Saying No To A Homeless Son Again

03 April 2015 Written by 

My son Marvin has had a variety of challenges the last few months, some of them because of him and some not. But blame is not the issue. The issue is the mother's heart torn between wanting to help, but knowing that helping him over and over could hinder him from taking charge and learning to manage his own life. This is a hard lesson for me.

This was Marvin's situation

  • He had lost his job on Christmas Eve
  • Been kicked out of his girlfriend’s house
  • Had to live in an abandoned house with no water or electricity that was scheduled to be demolished anytime

Eventually he found another job, but knew his shelter was still only temporary

Marvin returned home recently to find a large crane in the driveway with “Demolish” signs taped to all the doors and windows. He knew his time was up there and he had no plan B even though I had reminded him to look. After grabbing his few belongings he returned to my tiny condo. He found a motel online that would rent him a room for $300 a week.

A deposit was due but who would pay

As we stood there at the counter of a grubby motel, the manager naturally asked for the payment of $300. I stood there willing my hands to stay at my side. I could see Marvin looking at me with his sad green eyes ,and guilt started playing the same old tune in my head.

  • It was unfair of his boss to fire him on Christmas Eve.
  • He hadn’t asked to be kicked out of his girlfriend’s house.
  • He hadn’t asked me to sell his childhood home so he would have no place to land at times like this and regroup.
  • He had been through so much already. Shouldn’t I help him out?
  • Why not just help him out one more time and then he will get on his feet.
  • He will know I love him. (My guilt tape saved the best for last.)

I knew he wanted me to take care of this. There was a big part of me that wanted to take care it for him. I was going down fast like so many times before.

I took a deep breath and prayed for strength. Then I heard my Al Anon sponsor whispering reassuring phrases to me:

  • Let him be proud of himself when he tells this story
  • Detach and let him go
  • Trust his Higher Power to save him
  • Do nothing, wait, stop, breathe

It was not easy to do.

Neither Marvin nor I moved a muscle for what seemed like an eternity. It reminded me a scene from an old Western. Who would draw first? The winner in this case would be the last one to move. The manager looked from me to Marvin. Eventually Marvin pulled out his wallet with a loud sigh of resignation and paid the manager with his own money.

I smiled and slowly Marvin smiled back. I offered no advice to Marvin about looking for an apt. I simply said, “Good Night.”

It might have been my imagination, but he looked a little taller to me as I drove away that night.

The very next day Marvin went out and found an apartment. He moves in this weekend.

A Reach Out Exclusive By Madeline Schloop


Read 1844 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 November 2016 19:33
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Madeline Schloop

Madeline is the widow of a man who died of alcoholism and the mother of 5 young adults whom she parents with the tools of Al-Anon. Her children continue to be affected by the disease of alcoholism. Her stories  deal with life's daily trials and what has and hasn't worked.
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