know what it could be and to open it.

Guess what it was? It was another speeding ticket doing 50 in a 35...however, in Memphis...if the driver is a minor, they have to issue him a juvenile ticket...not an adult ticket. When the ticket was turned in by the officer and processed...they realized what had happened...changed the ticket to the juvenile department, reissued it and mailed it to the house. Needless to say...he had to park the car. We made his get a ride to and from school or his mom would drive him and his little brother to school. How humilating is that for a senior to be dropped off at school by your mom? He wasn't even allowed to drive to his own prom...she drove.

Sometime over the next couple of weeks, I was talking to his father and telling him about what had happened. We were comparing notes because he said that Brandon had told him that he got a ticket but he couldn't tell me. He said it was on the interstate and I said "no, was in Memphis". He said that it was a state trooper and I said "no, it was a city police officer". Things were not matching up. Finally, his father said "you better call municipal court and see if he has gotten another ticket that you don't know about".

I called and guess what????? You got it! He got another ticket 4 days after the one in Memphis except this time....he was doing 102 down the interstate in a Geo Prism!

Oh, my goodness....I was livid!!!!! I called him on his cell phone and told him that he had better come home at lunch, removed his new CD player out of the car because I was selling the car. I told him that he was not going to kill himself or someone else in a car that was in my name. Not to mention, everyone is sue happy these days...I didn't need to be sued because of his recklessness.

He came home at lunch, got his CD player out of his car...I had already removed everything else from it...I was still furious. We had it out was not pretty, to say the least. That was 4 tickets in 6 months time...the last 2 were 4 days apart. Good grief!

Brandon didn't like to be told what to do, controlled and he still doesn' he told me that he was leaving. He also told me that the only reason that he was living with us was for the car and if I took that away from him...then he didn't have any reason to stay here any longer.

It was 2 weeks before graduation! Believe me when I only got uglier from there. It was a battle of the wills, who's in control, who was going to tell who what to do and who was determined to win. He thought he had all these rights as a teenager and I was determined to show him that he didn't. Everything that he owned was given to him by us and they were all in our house. Well...the police were involved before it was over. He lived with two friends and their stepmother until graduation.

This should have been one of the happiest times of our lives...our son's graduation from high school, going to college plus we were renovating a rent house in Memphis for him and a friend to live in while they were to college there.

I did tell him when he left that day that if he chose to leave then he was on his own. He would not have a car, a cell phone, a permanent roof over his head, college paid for and I would not support him financially either. He was angry and so was I...he said that he didn't care and left.

Did I handle everything correctly? No way! I was so angry and the time...more angry, but the hurt and pain were hidden beneath the anger in the moment. When the anger subsided...this mother's heart was broken! Can you say...FAILURE? That is what I felt like once again. It wasn't the way this mother had dreamed her life with her precious son would turn out to be.

The old saying...What doesn't kill you, will make you the truth. Brandon and I both are stronger, smarter, wiser, appreciate and love each other more since then...but it has taken quite some time...a couple of years after he graduated in 2004 to reach that point. He is still my beautiful, precious son...who I love with all my spite of all the pain that we both caused each the learning experience of raising a son, a teenager and watching him grow into a man. Man, if only children would come from the womb with an instruction manual in their tiny little hands! Life would certainly be much easier...but each one of our children are unique, different, special, precious and we wouldn't want it any other way.

Next Entry: The Pain of a Mother's Breaking Heart

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Thank you for stopping by today and sharing your heart felt thoughts with me. As we ride "Through the Storms of Life" together, chances are...your situation is different than mine. However, we serve the same awesome God, King of Kings who is in complete control and it all belongs to Him anyway...He wants to give you the very best. Be encouraged my friend, God loves you!

Thank you again for taking the time to visit me at "Through the Storms of Life".


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