Entries from May 1, 2008 - June 1, 2008
Do they ever grow up? Where is the line between helping a 20 year old, semi-adult son because he is a temporary idiot, and enabling said 20 year old till he matures to become a 40 year old leech?
Our 20 year old son left in August to begin a pastoral internship in a little church in California . Before he left, he received a ticket for driving without insurance. Before he left, he assured me it was taken care of. Off our baby went, driving west on his own into his future. He was doing very well on his own far away from mommy and daddy. We had every reason to believe our first chick had successfully flown the coop.
Until... the weekend before Christmas when a policewoman showed up on our doorstep to arrest our son for missing his court date. Frantic calls (very early in the morning on his side of the country) led to assurances that he would take care of it. For those of you shaking your heads please note, this is our first child out of the nest. We didn’t have the life experience to realize that “taking care of it” to the 20 year old means something very different to his parents. To parents “taking care of it” involves actually doing something. To the 20 year old it means doing nothing and hoping for the best.
We greeted him at Christmas like a peer, an equal, a wage earner and a tax payer, a payer of bills, one like ourselves. Unlike his younger siblings he didn’t have to clean the house for company coming Christmas day. He was exempt from cleaning the kitchen after Christmas breakfast and dinner. We didn’t ask where he was going and who was he going with. He was an adult guest in our home and we treated him thus. Less than 36 hours before we were going to put our successfully launched first born on the plane back to his home...he was arrested for failure to appear.
Fortunately, he didn’t face jail time . Unfortunately, he faced tons of fines and fees. Here is the parental dilemma. The semi-adult has no money. Youth pastors at very small churches live on below poverty wages. His fines and fees amounted to 3 months of his yearly salary. If he stays here, gets a regular job and pays us back, he remains a kid. If we pay the fines and fees, and for the plane ticket back, he goes back to his adult life but we have bailed him out. What to do?
Painting, lots and lots of painting. Our trim is again gleaming white and the dining room has been transformed. Hours of painting, much humble pie and prayer later, we paid for everything, put him on the plane and sent him back to adulthood. We are both older and wiser, and a little sadder from this experience.
The upside is, as usual, our younger children will benefit from our newly acquired knowledge about parenting semi-adults.
I was thinking: what country would I like to visit without having to actually go there? Saudi Arabia came to mind. I have been reading Susie’s Big Adventure for the last few weeks. Susie is am American woman who moved, with her Saudi born husband and their son, to Saudi Arabia in the fall of 2007.
Susie paints a far more positive picture of life in Saudi America that I would have expected from a female American expatriate. She writes about the Saudi version of March Madness (who knew), her mother-in-law's life, a pajama party. Her blog is so varied and interesting you can’t help but get caught up in her sense of adventure.
Scan down the left side of the blog until you get to labels. The Susie of Arabia category is a great place to get the overall picture of her life in this country so very different from our own.
Saudi Arabia is not some place I would want visit in person. It is interesting to visit there with Susie as my virtual host from time to time.