A friend who works in the system advised me that maybe Mel’s story should wait until after he goes to court, just so he doesn’t accidentally incriminate himself with his honesty. So, because it makes perfect sense, we are going to wait until after July 25th to post Mel’s blog from his perspective.
Today I had to take him to an alcohol and drug assessment that was required by the court. He failed the drug test they gave him for THC, which we knew was going to happen, because he was smoking with the kid he got in trouble with the day they got in trouble and that was only a week ago. So they decided that the best course of action is going to be an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for alcohol and drug abusers. I want to be supportive because that’s what I’ve always done as a mom, but honestly, I kind of feel like, I didn’t buy the gun. Yes, I was oblivious to him buying it but not due to lack of paying attention, mostly due to him keeping it a secret and now, I’m being punished by having to take him 20 miles away for three hours a day four days a week for four to six weeks. I want to look on the bright side. I really do. I want to believe that some sort of “counseling’ is going to help him get to the root of his “problems.” But honestly, right now, I feel more like, what in the actual fuck?! I’m irritated. I’m concerned that putting him in a room with twelve other kids who have issues WAY bigger than his recreation marijuana use (that wouldn’t be a problem if we lived in another state where it is not demonized) is not necessarily a brilliant idea. I’ve worked with troubled youth. Not that Mel is troubled. And he’s not even weak minded and easily swayed (usually), but from past experience, I do know that you take five kids who all have one vice or one bad behavior and you end up with five kids who have five viced and/or bad behaviors after they get to know each other and share their shenanigans. I would not have been opposed to one on one therapy, but that was not an option. They told me that I could get a second opinion, but it wouldn’t have mattered because they already had the releases signed to send their recommendation to court, which means that we could wait for court and they will force him to do it anyway or I could just say fuck it and sit in my car or find something to do in west Knoxville for twelve hours a week. So he starts Monday. By time he goes to court, he will be on his fourth week of IOP. I’m going to try to be positive and think that something in one of those three hour sessions will resonate with him, but it’s not like he’s in denial or anything. He knows what he did was stupid. And, I, as a parent know that his stupidity has nothing to do with my parenting, although the court and this “program” would probably have me to believe differently. I guess it is my fault in that I have chosen to live in a neighborhood where having a gun is “no big deal” to kids who are growing up losing friends to gun violence every day. I guess it’s my fault because, economically, I can actually afford to live where I live and don’t usually have to worry about how to pay my reasonable rent because housing prices are lower here because it is a less than desirable area. I guess it is my fault in the sense that I haven’t banned my son from watching television or music videos and playing video games where guns and marijuana is glorified and is a “status symbol.” I guess I am to blame for not physically beating into him that violence is not the answer even if it is self defense. Other than that, I will not take responsibility for his stupid decision. I will support him and love him and, yes, I will remind him what he did was fucking stupid and he is lucky to be alive considering what he looks like and where he was. I will let him know that it’s never OK to have a gun in his possession until he’s eighteen and can legally have it. We’ve had the same talk about tattoos. Yeah, he wants one or two-hundred of those too. Why? Because it’s “cool” and there are twenty seven tattoo shows on television and his brother is a tattoo artist. I don’t blame him for his logic. I don’t blame him for thinking that he needed a gun in a neighborhood where everybody has a gun. I don’t blame him for feeling unsafe in front of his own house. I don’t blame him for wanting to be a man and protect his mom from pissed off ex boyfriends who break out her car window. I don’t blame him for trying to find his way in this confusing world. And I don’t blame myself either. We are all just trying to navigate this place and, sadly, sometimes our compasses break and we need to get back on track. That’s what I’m hoping this experience will do for him. I hope it gets him back on track. Mostly, I hope he doesn’t become a statistic of a broken system that, now that he is in it, will always have their claws in him.