Life Without My Thirteen Year Old Son

Before I write…my son hasn’t passed away; he’s moved away.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, and I’ll take you through it for two reasons: one…to bring you up to speed, and two…so I’ll remember for one of my books.

As you may recall, my thirteen year old son, Nathan, had been battling inside on whether or not stay with me in Texas or move back to San Diego with his dad, which was a choice I’d given him to make.

Many times, I’d been told that giving him that choice was a bad idea, that I should’ve forced what was “best” upon him, but instead, I did what I thought was right and gave him the decision to make on his own.

For awhile, being told I’d done the wrong thing had really affected me inside. I mean, after all, this was my son, and sometimes, people’s opinions can cut you like a knife. Regardless of what was done or said, I had a life to lead and a child to guide, which is what I did, until someone interfered.

You may remember how Nathan’d changed his mind and wanted to stay, to give Harlingen a little more time to grow on him, but a few days later, someone dangled a carrot in front of my little rabbit’s face, and he was too hungry to turn away.

On Sunday evening of September 18th, a woman from our old church, that Nathan’s dad (Robert) is friends with, sent Nathan a text, asking him to call her. The next morning (9/19), Nathan told me about the text, saying it was weird, and I agreed and told him not to call her but to ask his dad, so he did.

His dad sent him a reply, saying to call her.

When Nathan’d told me, I offered to call FOR him to see what it was about. The woman didn’t answer, so I left a voice mail. Within a minute, she replied by text, saying she’d only wanted to say hi to Nathan and see how he was doing, so I relayed that message to Nathan.

He said, “Should I just call now?” I answered, “Yeah, you might as well get it over with,” so he called, and what do you know, she answered.

In the conversation side that I heard, it sounded like she was asking questions mostly. Nathan was responding and explaining why he’d wanted to stay. Well, after he got off the phone, he told me more.

Near the end of their conversation, he said that she told him how everyone was missing him and offered him a plane ticket BACK to San Diego. I was shocked!

Afterwards, she called and left me a voicemail, saying, “I hope I didn’t step on any toes…” I was livid.

From the beginning, this whole thing’d been hard on Nathan, and I was so proud of him for making up his own mind, but his decision to stay really bothered his dad, so I feel like he set the whole thing up (which was later confirmed). Anyway, this woman’s meddling didn’t stop there.

The following day (9/20), I woke up to a text from Nathan, saying, “I changed my mind, Mom. I want to go back.” Of course he did! What thirteen year old wouldn’t?! It all seemed so absurd and carried on.

That afternoon, I called to tell this woman all the toes she stepped on and, in the course of talking to her, vented little.

You see, part of wanting Nathan to stay with me was because, in some ways, his father really isn’t “fit” to be a full-time parent: he hasn’t had a job in years and has lived off welfare, which doesn’t provide much; he tends to not prioritize the kids; emotionally and spiritually, he’s a little immature.

While I lived in San Diego, it was fine. I was there to balance things out, but without me there meant that Nathan’d be there “full time,” without an escape. I didn’t say all THAT to this lady, only hinted on a couple things, and she took it upon herself to fill in the blanks.

A couple hours later, I received a text from Robert, stating he was pissed at me but refused to talk to me, so I called messaged this woman to find out what’d happened. She called to explain.

She told me how she’d given Robert stipulations on getting Nathan the ticket, which included him getting a job and continuing on in his bible teachings, etc…all with using my name throughout. It was crazy. I listened in unbelief and confronted her the following morning (9/21).

Through a text (so I’d have proof), I told her how we wouldn’t be needing her ticket, how wrong she was in what she’d done, and defended Nathan’s dad, and erased her from my world on Facebook, but none of that seemed to matter: Robert still refused to talk to me, and Nathan still wanted to leave, but more was revealed.

The morning text was followed by a disrespectful attitude from Carolyn towards me, one that’d left me in tears. I couldn’t understand it and couldn’t figure it out, but later, she’d told me why.

Her dad had told her some lies about me, which she believed and held against me. It was insane, but by the next evening (9/22), she was back to loving me because, by this time, there’d been so many lies told to her and Nathan that were absurd, that they (finally) caught on that I wasn’t the bad guy, but still, Nathan insisted on leaving.

By now, he had the attitude of well-you-said-it-I-got-to-choose-so-why-can’t-I-go. I explained to him how I couldn’t send him back to his dad when he’s refusing to talk to me. It made him grumpy, but what else was I supposed to do!

Then, on Saturday night (9/24), Robert’s mom called me, accusing me of holding Nathan against his will. Are you kidding me! Whatever.

The next day, I sent Robert a text, explaining that if he’d wanted Nathan to come live with him, we’d HAVE to keep communication open. His response was that he’d take me to court.

I just couldn’t believe it! That was an entire week of B.S., all against me, all behind my back, all just a mess. I cried.

More than ever, I needed support, and as usual, Scott was distant, so all of this was another obstacle I had to make it through “alone.”

I thought about court and the outcome, how there’d never be a good ending (kind of like with my life right now), and I wasn’t willing to put any of us through that, so I gave in. That night, Nathan begged his dad to call me, and the next day (9/26), he did, and we worked things out (on the surface).

That following Friday (9/30), I signed Nathan out of school, which seemed to be the hardest thing I’ve done so far, but then again, a lot of things seem pretty hard, so I’m not even sure any more.

On that Saturday evening (10/1), we packed the car, and, the next morning, left for San Diego…just me and him…our first (and maybe last) road trip together.

Of course, when we arrived at Robert’s, he was cold to me and didn’t speak a word in my direction, and since I’ve been back in Texas, I’ve tried to get a hold of him with no response.

From 10/3-10/10, I was in San Diego and made it back home on 10/11. So far, life’s been, definitely, different: a little bit emptier and a little bit quieter, but at least we have each other, until January, when Katie and the baby plan to leave, and then, it’ll be just me, Carolyn, and Scott, until Carolyn graduates in 2018, which will leave just me and Scott (and that’s something I dread, but maybe that’ll change).

Now that you’re up to speed, I can post what I’ve written since. And here’re some pictures from our road trip.

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