The Teenager moved out last Tuesday, November 15. I've hashed and rehashed it all in my mind and know that I cannot do anything about the situation or the choices made by others. What I can do is learn from experience and look for silver linings.
I had to talk with Honey about silver linings last week. I learned that it can appear, when I focus on the positive in situations, that I am not thinking through all the ramifications, that I don't truly comprehend the downside. That's not actually the case, I just don't choose to dwell in negativity. Learn from things and move on and find the silver lining -- because there is always a silver lining. That's a motto in my life.
So what did I learn from the situation?
1) Be clear and have consistent boundaries.
2) Expect realities, like family members who won't or cannot be mature adults, teenagers who make poor decisions, and people who don't appreciate you.
3) We can love people without liking them and without wanting or needing to be around them.
4) When it comes to family, at least my family, less is more.
5) Love yourself and make decisions that are good, healthy, and right for you.
6) Prioritize your spouse.
7) You don't have to fix everything.
8) Sometimes the lesson is supposed to be hard so that it will be memorable.
9) All the love and consistency in the world won't help a person (or family) to change if that's not what they want to do.
10) You are not responsible for your family or their decisions.
What is the silver lining?
1) I feel good about giving someone a chance -- and know that it's that person's decision what to do with the opportunity given.
2) I've demonstrated love and consistency and it may be the only "tough love" The Teenager experiences.
3) Honey and I are going to take a few steps back from all family -- Honey will like the holidays better as a result and I will enjoy some piece of mind.
4) My guilt that drives me to help the family is gone.
5) Honey and the pets were very supportive -- Honey by coming home and working from home the next afternoon (having realized from an e-mail that I was probably a bit down in the dumps), the cats by forming a kitty-blanket on my lap.
6) The Teenager's bedroom is now my long-desired craft/sewing/gift-wrapping/office room.
It is, perhaps, number six that I am most excited about, since it is the most tangible change. I spent the entire weekend working on this transformation. When The Teenager moved out, he and Crazymaker just gathered most of his clothes. The rest of his room was left as-is, with them saying they'd be back on the weekend to gather the rest of his things.
That did not happen.
And since he never cleaned his room (and I am a strong believer in giving teenagers a space to call their own and have it be their responsibility -- even if messes drive me nuts), this is what it looked like:
I took several hours on Saturday to box and bag everything and move it to the garage. While I wanted him to clean up his own mess, the desire for a clean room, a workable space, was stronger.
The first thing that I did was make the old desk, my grandmother's desk, into something I'd enjoy. I'd been saving newspapers from Obama's inauguration for a collage and so the desk now became that collage.
Saturday and Sunday I worked on gathering all of my various crafting and sewing supplies scattered around the house. Without a place to call my own, a place to work, supplies just landed wherever. Not a good feeling for someone who likes organization and cleanliness. I knew that things would have to get worse before they could get better: