Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Jon here today.

Karen and I talked last night, and we feel it’s time to wrap this up.

We talked about how we have 5 wonderful children, yet one of those children seems to take 75% of our time. This child dominates our thoughts, worries, and available time. Why have we allowed this child to consume so much of our lives, and so much of the time our other children deserve?

We have accomplished our role as parents. Kyle is an adult. We (Karen, actually) got him through high school. It was like pulling a semi uphill, but she got it done. We gave him every opportunity we were able to give him as a child, exposed him to as much as we could, from sports to arts to academic to social activities. He was NOT lacking as a child.

Why are we dedicating this blog, and more time, to Kyle? Why not a web site about our oldest son, who set a goal to attend an excellent out of state college, is excelling academically, president of his house, a growing and maturing future leader? Why not about our youngest son, an excellent athlete, who has the most extraordinary personality and people skills that God could ever give a human being? Why not about our oldest daughter, tall, blonde, strikingingly beautiful even at her young age, the smartest in her class, performing with a touring singing group? Or our youngest, the sparkplug cutie who hasn’t started shool yet, but whose company we enjoy as much as any adult friend?

We’re not going to abandon Kyle, but he’s an adult. He’s on his own. It’s sink or swim time. If he needs our help with something, we’ll talk about it. We’ll help him as we can, with what time we can give to him. But it’s time to reclaim OUR lives, and give our other children the time THEY deserve.

It’s very possible we may never blog again, or something may come up that motivates us to write again. But most likely, we’re done.

Thanks to all for your prayers and support. Continue to keep Kyle in your prayers. We will look in on our e-mail from time to time, but don’t be offended if we don’t immediately respond. This last year is a chapter in our lives that’s closing, and we’re moving forward. Overdue, and much deserved.

Jon and Karen

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Jon back today.

Yesterday’s story doesn’t end.

Yesterday, after finding Kyle in the house and removing him, I went back to work. He actually went BACK IN the house, and took my watch, took our youngest son’s bracelets, including several WWJD bracelets, and taped up his broken window. I don’t know how he got back in, I suspect he disassembled the broken window so he could remove the brace keeping the window closed, then taped the window back together to hold the glass in place.

Last evening, he knocked on the front door. I was at work, and Karen answered the door. Kyle’s standing there with a big grin on his face. Karen laid into him for breaking the window, violating our privacy, and everything else. He stood there, and a totally shocked look came onto his face. He walked in the house, said he wasn’t going to listen to that, walked immediately downstairs and out the downstairs door. He was in the house for 3 seconds and gone. Karen said he was as manic as he could be. Why would he think he could do this to us, then we would welcome him with open arms when he comes to visit? I really don’t think he feels he’s done anything wrong. He had completely forgotten about it, and was amazed we would be angry with him for breaking in yesterday. Is this further evidence of a mental problem that goes deeper than we suspect, or is this just the action of a total and complete screw-up?

I just got back from checking the house. From the tracks in the snow, he tried the downstairs door, walked around the side of the house to the back, and found a note we left for him over the window he’s been going through. It doesn’t appear he went into the house today. He evidently read the letter and walked away through the yard of the house behind ours.

In the letter we told him we didn’t feel we should have to live under the conditions we’ve been living. We told him this is a permanent thing, but perhaps in 6 months we would enter into a discussion if desired. We told him he’s welcome at any time, provided he lets us know he’s coming. We told him we hoped he’d be around for Christmas, birthdays, special occasions, or just for dinner at any time. But to call us first. We told him to call anytime he needed anything, or if he was in trouble, and we’d do what we could to help him out, short of bringing him back into the house.

I don’t know what’s going to come of this, Karen doesn’t seem sure this is the best move, but she signed the letter along with me. I guess time will tell if this was the right move. I hope the consequences aren’t tragic.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Jon here today.

