Okay, here's the thing. Since Joe dropped out of high school, I guess I've been holding that against him. Sort of unconciously. And then the whole year that he was supposed to be taking his GED, and was not doing it, I was silently fuming and grinding my teeth and speaking stiffly to him about it and so on.
And then yesterday he came home all excited because he had finished the testing and had his GED and had passed very easily, about a hundred and fifty points ahead of necessary. And my first reaction (which I DID NOT express, thank god) was "IT'S ABOUT TIME, DANG NAB IT!!"
However, as I lay in bed reading, part of my brain (the back part) was churning away and doing its thing, and suddenly brought up this: during the first two years of high school, when I was not there, and his dad was a meth addict, Joe missed two out of three days of school. His father, high, and certain that the woods in the backyard were full of DEA officers or aliens or the Chinese army, would keep Joe at home with him, requiring his company as he tramped sweatily through that little patch of trees over...and over...and over...and over. Day after day after day.
Which is why Joe was so very hard to control when I first got back together with him. He had spent all those days and weeks hating his father and hating his unreasonableness and hating the hours he was not with his friends or at school, and really, really HATING the apparent idiocy of his father insisting that some tiny flimsy bush had a soldier hiding in it. I mean, I KNEW that he was on meth and it used to infuriate ME to see him swinging a two-by-four at a stand of bamboo (bamboo for the love of god!)again and again and again.
So that is why he gave up in despair on the whole high school thing, besides the fact that he did not enjoy it, and couldn't discipline himself to sit in the classroom. He had missed so much of those first two years, that at the end of his third year he had amassed nine credits. Nine! Poor kid. And he had that in the back of his mind all the time, knowing that if he wanted to graduate, he would have to stick around for another whole year after all his classmates had graduated. And still probably do at least one stint of summer school.
Anyway, so I called Joe into my bedroom and apologized for not being nicer about his happy news, and congratulating him for finishing his testing. And that I was proud of him. He grinned a big grin, and said, "Thanks, Mom!"