Yesterday, Stevie Wren commented on her site that I was a straight shooter. That's funny. I think of myself as plain spoken, so it pleases (and surprises) me when others see me as I see myself. So often that is not the case.
We've been in discussion with our daughter and her boyfriend. They are talking about coming here. This makes us nervous because Michael seems to have a problem working. Brianna's work ethic is not the greatest either. She just lost her second job since moving to Florida three months ago. Michael has lost one, and simply has not found another. Tim gave Mike a web page to look for a job in our area. I told Brianna that she's making poor choices, and that she really needed to take a good hard look at what she was doing. Outraged, she tried to tell me that Mike is a worker. Fact: Mike has moved to Florida because he had been 'set up' in a job three times in the last three years. He lived with, and off, his father all three times, and then quit those jobs to move where other relatives had 'set him up' with even better jobs, living off/with those relatives. He just came from Michigan, where he was living in a house that belonged to his mother. Now he's back down in Florida. He and Brianna had both been 'set up' in jobs. Brianna at Radio Shack where Mike's stepmother manages, and Mike's father had 'set up' a job for Mike in construction. Mike never got his construction job, and Brianna never got a Radio Shack job. They live with Mike's father and stepmother. As far as I can tell, Mike has never been self supporting in his life. Brianna is self supporting from time to time.
Brianna and I had yet another discussion yesterday. Mike has graduated from security training, so he's 'guaranteed to find work when they get to Pennsylvania', she explained. I told her that if Mike was coming to Pennsylvania looking for a security job, it would be a while. He needed to come here and take what he could get, and look for his dream job from the safety net of another job. We also reiterated that they could only stay one month and then they were on their own. This rankled Brianna. I told her that we loved her but that neither one of them appeared to be workers and we were no longer in the enabling business. She went from rankled to mad. These job losses are not her fault, not their fault. Then she had to go. She didn't know what was wrong with her phone, but there was a lot of static.
The phone rang later. A very angry sounding woman introduced herself as Mike's mother, and began to give me an earful for implying that her son was not a worker. I pointed out Mike's pattern of moving in with relatives, of being 'set up' in jobs that never worked out. That he had lived with her for months, doing odd jobs for her. In her funny little stories about Mike, she related that he could not be paid in advance if you wanted the work to be done. "Well," she sighed. "That's true." She also said that Mike had a tendency not to put a lot of effort into job hunting. But then she went on to say that this last situation was not Mike's fault. His father claimed to have them 'set up' in jobs that were nonexistant. She then began to detail Mike's father's shortcomings. Basically the theme of that conversation went something like this: 'The man was a very bad father, so being burdened with the two of them now are his just desserts.' She went on to say, "He can just be a father, because God knows, he was a pretty poor one while Mike was growing up." I listened and then pointed out that Mike was a little too old to be needing a daddy at this point. She stopped, shocked and outraged. "Listen," I said, "Don't you think for one minute, that I do not love my child. I will not, however, support them for the rest of their lives. Whether they have a future together or apart, they need to learn how to take care of themselves. We've got four other children. Three of them are grown and self supporting, the fourth headed off to college. Brianna needs to get into counselling and get herself sorted out, and start making good choices. I see Mike as the same way. We'll help, but we're not enabling. They both can get jobs here if they want them, but they need to come here with a mindset that the most important thing is to get a job as quickly as possible. I don't want to hear anything about Mike looking for a job in the security field, and simply not considering any other jobs. We are not letting them live with us for months on end. Both of them need to grow up."
At the end of my speech, Mike's mother sputtered, "But Mike said that Tim was going to set him up in a job, and that you folks had apartments..."
We had never discussed living arrangements at all, other than to say that they could only stay one month at our house. Our 'job advice' was two websites to local companies currently hiring. I explained this to her once again. It is important that they begin to set themselves up. After I hung up the phone, I realized the irony. Mike and Brianna, and all this talk of being set up. The only ones being 'set up' are Tim and I.