We got to our hotel kind of late, but the pool was going to be open for a couple of more hours so Middle Boy and I decided to go for a swim.

Maybe not completely out of the ordinary or spontaneous, but neither of us had suits.  We did both have shorts and t-shirts we were planning to sleep in so that's what we wore to the pool.

We talked more about life "stuff".  He wanted to know how insurance works so we talked about all different kinds of insurance.  He wanted to know about wills and how they work.  I asked him if he was planning to kill me.  He said, "No.  I just don't know what it is."  So we talked about how wills work and how guardians work and then he wanted to know what would happen to them if I die.

There you go...the real question.  Would he be homeless?  I explained how I have it covered (sort of). 

I'm glad we took the time to swim and not just go to sleep otherwise we might not have had this conversation which has clearly been bothering him.

Praises for the little moments.
Middle Boy and I had a good drive to the football game.  We chatted about anything and everything.

We laughed and there wasn't much tension.  It wasn't tension-free, but it was certainly bearable unlike recent days.

I'm feeling like this weekend will be blessed.
We had drop off duty for the fall retreat.  A fall retreat I was sort of begrudgingly letting Younger Boy attend.  With all of the theft in recent days I just didn't want to deal with the "what if" of him stealing yet something else.

We stopped by and picked up dinner for the boys to eat on the bus and a "snack" for Middle Boy which looked strikingly similar to the meals for the two younger ones.

We arrived at church and they put their stuff in the HUGE pile accumulating by the luggage trailer.  I stopped to chat for a minute and went inside to check them in.  They had taken care of it.

Younger Boy and S...I hope you have an awesome time.  S...just knowing your story it makes me smile that you are courageous enough to go.

Prayers for a great weekend.
Younger are being a jerk.

This morning I got him up for school.  He isn't "good with mornings" and it requires a significant number of return trips to keep him on task.

Today he took it to a completely new level.  As of this morning he no longer knows the steps required to get yourself ready for school and out the door.  Has no idea what they are.  Said so himself.

Of course...this backfired on him, because I assured him that people who have no idea what steps need to be taken to get ready in the morning have NO BUSINESS at a middle school fall retreat.  NONE.

This makes you suddenly remember what you need to do.  Funny how that works.
Middle Boy and I are taking a weekend trip together. 

Our relationship right now can only be described as volatile right now.

We have made a vow though.  This weekend we will enjoy each other.  We will not talk about the every day junk that gets in our way.

We will work on being mother and son.  We will work on enjoying our time together.

I am so looking forward to it.
Middle Boy had therapy tonight.  It sucked.  He was angry and doing his best to be checked out.  He couldn't understand why I am frustrated with the suspension thing.  He didn't get that while it happened a month or so ago I found out today.  In his mind I should be over it.

He was belligerent and more than once Therapist A had to tell him he was out of line.  This is his mode of operation.  If he is in trouble he becomes belligerent and hurtful.

While we were doing therapy Younger Boy took it on himself to spray powder spray on ALL OF THE WALLS in the laundry room.  Why?  He doesn't know. Just felt like it he guesses.

Therapist A sent the boys outside and we talked.  She reassured me that what I am doing is making a difference and that these boys are hard and that she knows it feels lonely and like no one gets it.  That made a difference to me.  I am constantly in an uphill battle and the people who live in my home are an ungrateful lot.

Take deeps breaths...those were her parting words.  Take deep breaths.
A friend sent me this from an old email she had from a site she subscribes to.  Oh how I needed to hear this today....

Sometimes our children choose a path that seems to wind and twist and loop back on itself.  It seems sometimes they prefer to walk right along the edge of the cliff, where the limestone crumbles away beneath their feet with every step they take.  They teeter on the precipice - their arms outstretched, refusing to heed our calls to come back from the edge or to take a different path or to choose the road we highlighted for them on the map.

Our hearts beat fast and our hair turns gray and we wring our hands as we watch them tempt fate.  They laugh at us, or wave us off, or maybe they don't even turn to look in our direction.  We toss and turn at night and then asleep at stop lights in broad daylight.  We write laments in journals.  We submit prayer requests and we sign them "Anonymous" because the story doesn't just belong to us.  We pray and give up praying.  We cry and shout and whisper and grow silent and our hearts sit heavy in our chests.

I'm only telling my own story here.  I'm offering it up in case there is another someone out there who has tried everything she can to fix it, or to make it right, or to call her child back from the edge.  I just want to tell you, you are not alone.  And I want to tell you, God's got this.  he does.  So go ahead and breathe.

I don't say that lightly.  It's hard to breathe when every phone call makes your lungs stop cold.  And if you remember to breathe today, by tomorrow you might forget again.

One day I sat breathless before God.  My gut was twisted in a knot, and I couldn't even look in His direction.  My hands fell open in my lap and I whispered, "What am I supposed to do?"  And just as quickly as I asked the question, one word slipped its way into my heart:  "Love."

I can do that I thought to myself.  "I can love.  But what else, God?"  "Just love," He breathed into my heart.  "I'll do this rest.  I've got this.  All you have to do is love."

I have to be honest.  These days I find it increasingly difficult to even to  There is so much anger and frustration and lack of trust that love is hard to come by.  I just need to breathe and love.
About a month ago Middle Boy acted inappropriately in one of his classes and was given a late detention.

On the day of the detention he called me to come get him when it was over.

Today I got a call from the school.  He didn't go to the late detention.  So...he has an in-school suspension all day tomorrow.

I am furious.  I am SO SICK of this kind of stuff happening.  Can't anyone just do what they are supposed to anymore? a result his probation will be extended and we will get to go to court again.  When I reminded him of that he acted shocked.

