My Baby is Gone. :(

My son, the last one left at home, moved out this morning. I don’t know how I feel about it yet. I don’t know if it was a mistake. I just let him go.

I raised my son the first six years of his life. I let him go live with his father when he was still very young, after he convinced me that it would be in the best interest of our child for me to let him go. I was raising my first two children from my first marriage without child support, working, struggling to make ends-meet, and have to admit it was tough. This second husband I wanted rid of so badly I pretty much signed with my blood on the divorce papers to be done with it. I agreed to $300 a month, which just covered child care expenses so I could work. When he met his current wife who had a child of her own closer to our sons age, and they set up house-keeping, he convinced me that they could provide him with a better life than I could, and that I would be selfish if I didn’t allow him the opportunity to benefit from it. I hesitated, but eventually relented. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I was being unselfish and a good mother.

My ex-husband and I fought viciously after that. He found leverage in which to control me by having this child, and used it as often as he possibly could. I should have seen it coming. He was an asshole when we were married, and didn’t want the divorce in the first place. We shared joint custody, I was a good mother so he couldn’t stop me from seeing him, but lets just say I put up with a lot of unnecessary crap because he held the reins. I allowed it though. I was tough enough to take it. As long as my son was being taken care of, I could tolerate the shit. During this time though, there were several instances where my son returned to live with me for a short time when his step-monster would throw a fit about something, but he always returned back to them because they were what he knew.

After I moved to the country six and a half years ago, got situated, married, I wanted my son to come live with us. He did try it for about six months, but it didn’t pan out, he hated the kids at the school, hated the boredom of the country, and returned to them again. By then I’d already realized I’d made a grave mistake by allowing him to be with his father in the first place, because he was showing signs of being very argumentive, had low self-esteem, and I felt they were belittling him and punishing him too much. It mattered little what I thought though. He was a city kid, wanted to return to the city, and I let him go. I felt he would be unhappier if I made him stay with me.

My son returned to live with me again a little over a year ago. He had gotten older, was bigger, and had begun to stand up for himself to his dad. Fights ensued often. Police were called plenty. My son ran away. Finally the only resolution, whether he liked it or not, was to return to me till he was 18. His father said he didn’t want him anymore. My son no longer had a choice. His father told me “He’s your problem now.”

This problem as my ex-husband put it, was enrolled in school a year behind his peers–as he had failed the previous year from all the problems with his father–and excelled after. For the last year he has done well in school, never skipped once, made new friends, has never broken curfew, and has followed the rules better than most children have. His only real problem…his mouth. He had grown so accustomed to being defensive to all the negative input from his father and step-monster, that once he was with us everything became an argument and battle of the wills. He’d gotten so used to being blamed for everything, that it taught him to not take responsibility for anything. He truly thinks he is right in everything he says and does. Needless to say this hasn’t flown well with me, and here we are now.

My son informed me the other day that he is moving out when he turns 18 and in with a gentleman he stayed with before that is like family, whom he considers a grandfather. This gentleman lives in the city near where my son grew up, my son said he wants to return to his old high school, and convinced me that he would be a big help to this gentleman as he’s getting on in years. I do know that whenever he needs something done to his house, my son jumps to the task for him. Then last night, after another heated argument, he informed me he wanted to leave now. I told him fine, go, and went to bed. I woke up this morning and all his things were packed and sitting on the living room floor. I could’ve made him stay. Legally that is my right as his parent till he’s 18. I didn’t.  I made him promise to stay out of trouble, make sure once I enrolled him in school he followed through with it, told him to text me everyday, and with much trepidation watched him take his things to the car and leave. I sit here now battling with myself wondering if I did the right thing. He’s excited about going back, starting school with all his old friends, getting a parttime job, making all his own decisions, and sees it as an adventure. I told him that I would give him his child support that he is rightfully entitled to till he’s 19 as long as he stays in school, to show I’m trying to be supportive in this. Then why do I feel so awful? Is it just my own guilt at feeling that I have to let him go again? A part of me says not to worry, he’ll be back as soon as he finds out that it’s rougher out there than he thinks. A part of me says to worry because I’m letting my baby go out into the world basically unsupervised. He’ll be 18 in four months. My question…did I do the right thing…or am I letting him go too soon?

