When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The heart of the difference is not ability or even talent, but desire

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Proud mama

I won't go into too many details, but if you managed to follow this blog since it's inception at the end of 2005, you might somehow remember I used to write a lot about my feelings, and especially about my older son, who since February of 2006 had been in Montana Trouble Teen Boarding school for a year, Florida Military-oriented trouble-teen boarding school for 7 months, left house at 17 and half under my rules, lived on streets and couch-surfed, did drugs, stole, partied, served time (13 months, half of which was in rehab facility), got out, got kicked out of 2 housing projects for former felons due to coming back to drugs, couch-surfed more...We always maintained an honest relationship. It was steady no matter how unsteady his (and, actually, my) lives were. There were times he'd disappear for a couple of months, and I would barely know he is still alive. Then we'd talk. I never scolded him, never read lectures - not since he was out from under my roof. From the moment he left the key to my place on the table - he was an adult, or at least he was trying to be. It was up to him to grow up, I couldn't do it for him. I cherished the ability of his to always tell me the truth, however harsh it was. That was very important to me. That, and the idea that the real road to recovery would have to be taken when and if he is ready, not because someone wants him to, or for parents' sake, nor even for the sake of the law. He had to want it. I told him I will patiently await, and will support every step in that direction - nothing else. But I will forever love him, my son, my first-born, always a difficult one, and for that always precious.

He started a community college this January. Just one class. I told him I'd pay for 1 class and if he thinks he wants more, we'll discuss next semester. He hasn't missed a day. He got new parole officer. He is on a strict schedule of all the meetings and drug tests. He got leads to the jobs kind to ex-felons and potential housing. He wants more school and more work. And to top it all off - he sounds excited. That I haven't heard in many, many years...

oh also i wanted to let u know that things r only getting better right now my PO referred me to this program upstairs in their building that helps with housing and employment and much more im signing into this place downtown called the outside in and i have an appointment on thursday at 2 to get set up they give meals and a place to stay for free as long as im doing something productive and seeing as how im going to school right now it is already productivity as well as the fact that my counselor gave me an 8 page list of felony friendly jobs so soon i will be employed living downtown and saving money for my own place hopefully b4 the end of the world i will be on my feet
life is good
never thought id say it in my position but life is good
I hope i make u proud mom i hope so
it was all the stupid drugs n stuff 
No, it's not a magic switch, and yes, I do expect setbacks. But I can't be not thrilled for the first time in all those years, because what I hear is not what I demand in respond yet rather his own words coming out with a huge smile that I can see on his face through two thousand miles.

It's much easier to be a proud parent of a perfect child. You know, one who learned to read at 4 (he did, in both languages), or who knew math without listening to a teacher (yep), or one who is a gifted musician (both on piano and guitar, notes or by ear). I never doubted my son has a core in him that anyone would envy. I never stopped believing in that something that I knew we gave him - and he cultivated it, through wild days, lonely hungry days, scary days, brain-clouded days...I knew.

Grit...who cares if you can run a marathon fast, or a 100 miler through the mountains. Life is where it tested. Your character. Your grit. Your desire. Your patience. Your love. Your core.

32 comments:

  1. That is great news indeed. You should be proud!

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  2. As a parent of two kids, I can't imagine what you must have gone through when you woke in the middle of the night wondering if your son was ok. You have endured so much, but you can never give up on your kids - No matter the situation. So glad for him, and you, he has turned his life around in a positive direction.

    I talked to a young man awhile back who was using all his energy doing the wrong things (drugs, stealing,...), and talked about what he could accomplish if he focused his energy doing something positive. Like you said Olga, nobody but the individual can decide to do this. All we can do is plant a seed and watch it grow. Watching is the hard part.

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  3. You are one amazing Mama! Thanks for sharing this, very heart warming. Sounds like a good kid.

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  4. That fantastic, Olga...raising kids is the hardest thing in the world. Ask me about my son someday...

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    1. I still have your story in my email box, Steve. Thank you.

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  5. I think I have been reading your blog since 2005.. and have been following your struggles with your son, both with the written word and the in-between-the-lines too.

    So happy to hear that "HE" now has hope. A great step!!!!

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  6. Awesome post. It made my day.

