Single Mom Slice of Life:
Faux Failure


Is it wrong to laugh at a friend while they confided their woes to you? It probably is. Yeah, ok, it is.

But before you condemn me, let me explain.

Remember not all that long ago, I wrote about my frustrations with having a kid in high school? The begging, the pleading, the bribery, the threats… and my kid was pretty upset too. I asked for advice from friends, from therapists, I hired a life coach for him, I even went so far as to go to school with him.

There was one point where I had to accept the reality that my beautiful baby boy would be a professional slacker and living in my home long until I could support him with my social security checks. All of the sacrifices I made, all the lectures I gave, all the tears, drinking and desperation… how could I have worked so very hard to find out my kid has no ambition no drive, no sense of work ethic?

Related: Top Talker: Let Your Kids FAIL! Here’s Why It Matters..

In the Hail Mary of all last minute miracles, and some very forgiving teachers with questionable scoring methods, my son graduated high school.

So I was both sympathetic and stunned when my friend called me one night to share with me the slow descent of her son from human to teenager. The more she spoke of her son’s lack of initiative, not turning homework in, teachers not returning calls, I was hearing my voice, my stories, my fears. When she asked me, “what do I do? How do I change this? When will he understand?” my response was simple.

“You can’t.”

As much as I know she wants to, and she’ll try, and I’ll warn her, her son will continue on his own path until he – and he alone – decides to change his ways. I explained this to her. I let her know that I convinced myself that my friends, some of whom had kids and some who didn’t, truly didn’t understand. I shared with her how I helped my son, like a partner wounded in battle, carrying him through each class of each year. I confided in her how I wrote not one, but two reports for my son because I just couldn’t sit by and watch as he actively failed.

I admitted that by the end, I had given up. I had never felt more like a failure than when I shrugged my shoulders and let him know that if he didn’t care, I didn’t care and I had another kid that also needed my attention. I felt like I was leaving one behind to save the other… and in a way, I was.

Read more: Our Story Begins: A Day to Anticipate, Not Dread

In the end, Nick realized, accepted, and took ownership of the fact that this is his life. The friends he had then would not necessarily be his friends a year from now. He is now happy on his new path. In a few short months he will be moving to Iowa… a long far cry from the basement I was sure I would have to build so that he had a place to live with all his video games.

My friend, stranded in the eye of her own chaotic and emotional whirlwind, knows and accepts in her head what I’m saying is true. She was there and a witness for much of Nick’s high school career. In her heart, just like in my heart, she’s hurting, and helpless.

Nick and I saw a counselor once who said that humanity is the only species that fights the natural order of progression. In the animal world, as soon as the young are able to survive on their own – they’re on their own. Humans on the other hand are the only species that attempts to not only raise their young to survive on their own while fighting their ability to do it.

How crappy is that?

Ok, in honesty, I didn’t really laugh. But I did admit to finding humor in her story was because until that phone call, I was positive I had failed my son as a parent. Instead, I learned I’m just a human fighting the natural order of things. My son has found a path, and hers will too… in time.