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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Laura’s birthday


              
Laura has not been the subject of many posts this last year or more. She’s still here, of course, and an interesting young person to know. A year from now she is a citizen and a year and a half from now, out of school and launchable to the world.

It has not been an easy year, this third year of high school. Perhaps you recall the year began with Laura applying to spend this year abroad, being accepted, and her abrupt change of mind. She withheld the reasons for some six months, and when revealed, were not good. Suffice it to say they basically involved a swirl of dishonesty that I probably have not untangled to its end yet. I probably do not want to.

I was absent a lot of this summer, breaking bones, but Laura camped out with family and friends. School began again. The tight circle of girlfriends that began in ninth grade was breaking apart, and that concerned me. Laura was still was stabilizing from ending eighth grade in a bad mental state. However, I thought it something we could get through. Actually, we have.

Laura became more withdrawn and uncommunicative this year. We had the pot smoking incident, and I am not naïve enough to think it her first. However, with the unannounced blood test still hanging fire, and it will be there until sometime next February, I hope it is the last. There was another major incident of dishonesty that I won’t get into. I was becoming quite tired of being the parent in loco.

Spread this out over the background noise of Laura’s mother, my daughter, berating me about stealing her children, saying how everyone hated me because I was so mean, so on and so forth.  I did not recognize sides had been drawn, and Laura had chosen. Against me. And so I realize, the joke is on me.

Over these several years, I have never “ratted Jan out”, as my sister would say. It actually was Janice who told my daughter to quit berating me for “taking the children”, as it had been hers and Tom’s idea. 

Furthermore, I told Shelly, since the subject was back on the table, I never wanted to take the children. Both times they lived with us, I lost the vote, 2 to 1. I would have preferred seeing them among Shelly's ex-husband’s family. There were about eight siblings there to select among.

I told Laura I had taken on a responsibility I intended to see to the end. The responsibility had been to deliver the three of them to a safe place when high school ended. 

I delivered Hamilton to his father. Ham now has a responsible managerial position with Chipotle, and goes to Cleveland State.

I delivered Blake to Hiram. I cannot speak to status; I do know he has the support of all the family. 

But Laura is frustrating beyond words. Now is the time to be applying to colleges, and little Miss Physics, Trig, Calculus, Logic certainly is college material. And she will not answer me.

The other night I caught her completely off guard with my question, and she began answering in a lie that got worse and worse and worse. Eventually I grounded her, probably for the rest of her life, and in a day or so she volunteered the truth.

She wants to be a Hollywood makeup artist. OK.

She must be trained in California. Snort, snort. There are schools all over the country, including Ohio.

Google is in California. Go directly to the next paragraph.

She will move to Cleveland and live with Blake. I told her she should give serious thought to rooming with the sister who harassed her into a nervous breakdown only three years ago. That statement really set her back! However, my daughters, one of whom is her mother, became thick as thieves for a time, as adults.

On the other hand, Blake’s intention is to get to Google.

So, that is pretty much the state of affairs on Laura’s seventeenth birthday. I am pleased she’s giving thought to her future. Her mother’s was no less shallow at seventeen. However, this week her mother is taking another final exam against her Master’s in Nursing.

Another year and my job here is done.

And of the girlfriend circle, the first one remains. I suppose I could think of it as Laura and Lexi sorting out the rest.


I guess I lost the picture of Laura standing here with her birthday cake. 

32 comments:

  1. Being a teenager is hard....and parenting one is even harder.

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  2. Laura is a confused teen, for sure. It is a hard time to make decisions when she does not really understand what can happen.

    You have huge heart.

    How wonderful to hear that Hamilton has emerged to the light.

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    1. As you can tell, I'm not overly worried. She's smart enough to figure it out.

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  3. Unlike me, Laura has the school chops I never did. I excelled in English and Art. Math and science was a bit trickier.

    If her goal is Tinseltown, then suggesting she apply to schools our here could be a lure to get her to go to college. She can always fall back on her degree, if her chosen profession takes a while to get off the ground.

