Many years ago I saw a harsh movie: Sophie’s Choice. In it the nasty old Nazi’s made a mother decide which one of her young daughter’s was going to live, and which one they would execute right there. She was horrified, but finally chose to save daughter #2, so they killed her and let daughter #1 live. I am in a situation that is sort of like that.
I am married to a good man. I have three grown children, but my 22 year old son is the big problem. He had been in and out of juvenile detention when he was younger. Now that he’s on adult probation (drugs and assault), he wants to come live with me. Every time he moves back in, something goes really wrong. Last year he stole some of my jewelry, and pawned two of my husband’s expensive guns. About eight months ago, he got into a fist fight with my husband and beat him badly. He broke his nose, knocked out some teeth and tore his ear. He is now back on drugs and has no place to stay. He’s pleading with me to move in with us. He tells me he’ll “be on the streets and dead” without us. In our town, there is no homeless shelter. He tells me he will be dead in a few weeks if we don’t let him move in.
I love my husband, but I also love my son. I feel like I can’t just abandon him and maybe have him die. How do you stop loving your child and just watch them die? I don’t know what to do.
You are certainly in a pickle. However, the problem really isn’t your son- it’s you. I have had to ask more than one parent with a difficult choice to make regarding their child: “Are you doing this to help out and protect your child, or are you doing it because you are scared that they will be mad at you?” Maternal (and paternal) feelings are powerful; however, not helping your child because you are scared is not maternal. In this case it would be choosing fear rather than your child. I would continue delaying your proclamation to him for a few days (him sleeping outside is rarely deadly) while you work quickly to do the following:
- Find out if there are shelters in your town or in nearby cities. Write down their names, addresses and phone numbers.
- Locate treatment centers nearby with the same info.
- Pack him a half a dozen well wrapped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to hold him over. Toss in a couple of tasty Hostess cupcakes while you’re at it.
- Give him a list of your research, the grub and a kiss on the cheek.
As you have stated he is on probation, he is either not showing up (aka: absconding from probation), or he just hasn’t given them a dirty u/a yet. Either way, using while on probation always ends badly. This isn’t Sophie’s Choice my dear, as you are not being forced to choose one over the other. In this case you can be a devoted wife and a loving mother at the same time. Overcome your fear and take care of both these men in your life.