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  7. Anonymous31/1/12 22:14

    So happy that there is a chance that things will work out for you and Alex. Please keep me on your Family list. What makes you happy makes me happy. Alex deserves a good life, as long as he works for it.

    Yours Always
    Mike

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  8. Powerful. Thanks for sharing! I work next to the Burnside bridge and there are many homeless troubled youth down there. I have to wonder if I haven't seen him or interacted with him. A reminder to myself to not walk by blindly; that everyone has a story and that they deserve to be heard and respected, as we're all hoping for positive change.

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    1. I, too, have to remind myself same thing.

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  9. So grateful to hear that he is exploring new routes. Your patience and love have been amazing.

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  10. Wow, Olga, you and your son both have grit. You should be so proud.

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  11. Best of luck to you both.

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  12. Awesome, Olga! I really hope things continue to go well for him. as always, you have great perspective.

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    1. A glimpse of hope, however tiny...

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  13. Amazing news, I hope his progress continues. What a blessing.

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  14. I think I shed a tear! Great progression in both your lives. I'm so happy for you both! I guess apples don't fall far from the tree regarding grit and passion, eh?

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  15. Wonderful, Olga! You are such a cool person. :)

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  16. Congratulations, Olga. I know how much it means to see that glimmer of hope even while another part of you is silently dreading the next misstep. Someone recently reminded me, of my own son, that "every one mut find their own path", but it never makes it any easier as a parent because we always feel responsible for them no matter how old they are or what they do. Its great news that he seems to be finding his way and even better that he felt an honest desire to want to share his enthusiasm with you. I hope things continnue to progress for him (and you)

    I love your statement on grit. It's so true that the ups-and-downs in a race can never match the challenges that life itself can throw at us. Thanks for sharing

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    1. I think our friendship began from talking about it, Mr. Twin...

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  17. Anonymous2/2/12 08:32

    So beautiful and so right. I have a child who has gone through some challenging times lately. It is true it isn't the downs that define you, it is how you get back up.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Jennifer

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  18. Olga, I have followed your blog since 2005 and I am glad to hear. I think the hardest thing about parenting is watching them through the rough times even if when you have to let them find their path.

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    1. That is, indeed, the hardest.

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  19. Thanks for updating me on "your" Alex. You are my favorite girl...and I have always told you, he'd make it! Some kids just take longer than others. You have always been there, and he knows that. I am so proud of you...and even more proud of him. It's funny that we both have a "Larry" and and "Alex."
    I miss you. We won't be at RR this weekend. Larry has a health issue he has to tackle. We'll talk soon. I love you beautiful girl.

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  20. Thanks for updating me, beautiful girl. I couldn't be more proud of Alex...and you! It's funny, we both have a "Larry" and an "Alex." Every child grows up eventually. Some do it the hard way, but are tougher for it. He's a very smart young man and has a Mama who loves him unconditionally. We won't be at RR this weekend, unfortunately. Larry has a health issue he has to tend to. I'll talk to you later about it. No worries. I love you and miss you. You doing okay? "Your" Larry? House?

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    1. as you can see...I am not a computer "geek!" Sorry for the double posting. You can delete one of them!

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  21. He has grit just like his mama bear. :-) Having followed since almost the beginning I'm so glad to read your good news. And I'll admit to getting a little teary reading that note.... :-)

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  22. I am so happy that Alex is slowing finding his way. I wish him luck as he finds himself again and moves forward in a positive way. Olga, you are a special Mom, and I know how hard it must be. We love our children no matter what. Unconditional love. We never stop being a Mom, do we? Hang in there and I hope Alex continues to make you proud. :)

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  23. Anonymous5/2/12 16:24

    Proud mom...? Because you spend all this time talking about your middle class suburban injuries and let your child run alone...???
    He may be more adult than you !

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  24. Hey, Anonymous! Bitter, any??? It's very easy to cast dispersions on others via anonymous postings. Weak and pathetic! You know NOTHING of Olga's life.

    By the way, don't think that you're totally, "Anonymous". This blog tracks IP addresses and locations so that part of the mystery is known.

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  25. Proud Moma! Being a mom is hard, yes indeed it is. You should be proud of yourself. Following your passion and being a great mom at the same time is an achievement. Cheers!

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