Really...try thinking ahead....
We are all going to be gone this weekend.

Boarder is at his parent's house for a few days.

Younger Boy is going to the fall retreat at church.

Middle Boy and I are going to a football game, but going a little early so we can spend some time there.

So...Max and Sophie are going to the pet hotel.  This makes me nervous.  They are going to share a suite since they are together all day.  Neither of them has really been around other dogs and I'm not sure how it will go.

Max thinks he's little even though he is up to about 65 pounds now.  He is going to be out of sorts with the "big dogs".

Sophie is a little alpha.  She will try to be the queen of the littles.

I just pray they don't get kicked out.

They are signed up to attend the day camp tomorrow for eight hours.  That's right...eight hours of play for them.

They might not want to come home...unless they get expelled.
Younger Boy has a new friend, S, who he met in the therapy waiting room

S has a pretty significant trauma history and hasn't talked to other kids in public for a couple of years.

He has totally befriended Younger Boy and we have been taking him with us to youth group on Wednesday nights.

It makes my heart smile that maybe we can be a light in S's life.  His mom is AMAZING and BRAVE.  She made choices for her kids that Younger Boy's mom didn't.  For that I commend her and will support her.

Thanks God for putting S and K in our lives.  We love them.
Younger Boy's lying and stealing have escalated to a new high. 

Today in therapy we discussed that while the majority (not all, but the majority) of the theft in the past has occurred in our home he has taken it to a different level with the thefts at school.

Last night he got up during the night and took some of Boarder's food for lunches.  This morning when I found it in his bed he SWORE he didn't put it there.  Then the story changed to he did put it there, but he didn't eat any of it even though he had gone downstairs to get something to eat. 

When Therapist C told him that made no sense he said that he brought that food to his room and ate the raisins out of a box of raisin bran.

We reminded him over and over that this isn't a big deal....just tell the truth.  Couldn't do it.  Still insists that he didn't take or eat any of Boarder's food.

Math homework...SWORE it was done and turned in so I contacted the teacher via email.  No...he didn't turn in the work.  So I asked again.  This time he pulled out his victim card and told me that he did do it, but someone had thrown it away in the classroom so that was probably why the teacher thought it wasn't turned in.  When I searched his backpack for it (and found it) he swore that wasn't the right homework even though it was the right date and the right set of problems.  He insisted it was work he had previously not done (how is that better?).  He even went so far as to rip it up.

This stuff MAKES ME CRAZY.
Younger Boy is proud today....of himself.  It isn't something I see often so it deserves some celebration.

He and a partner got the highest grade of anyone on a science project about matter. 

RAD is a curious thing though, because he said, "Four of my teachers are proud of me.  Isn't it cool that four people are proud of me?"  I said, "I am proud of you, too."  He looked at me and said, "OK."

He posted about it on Facebook and gotten even more congratulations.  Mine matters the least.

At least he is proud....very proud.

Why haven't I been posting lately?  Life is hard.  Really hard.

It is so hard I really don't want to talk about it.

On the days when it is just so hard I don't even want to do this anymore the last thing I want to do is admit that in a post.  Admit defeat.

That's how I feel...defeated.

Everyday there is something that happens that deflates me even more and I just continue down a slippery slope into hating all of this.

Younger Boy's struggles were really just the tip of the iceberg.  He continues to make less than acceptable choices.  Admittedly he is confessing to the poor choices more quickly if that can be considered progress.

Last week it was stealing a dropper bottle from his science teacher.  He first swore she gave it to him and then he swore she knew he had it because she was in the room when he stole it and then he finally admitted to the theft.  He has since returned it and apologized.

His therapist got on his case last week and told him if he doesn't make the choice to do the therapy homework we are just going to stop wasting everyone's time and money.  She told him Older Boy had surpassed him in therapy and that really struck a nerve.  Maybe the motivation he needs.

Middle Boy is a mess.  I have FINALLY figured out his operating procedure.  If something happens and he is angry at himself there is HELL TO PAY for everyone in our home.  Today is one of those days.  He is angry at himself for getting really far behind in school so Boarder and I are being bombarded with blame and accusations.  It is exhausting.  I don't want to do it anymore.

He is VERY HURTFUL to me.  Today he wants me to just f***ing die, because all I have done is ruin every bit of his life for the last two years.  Not one thing good has come from him knowing me.  Not one. 

Apparently I should also be fired from my job, because I am stupid and don't know how to manage anything in life.  I certainly shouldn't be a parent and have a job, because I am not handling either one of them.  His words...not mine.

He is just "waiting for the day" when he can leave this house and never look back.  Don't expect him to contact me once he walks out the door, beccause he won't.  Doesn't care.

He is not doing his community service hours and he doesn't have a job.  We are one quarter into school and he honestly has a class where he hasn't done a SINGLE  thing this year.  No in class assignment.  Nothing.  On the two tests he wrote IDK for every single answer. 

He is apathetic.  He is unmotivated and on the verge of being behind to graduate with his class if at all.

He doesn't get it though.  He will "pull it together".  He "still has time".

I have got to start blogging again.  It makes me feel better and some day maybe I will want to remember these things.  Right now I just pray I can let them go.
I need prayer.  Prayer for spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical strength. 

The details of the behaviors aren't important right now, but Younger Boy needs 24/7 supervision. 

We are working on the possibility of psychiatric care, but that is hard to come by in a mental health system very overcrowded and not equipped for children.

His therapists are working with me to petition for in home help so the rest of us can sleep.  It isn't going to be a quick thing.

There are many OUT OF CONTROL behaviors.

Pray we can keep putting one foot in front of the other and figure out what changed or is going on with Younger Boy.