Monday, May 2, 2011

Some progress, perhaps?

A friend of my son's, who is also in the program, moved out of his house over the weekend. He moved into an apartment at the other end of town. My son's been hanging out with this kid for the last several weeks, and it's been a really good thing for both of them, because they have some of the same issues. They get along really well, too. In fact, my son's friend told my son that he could move in with him if he gets a job and can afford to split the costs. I think this might provide a bit of motivation for my kid. At least, I hope it does.

The last couple of nights, my son has spent some time hanging out at his friend's new place. Last night, before going over there again, he told me and my wife, "You know, hanging out there was fun and it's a nice place. But there's no TV, no Internet, not much furniture. I realized how much I take for granted here." When I heard that come out of my son's mouth, I was flabbergasted. It might not sound like much to anybody else, but to me it was an indication that my son might be maturing a bit.

One more thing: Last night my wife told me that our son was telling her about hanging out at his friend's place the previous night. He told her another friend came over and that the three of them just hung out, playing poker for fun, with no alcohol and no weed. Just three guys sitting around and having a good time, without the assistance of any mood altering substances. Probably pretty unusual for three guys in their early 20s.

These things give me hope. I will take them with a grain of salt, for sure. But I am cautiously optimistic. Perhaps some progress is being made. Fingers crossed. Toes, too.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Free to a good home

So, after trying to sell those Deftones concert tickets all week, and most of the day today--see the post immediately before this one--I did something crazy with them.

After lowering the price of the tickets on Craigslist this afternoon, I got this e-mail:

If no1 will buy em ill take em 4 free so they don't go 2 waste. If u r a trusting person ill even give u an I.O.U. & hook u up w the $ n a couple wks when I get paid next, but I jus put every dime I have n my gas tank. I know it's a long shot, but figured I'd throw it out there.

Something about this e-mail got to me. So I called the phone number Jon included in his e-mail and told him he could have the tickets. For free. I think he thought I was kidding at first, because he sounded kind of like he was in shock. "Really?" he said. "Yep," I told him. "And you don't have to owe me any money, either. Just pay it forward to someone else somewhere down the road."

Even though I was out more than $115.00, giving the tickets to Jon made me feel really good inside. Here's someone who desperately wanted to go to the show, but he didn't have the money. I had spent the money in January, so it was gone long ago. I figured, Why not make a stranger happy and, at the same time, let them know that there are still kind and generous people in the world?

When Jon and his friend came to pick up the tickets, they were incredibly grateful. "This is the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me," Jon told me as I handed him the tickets. I'm not sure if it's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for him, but I'm pretty sure it might be one of the nicest. And, to top it off? Jon promised me he'd pay it forward.

Today I took a negative and I reframed it, turning it into a positive. It was a good feeling. And it was a good day.
Postscript: It's the morning after the concert, and I just got this e-mail from Jon:

Thanks again 4 the tix!!! We had a freekin blast!!!

Putting my money where my mouth is

Back in early January, my son mentioned to me that two of his favorite bands, Deftones and Dillinger Escape Plan, were coming to Detroit on the same bill and that he really wanted to go. Being a huge music fan myself, and knowing how cool it is to see two of your favorite bands at the same show, I thought seriously about buying tickets. But my son wasn't living up to what he had promised to do, so I decided against it.

A few days later, I started thinking about buying the tickets again. After all, it was only mid-January. Surely by May--almost four months later--my son will have made progress, and going to that concert would be a nice reward for him. So I took the plunge and spent $115.20 on a pair of tickets.

Fast-forward to today, Sunday, May 1st. It's the day of the show, and nothing with my son has really changed. He still hasn't looked seriously for a job. He still balks at doing chores around the house. He still stays up all night and sleeps all day, into the evening. He's still stuck in a rut and isn't doing anything to help himself out of it.

In the not-too-distant past, I'd have caved and let my son go to the concert anyway, because...Well, because I've been a total sucker who's been played like a violin over and over and over for the last six years. But not this time. There's no way in hell I'm rewarding my kid for inactivity this time around. I decided a week ago that him going to the show was out of the question, and I listed the tickets for sale on both eBay and Craigslist.

Unfortunately, as of 10:30 this morning no one has bought the tickets, which I've now got listed for $60.00--less than half of what I paid for them. But it doesn't matter to me anymore. It doesn't matter if I sell the tickets for $60.00 or $40.00 or $20.00, or whether I just give them away to someone--which is something I will seriously consider doing if no one buys them--or eat them altogether. I don't care about the money anymore. I care about standing up for what I believe in and not being a sucker anymore. Finances are incredibly tight for my family, and the thought of throwing away more than $100.00 is not an appealing one. But I'm putting my money where my mouth is this time around. Besides, maybe $115.20 in exchange for a life lesson for my son isn't a total waste of money.