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26 Comments on “My Baby is Gone. :(”

  1. The Hook says:

    I think you did the right thing.
    But you’re going to second guess yourself like crazy, you’re a Mom!

    • You know, he’s actually doing alright by himself, Hook. He won’t allow me to give any input, pays for things himself with the child support from his dad I give him, and seems to be okay. It’s just the whole ‘Mom’ thing, like you said. Drives you nuts worrying about them.

  2. Renee Mason says:

    Wow, that one really hit home. My 18-year-old son’s stepdad (and naturally my husband) evicted him from the house right after high school graduation as part of a punishment for having a party while we were out of town. The poor kid comes back into town and can’t even come home wthout drama and problems from my husband. I tell myself this will resolve, like everything in life eventually does, but it tears my heart out. My husband won’t even let him have any of his many friends here (because ALL of them were at that party), and this place used to be Teen Grand Central Station.

    Nobody gives you a clue about all the potential crap that can go wrong when you think of remarrying.

    • siggiofmaine says:

      Renee…
      Powerful. I think that Dr. Phil is correct that too many of us do not talk about our blended families and discipline BEFORE we get married and agree that the birth parent is the one that does the disciplining and the step parent backs them.
      The last sentence says it all.
      Thank you…and I wish you and your son well…and a peace to develop between your husband and your son.

      ☮ ♥. Siggi in Downeast Maine

      • Renee Mason says:

        Siggi, Thanks for your kind thoughts. Things have really taken an upturn in the past few days and my husband has agreed to family counseling. Prayers do usually get answered, one way or the other!

  3. egills says:

    It’s really hard to let your kids take the next step and sit to one side ready to leap to the rescue.
    I had to let my youngest go after struggling for 16 years to bring him up on my own. He went to live with his dad and is hardly ever there. However we now get on really well, I don’t push him to meet me and he texts when he wants to see me, which after a 3 month silence is now pretty much every week.
    As for your hubby… does he not realise that children are for life? We hope they grow and become successful, we support them in their choices ( even if we don’t agree ) and we’re there for them if they need us.

    • I know what this is I’m feeling; it’s guilt. I sat on the phone and bawled to Pandora Patty about it this weekend. I feel so guilty and responsible for ever having let him live with his dad in the first place, feel like I lost so many years of being a hands-on mother, just got him back, and am not ready to let him leave yet. I do know it will probably improve our relationship the way it has you and your sons. I think at this age it’s hard for children to be mothered, and the arguments come from them trying to grow up and our trying to keep them home.
      Which hubby are you referring to…the EX-husband? (I’m like the old woman in the shoe, except I’ve had so many husband’s I don’t know what to do!) Ha..ha.. My current husband has been great with my son, even though he isn’t his. My ex-husband, the biological father who pretty much raised him, looks on love as conditional and thinks if you’re not kissing his ass and letting him control you than you don’t love him, and reciprocates that. It matters little. He may have done the bulk of raising him, but my son always came to me for emotional support and the love he needed. I don’t give a shit if that bastard is in my kids life or not, nor does my son. He never talks to him anymore.

  4. Spectra says:

    I keep thinking about his perspective, and why he must be so happy – he gets to go back to school with kids he likes, and graduating with your social clan is important. I remember how much fun it was, how good it felt to ‘fit in’. And we do have occassional mini-reunions. And of course there’s Facebook. If he’d waited 4 months he wouldnt start the year at his old school, right? That’s probably what’s most on his mind. And living with this older guy, he will have to be more polite- there’s just something about family tension that makes people blow up more quickly. He will probably be more agreeable with this man, thereby reducing his own stress. Which is always good. I mean, for him. Hopefully, this will improve your relationship with him! It’s like, even Princess Dianna, who most everyone would agree was a great Mother, let her sons go off to boarding school so very young. It would have been an adventure for them. Plus, a good education. (I could never let my kids leave my side that young! I mean, if I’d had any)

    So, now there’s one thing less stressful in your home, a series of arguments you won’t be engaging in anymore. Who knows, it might improve your marriage in a way. ?