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  4. I was not an easy teenager, my kids were not easy teenagers, and now I worry about everything with my precious teenage grandchildren. I think this has gone on from time eternal but today’s times and the epidemic of anxiety and depression with the added prevalence of drugs makes the job of raising children so much more difficult and sometimes heartbreaking. You have taken on a most difficult role, Joanne, at a time in life that had its own problems, but you have done your best and given it your all. Like most kids who never appreciate all the things that parents and guardians do for them when they are of that age, she will mature one day and be grateful for all you have done and all the love you have given her.

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    1. Thank you, Arleen. You all sharing knowledge has been the key to sanity here. I have done a decent job of getting them this far down the line, and now their mother has quit serving the KoolAid, they have a good chance. But it's up to them. Wonderful holidays to you and all your family!

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  5. I admire any grandparent who takes on raising a grandchild, especially a teen. It's usually a thankless task, but important for the sake of the child who probably will not understand that until long, long afterwards. Happy Birthday to Laura and I hope her future plans work out for her.

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  6. Raising children is just plain hard. Raising grandchildren is even harder. I have done both and am happy to be out of business. My girls are apt to point out every misstep I ever made as a mother. My son just loves me and wants everyone to forget about any past mistakes and move on. The grandson we raised is in prison, so I assume that proves me to be a failure. You do the very best you can with what you are given, the outcome is not guaranteed. There comes a time in life when you have to choose to be happy or not happy with your own self. My oldest child died from an overdose. It can all be overwhelming and hard to wrap your head around. If I dwell on it too much I will crawl into the closet and curl into a fetal position and just stay there. Seems like you are doing a good job!

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    1. Thank you for sharing, Kathy. As you said, 'the outcome is not guaranteed'. Would that it were not the case, but it is. My sister's 28 yr. old son is in prison. She told me something to the effect of: 'This is his life now'. Sometimes I think about the person he could have become and wonder how he could have gotten there.

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  7. This is so sad. Some day Laura will appreciate all that you have done for her. I feel sorry for her, but she's a teenager and no matter how smart they are, they really have no grasp of the future.

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  8. I do really admire you Joanne for having the courage to take on 3 children who were beyond being fulled molded and trained. I did it once with a nephew who didn't like my city and went to live with his grandma (my late mom) as his parents are deceased. He was a very willful child but is now working on his Ph.D. Laura is very bright and as you say she will figure it out. Your guidance during the very dark times were instrumental in helping her this far. She may have some slippery steps along the way but in the end I'm sure she will be fine.

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  9. I was a difficult teenager but in the current climate would have become a damaged (possibly irrepairably) one. I am awed at the work you have shouldered and hope that it does all come good. And the building blocks are there. Thanks largely to you.

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  10. You gave them good tools to deal with life, a lot of love and attention, they will know to go through obstacles and that's what matters. You have a huge heart Joanne.

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    1. Yael, I agree totally with your comment.
      Joanne you're done your absolute level best. You're a Grandma to be proud of.

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  11. Being the parent of a teen today is a challenge. Being a grandparent who parents must be difficult, to say the least. You are doing great work though it must be frustrating at times. I hope Laura takes a safe path through this next few years through school and beyond.

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  12. You are certainly not taking it easy in your retirement.

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  13. I never realized that there were issues beyond the pot episode. Good for you for sticking to it and doing your best.