Well, this is pretty much the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Since the last time we kicked him out, I had really hoped and planned on Kyle repenting before Christmas, and we would all have a big happy Christmas with Kyle moving back in, and everything’s peachy.

Karen had told me she suspects Kyle has a key, and has been coming in the house during the day when we’re gone. I wanted to follow up on this, and came home today over the noon hour. I found Kyle in one of our kid’s room, hiding from me in a closet. He had been using the computer in that room, and had been playing with himself when he heard me coming. Fortunately, I didn’t find any porn on the system, but he’s getting better at covering his tracks. From what I found in that bedroom, he had been going through the drawers in our bedroom. I also found my good watch, a gift from my oldest son, in the bathroom. I did NOT leave that watch there. When Kyle left, he was hiding something from me, and refused to show me what it was.

He has been crawling in the little vent basement window in his bedroom. And now this window is cracked. He ripped out the screen, and cracked the window so he could crawl in.

I don’t mind providing him a place to live, but when he starts going through OUR drawers, and doesn’t respect other family member’s privacy and property, it’s all over.

So how far do I take this? Do I report a break-in to the police? Do I request they drive by our house regularly? If so, they’ll see him walking in the neighborhood and will stop him. If they search him they’ll likely find drugs or paraphernalia, and he’s back in jail again. I don’t want that, but I do want to be able to live without having to worry about this. The least of my worries are the viruses and trojan horses from all the porn he downloads to our computers. The greater worry is that we’re on some list somewhere and at some point we get raided and have our computers seized, and I’m jailed for porn or something. Or that he’s making drug deals out of our house, and our family is at risk for that reason. I love this kid as a father loves any child, but I am really sick of having to deal with this.

Then I think about parents with other mentally or physically handicapped kids, and they don’t turn their backs on those kids. Kyle DOES have a mental problem, of that I’m convinced. But what are my responsibilities as a concerned parent? As a Christian parent? He’s 19, but they say with a bipolar child subtract 5 or so years for an “effective” age. If so, am I turning a 14 year old kid to the streets?

I really need to talk to Karen about this, and we will REALLY need to hold together on this one.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Karen here. As you read from Jon, Kyle is out. I am frustrated by his actions but I am trying to understand this mental illness. It is frustrating because no matter what he does he doesn't seem to feel any remorse. He doesn't seem to have a conscience at all. He is loving and cares what people think but does what he wants to do anyway.

I know he is staying at his friend's house up the street but I don't know how long that will last. I hope he comes home before Christmas.

My girlfriend called me today. Her son was hit by a driver without insurance. Her sister told her how unlucky she was. I told her not to believe it because people have said similiar things about our family. I feel blessed by all of our children. I went to a very nice theatre in our city to see the Nutcracker on Saturday with my daughter's brownie troop. The other mothers talked about how beautiful the theatre was. Our youngest son performed there for the play "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat" and Kyle was in a couple of shows there for various groups. Debbie Gibson wrote to our son for a while and he got to perform with the Osmond brothers. Our life is not always perfect but it is never boring. I go to bed each night exhausted but happy.

I was frustrated with Kyle this year. I lost a lot of weight when he was in jail. But the determination that he is bipolar answered a lot of questions. And Jon and I came through this year closer, I believe. With the support of each other, friends, family, and most of all Jesus Christ I think we are much stronger. I know that consequences are the only thing that really affect Kyle. And while Jon and I don't always agree on consequences we do support each other. I feel very blessed to have him. We married young (20 and 21.) I was absolutely crazy in love and still am.

Jon here today.

Well, we had to kick Kyle out again today.

Why is it so difficult to follow a FEW SIMPLE RULES?

We told him NO DRUGS.
We told him to pick up after himself.

Other than that, we really set no rules.

This morning the house was trashed. Papers all over, food and food wrappers all over the kitchen, dishes all over the kitchen and the rec room. I talked to Karen and told her we were going to have to come down hard on Kyle and insist that life with him be no more work than life without him. Karen went to his downstairs bedroom to talk to him about this, and gathered up a bunch more dishes. There were cigarette butts in many of the glasses. Irritated, she dumped the butts out on his dresser and brought them upstairs to show me. I looked in one of the glasses, and what was there? A roach. The stub of a smoked marijuana joint. The kid not only was too lazy to go outside to smoke cigarettes, he was too lazy to go outside to smoke a joint. He tried to tell us it wasn’t his, but if he let anybody else in our house to smoke a joint, he’s every bit as guilty as if he did it himself. Besides that, we found other paraphernalia. A homemade pipe made from foil, and toilet paper tubes stuffed with fabric softener sheets. They use those to blow smoke through, it filters it so you can't smell it.

We told him he would have to leave and he started yelling and swearing “F*** this” and “F*** that” and “F*** you”. We left him alone, and in an hour or so, he was gone. Still with an attitude a mile wide.

So here it is, 2 weeks before Christmas, December in the midwest, cold, and he’s on his own.

In my opinion, we really had no choice, though.

Once again I really hope we did the right thing.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Jon here today.

I'm home from work sick today, from both jobs. Actually, I feel very guilty for staying home, but the way I've been sniffling, coughing, and generally dragging around the boss kind of made it clear he didn't want me around this way. I understand, but I'll pay for it doubly when I go back. Nobody else can or will handle my issues, so it will all be waiting for me when I go back.

We really don't have anything to report about Kyle. He's been home, but he comes and goes like a ghost. We don't know when he's here or when he's gone. But he seems to be following our house rules, I haven't caught him smoking in the house, or anything else. He went to a concert the other night, a hardcore christian band called Stretch Armstrong. We told him he would need to find his own way home, so he walked a mile and a half to his grandparents after the show and stayed there. At times I think he should get his drivers license back, but then I think of all the worrying we did when he was out late with the car...

I will tell two stories today. One was when Kyle was 14. We were expecting our 5th child, and Karen was due at any time. I was working alone at our store, and Karen called me about plans Kyle had made with a friend I didn't trust. I called Kyle and told him, in no uncertain terms, that we had discussed this before, and he was not to take off with this person. Kyle's response led me to believe that he wasn't going to listen to me. I drew a line in the sand, and told him that if he crossed the line, when I got home I may have to take my belt off and have a one-on-one with him.

Let me pause here to say that I don't beat my children. I have spanked one child, and only one of my five children, and that was Kyle. I have spanked him with a belt on a few occasions, be it right or wrong, when he blatantly and knowingly broke rules. Looking back, this may or may not have been a good approach with him, but it's over and done with. I guess time and God will let me know if this was right or wrong. Back to the story.

Karen called me shortly after, and told me that Kyle had blatantly defied me, and left with this kid. 2 or 3 hours later, I locked up the store, and came home. When I pulled into our circle, I see 2 sheriff cars in our driveway. I pulled up, and was met by a deputy who greeted me by name, and asked if I knew why they were there. I said I didn't, and he said Kyle was afraid of what might happen to him when he got home, so he called 911. The deputy went on to say that they had investigated, and that they found nothing to be concerned about. He wished me a good evening, and they got in their cars and drove away.

When they originally got there, they came right in, no knock. One deputy took my wife one direction, another took Kyle to another part of the house, where they interrogated both. An hour or so later, I got home, and they decided I wasn't a child abuser. It shook up Karen so badly, 2 hours later we were in the delivery room.

Now a pleasant memory. When he was about 12 or so. We went fishing, and were really catching a lot of bass. But Kyle wasn't doing as well as the rest of us, and it was frustrating to him. So he stood right next to me at the front of the boat, and matched me motion for motion. I cast, he cast. I twitched the rod, he did it exactly the same. He was my shadow. I started to get frustrated, but realized he really wanted to please me by being like me in this respect. That's been Kyle his whole life - he very much wants to please us.

Enough for today. We'll try and post more frequently.