    Keep us posted! ;D

    • The only thing that’s going to improve my marriage is if my husband gets my damn car fixed so I can go up and take my drivers test. I’ve been putting it off till it’s fixed, cause there’s no reason to get it if I can’t use it. This is the bulk of my depression Spectra. The fact that I’m cooped up in this house in the middle of nowhere and can’t leave by myself. It’s driving me mad!

  5. Lisa says:

    Just let him know that if he ever wants to come home he can. In my most humble opinion, that will help you feel less bad and let him know he’s still welcome.

    • I did that. Of course my husband is mad now, because he says he doesn’t want him to think there’s a revolving door he can come in and out of. Still, it was easier to let him go knowing he has his house key and can come home anytime.

  6. I dont have the answer hon, but I do know that it seems like you have a very mature son who has a mind of his own, and if that is the case, i am sure he will be fine.

    it must be so hard. How far away is he? can you visit?

    • He’s about 45 minutes away. The nice thing is that if he really needs anything my 23 year old daughter, his sister, lives nearby and he can give her a yell. My two, older sisters also live in town, so he’s not completely away from family. There’s just this not having control over what he’s doing and whether he’s safe thing that drives me nuts. I talked to Pandora Patty last night though, and she assured me that he’ll be fine, and that I’m just a bit of a control freak, especially where my kids are concerned, and it’s stressing me out that I have to let them go. I know she’s right. My biggest problem is letting them grow up and make their own decisions.

  7. The fact that he left in good spirits, kissed you and told you that he loved you, says that it is right for now. And you have made it clear that you love him too and that there is a safe haven with you when/if he needs it. Who could ask for more? And what else could you have done? Kept him with you for another four months getting more and more mouthy, antsy and aggressive? Not good for either of you.
    Look after yourself. Hugs from afar.

    • I’ve tried to give myself the same words of wisdom you’ve just written. Better to let him go than try and make him stay. I had to do the same for my daughter when she was 17. I was moving to the country, she refused to come with me and leave the city and her boyfriend, I could’ve made her come but I knew that things would just get bad if I did. Against my better judgment I let her move in with her boyfriend who already had his own apartment (I did not like him). True to her word my little girl went to work, finished school getting her GED, now is nearly 24, has two, beautiful children she takes excellent care of, and is still with the same boy. I still don’t like him, but she seems happy so it’s not my decision. It’s just hard to let go.

  8. Rose Ribbon says:

    It must have been very hard. I still remember my mom balling her eyes out as I left for college. I wish I could help you with this one, but I haven’t been blessed with kids yet. Some day… hopefully. I’ll be thinking about you, though. ~Pam

    • Thanks Pam. I’m feeling a bit better this morning. I think I just need a little time to process it. My worst habit is to prepare myself and expect the worst, therefore I’m never surprised when it happens. I need to stop doing that. I need to stop worrying about things until they actually go wrong. Little tip about motherhood: Mothers never stop mothering no matter how old the children get. Sometimes I wish I could.

  9. siggiofmaine says:

    Relax. It is easier said than done says the mother who gets chest pains in similar situations (stress chest pains not heart related chest pains…the doctor told me how to tell the difference) and migraines.
    I worried about my son in boot camp, … it was my idea … and my father’s that the service was what he needed…and my son wonders what all the fuss from me was all about.
    Your son, napping, obviously is not looking at the situation the same as you are…been there, done that…I was the only one stressed…keep writing til your brain is tired, then relax til something requires your mothering skills…children are like boomerangs in my experience…they know where they are loved and show up on the doorstep … laundry in hand, then take off again…that’s been my observation about young adults these days.
    ☮ ♥. Siggi in Downeast Maine

  10. siggiofmaine says:

    PS…Mother to mother…it is the hardest thing to let a child go on their own…I re-read the parting words and the tone of your writing leads me to believe that you have a good young man….who maybe just needs to get away and start for himself, knowing you love him and will guide him if he asks.
    The “grandfather” figure you said he moved in for, not knowing anything about the gentleman, may be the best thing for your son. If not, you are there to guide your son to another op portunity to grow up. My personal experience is “nothing is forever” (it may seem so at the time)…life is about change.
    Use this time for yourself, is my thought…recharge your mental batteries. It is exhausting dealing with all this that has been going on, in my experience anyway.

