Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Happy 17th Birthday Demetrio!
Today my son Demetrio is 17. It's amazing how time flies and how quickly he went from holding mommy's hand to independent, grown up (well, at least SOME of the time!) teen dad.
Yes, he's a dad. His son Demetrio Jr. is 6 months now. He and his on and off girlfriend thought that by having a baby, things would get easier. Sadly, they now realize that there is a lot of responsibility on them as teen parents. No more hanging out with their friends, sleepless nights, spending money they get for themselves on diapers instead of the latest electronic gizmo, and spending their last buck on a jar of baby food because they ran out.
I wish I could say that my dreams of watching my son graduate, play sports and do all sorts of wonderful things with his life would come true. Instead, my firstborn has substance abuse issues, is barely passing school, and has anxiety, ADHD and other mental health issues. His girlfriend pretty much has the same issues going on for herself at 15. It's hard enough being a parent when you have your shit together, and even harder when you don't. That's why they live with me. Now, instead of dreams and aspirations for his future, we take it day by day. Each day can be a bit of a struggle, or it can be a huge accomplishment.
I struggled with this a long, long time. And after family therapy finally realized that I didn't fail as a parent. I read all the books, did all the counseling, and tried to lay down the law. And then I watched him fall. And I wanted to pick him up by the hand and tell him it would be alright, but I didn't. Now, THAT was hard. But it had to be done. He's come a long way since then, perhaps he has learned from his mistakes now. And with his son, I only hope that he continues to set a good example.
I'm proud of him and of the progress he has made. Sad because of all we have gone through as a family to get him to where he is now. And hopeful that one day he will look back on these past few years and realize how extremely difficult it had been at times, while continuing to grow into a mature adult and successful young man.
Happy 17th birthday my son, may your day be blessed with good wishes, positive thoughts and lots of love and support from friends and family.