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19 March 2014

Son Update. [More:] Did you know that if you click the link in each of my little narratives about my son, it will take you to the previous update?

Anyway, he's doing okay. As I mentioned in the last update, he improved his transportation situation by buying his first new car, a 2013 Ford Fiesta. Pretty basic model, but it's NEW and perfect. He got it about six months ago.

And now, he's looking at apartments. He thinks he's found one that opens up at the end of May, so he'll be moving out in a couple months.

Meanwhile, on the job, they're sending him to senior pharmacy tech training which will eventually enable him to get a slightly better paying job.

But that's not what he wants... at least over the long term. He said pharmacy tech is okay for the time being, but he's starting to look into options for other careers. Ideally, he'd like to find a self-paced online program because he doesn't have the patience to study the same thing for a whole semester. He's thinking about computer security.

I still worry about him. Right now things are going well and he's in a comfort zone. I know he's gotta move out to grow, but I also know he's had anxiety issues before, and I don't want him to crash again. But I've got to let him do his own thing and figure out what works for him. He's responsible for his car payment now, not to mention other grownup expenses, and heck, he's 26.

My other son graduated with a bachelor's degree in music in December. He still has his gig singing in a church choir which pays a bit but not much. He had an interview to play piano for another church but he hasn't heard back yet. He's applied to grad school in both the music and library science fields. He's been the more stable of the two. He's not necessarily any stronger or smarter, but he is more willing to admit he's in over his head and ask for help if he needs it.

So I've got a college dropout who's advancing slowly, and a relatively unemployable music school graduate who's looking to continue his education. I was hoping that by now, they'd both be out on their own. I have a nephew and two nieces about the same age as my sons, and they're all supporting themselves. I feel like maybe I did something wrong since my sons aren't there yet, but I have to just have faith that they'll get there. Parenting older (adult) kids brings different stresses than having young ones.
My son went through some very, very bad times. It was terrifying and painful. At 22, he joined the Army, qualified for helicopter maintenance/ repair training, has done really well, and is now married, has his wife's 16 year old brother living with them, expecting a baby, and managing his life responsibly. He actually asks me for advice. His change and growth is amazing.

The lessons you taught them are there, they're making the right choices, and you're being a loving parent, helping and supporting them. It's still a horrible economy, so your son's success as a Pharm. Tech. is to be commended. They're lucky to have you, and I'll bet they know it. You sound like a terrific parent.
posted by theora55 20 March | 10:20
reading back through the links - it was a while before I could even use the term 'cautiously optimistic.' Hang in there, they're okay. Lots of those people who act like their kids are paragons - sometimes the kid is in debt from gambling or busted for drunk driving or whatever. Give him an extra hug from a stranger on the Internet.
posted by theora55 20 March | 10:24
Sounds like they're both doing pretty well. That he's still figuring things out at 26 is nothing - I had no idea at that age and was just blindly stumbling along through life. It's a great sign that he acknowledges what he's doing now isn't what he wants to do forever but is sticking with it until he figures that out and does something about it. Seems to me like they're both benefiting from some good parenting.

I wish I could feel as positive about my kids' futures - I'm constantly worrying that I haven't done a very good job as a father and my kids will end up a mess. One has made it to 26 and is doing really well, but my youngest daughter is a real worry - after continually telling her that she has to go to school or she will get in trouble with the police (as well as talking up the positives), the day came when I could no longer bluff when she refused to go to school the other day. I took her to the local police station and asked someone to talk to her, which they happily did (mostly about consequences etc). She bawled her eyes out and was terrified, saying things like 'I'm your daughter, how could you do this to me', which was pretty heartbreaking. Who knows if it will help in the long term - parenting is mostly about trying to shape their lives by predicting what will happen in 10 or 20 years and taking actions now that will guide them in the right direction. Seems to me like you've done a good job of giving them the tools they need.
posted by dg 20 March | 15:53
Glad to know I'm not the only one with a struggling 26-year-old son. Mine went to automobile tech school, racked-up an astounding amount of loan debt, and promptly discovered there were no jobs around here for someone trained in interior and trim work (Indiana not exactly being a hotbed of car customization) So, he's been struggling-away working fast-food jobs and managing, at least, to make his loan payments. It's a load of worry on our part, primarily because my wife had to cosign on his school loans, making her responsible should anything happen to our son. and it's not like we're swimming in cash these days.

He's driving our old Nissan, which has over 400,000 miles on it. This, of course, adds to our worry because, if the car finally dies, he can in no way afford to get a replacement. So, that sword is hanging over our heads, too.

He quit his job back in December. He'd been working at this regional burger chain (think: flat, grilled burgers, milkshakes, lots of black-and-white decor) since high school. But, his store always had a mold problem which management refused to correct. Our son is highly allergic to molds and it had gotten so bad at the store that practically every day he was subject to outright fits of vomiting. So, he quit. Which put us on the hook to keep up his loan payments until he could find employment, which is pretty difficult in our neck of the woods.

Amazingly, he did, quickly find a job with a regional gas/convenience store chain. They were expanding one of their stores to add a Subway. He managed to land a job there. It seems management has taken a shine to him and quickly put him into management training. So, now he's an assistant manager there, which has been good for his sense of self-esteem. The pay is still crap, of course, but better than he's ever made before, if only by a dollar an hour.

I still dread getting a phone call from him. That's terrible, but true. I've gotten used to assuming phone-call=big problem. Almost every dime he makes goes to those school loans, leaving very little for life's expenses. So, he has to lean on us for things like repairs to the car. He's living in a dump apartment near downtown with his girlfriend. We worry about both of them. It's a bad area of town, but it's all they can afford.
posted by Thorzdad 21 March | 07:07
Has he sent his portfolio to those in the field who might be able to hook him up with work?
posted by brujita 21 March | 23:27
Assuming you're replying to me...He has no portfolio. He's never gotten work in the field with which to build a portfolio.
posted by Thorzdad 23 March | 07:26
A little late to this party, but you say, "there were no jobs around here for someone trained in interior and trim work," How close are you to Elkhart?
posted by Doohickie 06 April | 12:15
Doohickie...We're in Muncie. A bit of a drive.
I've thought about bringing-up the RV industry up there with my son. I wasn't sure, though, how things were shaking-out in the industry from the recession.
posted by Thorzdad 06 April | 16:18
The Dude's selfie. || What's for lunch?