Daryll, who wrote this post had e-mailed me privately previously — here’s a direct take on what I wrote yesterday (below) on Values:
I know this is not what you need to here (sic). But a 15 year old for the most part is going to be irresponsible, ungrateful and generally a pain in the ass. This attitude crosses all ethnic boundaries. Kids in America are spoiled. I know I was a pain in the ass to my parents and didn’t appreciate my luxuries. But in time I grew out of it and slowly became a model “pinoy american”. Respectful of his parents but still independent enough to stand up for myself. Its easier said than done, but you need to pick your battles. The cereal thing is minor. Tatoos are next, that is minor as well despite the pinoy distaste for such things. Getting a girl pregnant and drugs are the major things. Anyway, I enjoy your blog which I discovered a couple of days ago. You’re an intelligent strong pinay who seems to have a good head on her shoulders. You’re probably a lot brighter than the people you work for but that is America for minorities. By the way I’m francophile as well. I’m headed to Rome and Paris this fall. Good Luck and I admire your writing skills and the way you can easily put your thoughts into words.
My response: Don’t worry about me, Daryll.. Not that I don’t want to hear it — a therapist made me realize that 2 years ago, when I found myself at my wits’ end and I sought an objective point of view. To summarize, his brain is 15 years old only, and that doesn’t speak for much. So most of the time I try to think like a 15 year old so I can better tolerate what he is doing.
I just hope that he becomes like you and he “grows out of it”. Isn’t that what all parents hope for? It just tears my heart to see him treating his Dad with such disrespect. Of course I have my biases.. he is, after all, the second half of the be-all and end-all of the reason I’m here in New York. (The other being Angel.) We have gone through the motions of body mutilation, and we even helped him get his ear pierced despite his mother’s protestations two summers ago. Tattoos? He has been told he can do whatever he wants after 18 — so all he has to do is wait three years more. Besides, his pain threshhold is VERY low, so we are not worried about that just yet.
Drugs and getting a girl pregnant are now a staple of every other conversation. We have even been giving him condoms admonishing him to make sure he is careful. Our policy about that is it’s okay to have fun if you do it responsibly. He came into this world because of such a mishap, and his Dad has been firm in telling him while he had a choice to bring him into this world or not, he chose to bring his son and try to raise him. However, the circumstances of his marraige contributed to its failure because he and the boy’s mother were not prepared for marraige.
My husband is very eloquent like me and like you, was spoiled rotten as a teen. He was raised in a household of high academic standards but he had his failings. One constant in his growing up years, though, was a profound respect for his parents. This is one thing that is lacking in this young boy.
I know the cereal’s petty — I wrote about it to make a point. To me, it’s a closed issue. The solution is just not to have any unopened boxes lying around until the last one is consumed. You probabl heard your parents telling you how kids on the other side of the world don’t have the luxuries you were basking in — and as someone who’s seen those kids, it breaks my heart to see such waste and ungratefulness. Then again, let me reiterate, I agree with you and you are right in saying that a 15 year old will always be a pain in the ass.
The thing now is, do we let him be that way and just keep our fingers crossed that like you, he sees the light of day and turns around? If he were my son, that’s a risk I’m not willing to take. As he is the son of the man I love, I have no recourse but to step back butI think I have a responsibility in helping him by trying to show him the way even he abhors hearing it from me.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to write again, Daryll. I am not even sure if I’ve written you back already but rest assured I meant to! It is always nice to touch base with others who “converse” with me as they read the thoughts I write down here.
My Francophilia is in the back of my head right now but it keeps me excited about another trip my husband and I are planning to the City of Lights to celebrate our 5th year anniversary in August. I must start trying to learn French again. Tacked on my cubicle wall is an 8×10 picture of Alan taken with the barren trees of Champs De Mars in the background. I look forward to taking another picture in the same angle but with the trees all green when we return. We might even venture a trip to Lyon, or maybe I’ll save that for next time when we can plan a trip to Lourdes. I just want to go back to Paris!