You were a mother figure to me as a teen in the early 80's during some of my most difficult times. I listened to your radio show every night as I lay in bed. I've started listening to you again now that I'm in my 40's. I did a lot of stupid things in between, the most egregious being the emasculation of both my first and now second husband who only wanted to be a strong man and take care of me and my son.
I heard one of your callers talk about her "almost" 18 year old son and I wanted to tell my story. I had bonded with my boy as most single mothers do and wanting to protect him at all cost, kept my new husband from any fatherly council regardless if it was good or bad toward him. As my son approached his teens, I kept my husband from any form of discipline and continually told him that my son, who had no regard for either of us, would turn out just fine if left to my control. Dr. Laura, at 18 my husband said enough was enough and decided to put him out. My boy had nothing but the clothes on his back and a beat up car we had given him.
As a mother, this was the most devastating thing I had ever had to walk through. I cried for days which then turned into weeks. I thought my husband was heartless, cruel and even thought about turning him into CPS. My thoughts turned again and again to divorce. I was sure what my boy needed was his mommy to rescue him; we could get a place together and all would be well. At the time, my second child, who I had with the current husband was already 7 and the thought of taking him away from his home quickly slapped the divorce thought out of my thinking. Yet I was hateful towards my husband for his actions and made him pay in every sense of the word!
Months went by, my son found a friend to move in with, quickly got a job, and even registered for college. He BEGAN TO LIVE LIFE! Surprisingly (to me anyway) he rose to the challenge. He stayed away from our home for some time yet called me every other day just to tell me he loved me and was fine. Then a strange thing began to happen. Instead of calling me, he began to call my husband on his cell phone. They began having conversations pertaining to life and challenges he was having. At first I thought, how strange. The man who seemed so cruel and heartless was now being sought after for advice on life. Hmmm....
Dr. Laura, I'm a convert! I began to ask God for a new perspective on the roll of the man in my life. Your books mysteriously began to appear in my mail box. My eyes have been opened. My "child" is now 24 years old, has a job with a reputable firm, finished college and is preparing for marriage. He has ALWAYS found a way to take care of himself and has never once come back begging for anything. Today he has a wonderful relationship with my husband. By kicking him out of our home, my husband did him the biggest favor in life. I shudder to think what would have become of him had I insisted he remain home. Yikes!
Oh and the second boy, who is now 15? We had a Coming Of Age party (much like the Jewish tradition) at the age of 13 and in front of family and friends physically and spiritually handed him over to his father's tutelage. I do NOT want to repeat the same mistake I made with my first. I know his teen years will be much easier as he has already begun to emulate his strong father. It just took me getting out of the way and allowing my man to be a man in front of the boys. I now know my place as my boys' mother and I only wish I had known it much sooner.
Thank you for your wonderful insight and I trust you will talk me to sleep 40 years from now as well.