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  14. Hari Om
    I remember my turning of 17... there could be similarities. Not the family situation - I have been blessed with stability there. The confused, developing personality, though... I recall saying to my family after my stay with you that I saw myself at that age. It was slightly disturbing to remember - but also, I can say now, all will play as it has to. Just being there is all you need to do, Joanne. YAM xx

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  15. wow, Joanne. at least your sister finally fessed up. it seems while you were recovering and Laura was staying with friends and family that they worked quite hard to disengage Laura from you. ad for your daughter, their mother, if she had been in the habit of parenting her children no one would have had to take over. I am surprised that Laura has chosen sides against you after all you have done. but she is a teenager and fully so. 16, 17 kids start the process of disengagement with the parental unit. it would gall me that they go running back to their mother, the person content to let their teeth rot and couldn't be bothered to provide decent meals and no supervision, I mean no one gets their kids taken away for being a good parent. well, you know what they say, no good deed goes unpunished. I hope that as these kids grow into real adulthood and start their own families they will understand and appreciate what you did for them. you may be handling it but I am outraged at the way they are treating you.

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  16. It's a ghastly age to be, and an even ghastlier age to live with but it doesn't last forever, meanwhile you've loved her and given her a home and she knows that.
    Nothing's set in stone at seventeen-and-a-week and she'll probably dither about careers for another year or two. As long as she avoids jail ( unpleasant ) and pulls her weight at home, she needs to realise for herself that the choice is hers to make and live with.

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  17. Its hard to be a teenager, especially with some of the things Laura has had to deal with. You are to be commended to sticking to your deal to raise them and following through with it. I do not believe I would have the stamina to raise another child and I'm a few years younger than you are.

    betty

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  18. Happy birthday to Laura. I wish her the best. I know that having her with you has been both a blessing and a trial. There is a reason we have children when we are younger. It is hard work. Almost time for you to rest and for her to make her way.

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  19. Ah, this is tough....But you have only one more year to go.....(It may feel like a long one.) I always thought my kids gained more sense about age 25, maybe 24 1/2 , and I had to try to see they didn't make any huge mistakes before then. My son who lives with me suffers greatly from depression and anxiety and that's another story. My grandchildren are slowly approaching their teens. It is challenging to parent a teenager! Someday Laura will appreciate you more than she does now. Poor Laura. Praise and honor to you.

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  20. Our grandson (19) moved in with us last year. Lucky for us he is a good kid, gives us no trouble, and we enjoy having him here. However, he is at a loss as to what he wants to do with his life. Right now he is working and taking college classes locally. I keep telling him to just keep doing what needs to be done (taking the boring required classes) and eventually something that interests him will come up. I hope this is true. I think that all we can do is give them someone who has their back... push them in the right direction, and.... pray.

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  21. Band practice is what I think of and late nights home.

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  22. I counted the days sometimes. I won't tell you some of the awful things they did, suffice it to say that they survived. Margot the most difficult, raised that beautiful 13 year old. Milaka the youngest raised an autistic child who has great artistic potential.

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  23. Growing up is hard work sometimes..for everyone. Sending big hugs all round.

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  24. My 20 year old daughter who has Borderline Personality Disorder, smokes weed daily. I find it soul destroying, especially as she's now a mother, but I've tried everything to get her to stop, but she's addicted. All I can do is be there for her, and love her unconditionally. Not always easy.

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  25. Laura is a very lucky girl. You are a remarkable woman.
    As grandparents we probably all imagine what would happen if we were put in the position of having to take the children, and we never imagine it could be this hard.

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  26. I don't know what to say. This all kinda sucks, and I'm sorry it is happening. Not fair. However, I'm proud to know someone like you who has done the absolute best she could, not for thanks, but because it was the right thing to do.

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  27. It's good that your daughter is trying to improve herself now. But it's crappy that you are being frozen out when you've tried so hard to do right by your grandkids. I can also say from experience that it doesn't take a dysfunctional family to raise a child who wants to be secretive and aloof. Some of them are just that way, especially in the teenage years. Sometimes they come around much later, though.

    You have my complete admiration, Joanne. There are not many people I personally know who work so hard and give so much at a time when they deserve to be taking life a bit easier.

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  28. I think that someday Laura will look back at all the things you have done for her- trained her in responsibility In being able to cook and clean and explore interests, and realize that you saved her. But that doesn’t make it any easier now. I really am inspired by the way you live your life. It’s ashame that your family doesn’t support it.

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