    ☮ ♥. Siggi in Downeast Maine, USA

    • Thanks again. Knowing I might not have made a ‘huge’ mistake helps. I’m just sitting here feeling like crap and beating the shit out of myself over it. Maybe you’re right. Maybe we both need this right now. I know he’s not bothered a bit by it. I just texted him and he was napping. NAPPING! I’m freakin falling apart and my son is catching up on sleep. WTF? Maybe I should just let it go and see what happens. Who know…he may surprise me.

  11. siggiofmaine says:

    First, thank you for sharing what must have been so difficult to write…it was clear and concise…there was a lot of details, and It read clearly to me.

    Second, as mothers we are all doing the best we can at the moment. I believe that you instilled a lot of values in your son when he was with you and he will remember them. I pains me to know that he, had to endure the being told, he was “a problem” and you can still have input in to his growth into a responsible adult…the brain does not fully mature in many people, especially males until 25, some earlier, some later. You can voice your expectations with the “mouth” as to what is acceptable in your house and society, and have discussions about other behavior has it comes up.

    I’ve seen wonderful results from a loving mother, patient and consistent, turn a child around more than once.
    I wish you luck, keeping you and your son in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Thank you. I really appreciate it. I’m just sitting here completely lost right now looking around at an empty living room. I went up to his bedroom and just stood there and stared at the bit of mess he left behind. I know I should get up and get on with my day, but I can’t. It’s three o clock here, I haven’t done a damn thing today, and all I really want to do is crack open a beer and cry. I feel like my life is spinning out of control again and I can’t make it stop. Well, might as well pop open that beer the flood of tears just started….

  12. mairedubhtx says:

    Don’t beat yourself up. He would go in 4 months anyway. You did the best you could in his life given the circumstances. We all have regrets. I should have done this or that, but we do what we feel is best at the time. I think you did what you could and now he has to learn to be an adult just as we all do.

    • I’ve tried to tell myself that regrets and shame are for the weak, don’t help anyone, what’s done is done, and you have to do the best you can in the now. The problem is I thought I could love him enough to fix all the emotional damage, I haven’t even come close, and feel like I’m now turning him out into the harsh world still an angry young man. I only know that I’ve tired of the arguing, the constant insults, his standing up and telling me NO when I tell him to do something he doesn’t want to do. This is my damn house and I’m not taking that from anyone, and have told him such. He did leave this morning in good spirits, gave me a hug and kiss goodbye and told me he loved me. A part of me thought I should tell him to stay and we’ll work through this, but the other part of me that is sick and tired of being walked on by him and my husband just let him go. Maybe subconsciously I am using this as an excuse to finally leave, I don’t know. I admit, he’s been a big reason that I’ve stayed the last year. Maybe it’s time for me to let go of him, my marriage, and this house. Maybe it’s finally time for me.

      • Jodi Lea says:

        Girl, you’d be crazy if you weren’t depressed!
        My therapist calls me “the Queen of Self Abuse” and tells me to give myself permission to stop over-thinking and questioning everything I do / think / feel.
        She knows me too well I think. She also knows that I will try and do what she says, then I will find new ways to abuse myself.
        So, since I am The Queen – I hereby grant you permission to stop thinking. Unless you are thinking about spoiling yourself and watch a good chick flick while eating popcorn and chocolate (or whatever tickles your taste buds).

        • Yeah, I’ve been told I create crisis where there is none, and I have enough to worry about without conjuring up more. Gotta tell ya though, when it comes to my kids I am reeeeally protective. My control issues really kick in.
          I did have a few beers, treated myself to a big glass of Pepsi last night, and watched the scary movie “The Rite” with Anthony Hopkins (I was sort of disappointed, as it was only so-so). Not necessarily like chocolate and a chick flick, but it worked. I’m feeling better today, anyway.