I had an interesting evening with my youngest son the other night. Now, JT is the son that my own mother is fond of saying is "the child I deserved", and you might be surprised to know it was not a compliment! JT simply enjoyed being 'all boy'. He was my challenge, and there is a lot of me to be found in JT. He has my sense of humor and he has my heart, and I love him dearly.
Don't get me wrong - he is the root cause (pun intended) for most of my gray hairs. But I too have been the source of a migraine or two to him. I am the one that showed up at an All-Star baseball practice to 'assist' in umpiring - as RoHo, my alter-ego. I am the one that suspended his cellphone when he would not respond to my calls for four hours, only to find him asleep in his room due to a horrible migraine. I am the one that made him wait 'til morning before I picked him up from jail, only to find out from the arresting officer that JT hadn't been drinking but was only with a crowd that had been. But the most memorable was our trip to the local tire store when I spoke before thinking and embarrassed the poor guy to death.
JT simply enjoys being with family and friends and making the most of each opportunity. He is passionate about what his future holds - having a degree in Fire Science and Arson Investigation and now working toward a degree in Homeland Security. Somewhere in the past couple of years JT has grown up. Somewhere in the past couple of years JT has matured. Somewhere in the past couple of years JT has become not only my son, but my friend. The other night my friend JT became a counselor - to me, his mother.
It had been a rough couple of days. An incident occurred at work that caused me to consider if what I do matters. Someone in a position of trust compromised that trust, and left individuals we serve violated. I am not going to go into details but I was left feeling disgruntled, lost, and a bit troubled. JT was home on fall break and we were finally able to have some time alone before he headed back to school. A suspicion I been mulling was confirmed, and it made me mad. It made me ill, it made me vengeful. Individuals that place trust in me and others had that trust compromised, yet they are unaware. They keep on trusting. 'What's my role' was the question I placed on JT.
Both of my sons have been active with Habitat for Humanity; working on many houses to turn them into homes. JT reminded me of a quote by Millard Fuller, the Founder of Habitat for Humanity: “I see life as both a gift and a responsibility. My responsibility is to use what God has given me to help his people in need." I believe my responsibility is to encourage and challenge individuals to be a part of their community. I believe this is what God has asked me to do. But this evening in particular I was feeling a sense of failure, like I had let the individuals that placed their trust in me down.
I guess I was questioning if going back into social service was right; JT told me that he has seen me become the person (not just a Mom) that he knew when I was with another company. That I love what I do and that I need to remember I do it because I enjoy breaking down barriers for individuals that may not be able to, or just need a bit of guidance on how to. In just a week or so I will have been with StoneBelt one year, and I have felt satisfied and enjoyed who I've worked for - as an agency, as well as with co-workers and consumers. But, that night with JT I felt defeated. Was there something I could have/should have done to ensure that our consumers who are vulnerable are not taken advantage of? Did I fall short in my position to see that the trust consumers placed in me wasn't honorable? I am dishearten to find that people placed in a position of trust react in such an unethical manner. JT simply reminded me that 'this is what you do Mom - you advocate for the Brads and Roberts' (two individual he and Josh mentored while I was with DSI). 'You can't help it, this is what you do' he said and then 'you tried something else and you had a job - but you lost your passion and you wanted to get back to this line of work'.
When did this child mature to the individual I enjoyed being with the other night? When did this child I raised start counseling his mother? When will I understand the child I love is a young man capable of being a pillar of support for me? I needed someone to confirm that I may not always do the right thing ... but I am doing the right thing.
JT - you are one of my heroes and I love you!