The Shine Journal

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Degrees of Drew            


Terry McKee   


Moving back home was against Drew, my second son’s better judgment, something he really didn’t want to do but when push came to shove, he would. I like to believe it’s my maternal influence but I know deep down inside that’s just Drew.

The apron strings tighten around my heart as I launched into the conversation I’ve been dreading for two days now. I wanted to give him another chance but three strikes and you’re out. It’s been two years since he moved out to California, an attempt to live on his own since being pulverized by dueling SUVs and suffering a traumatic brain injury.

Two years, three jobs, four roommates later and several failed college courses, it was clear Drew needed more support than I could provide over the telephone from three thousand miles away. The kid has been jumped, locked out of his apartment more times than I care to recall and had personal items lost due to the absence of any short term memory. And thanks to Drew’s skyrocketing monthly overdrafts (more forgetfulness), my husband, Bruce and I enabled Bank of America to forestall the economic meltdown of the early 21st century. Enough was enough, the time had come.

“It’s time for some tough love, Mom, stick to your guns,” Brenden, my eldest encouraged. He had been pushing for Drew’s return since purchasing a home with an extra one bedroom apartment. Brotherly love or a clever ruse to help pay the mortgage, hmm?

 No matter, Brenden was right.

Giving it my best motherly shot, I began, “The way I see it Drew, you have three choices; you can come here to Florida, live with me, go back to New Jersey and live with Brenden, or stay in California on your own dime. It’s your decision. I don’t want it said that I forced you into moving back. This is you decision, not mine.”

First came disdain. “Now there’s a no-brainer!” He held one finger against his cheek as if truly considering his options. “Decisions, decisions, let me see, which one should I choose?

Next came the pregnant pause, then denial set in. His breathing grew shallow and quick, with just a hint of a whine, reminiscent of the terrible two’s. “Come on Mom; give me one more chance. Pleaseeee!”

“Sorry sweetie, but enough is enough. In the long run you’ll thank me for this. You’ll be a lot happier and you’ll have much more support.” I tried to be uplifting, but it sounded phony, so sugar coated. Similar to ‘this hurts me more than it hurts you’, Lord, how many times did I hear that as a child? My parents were back to haunt me! I didn’t want him to think of himself as a failure, but that’s exactly what I was calling him. Inside I was crumbling, like a house of cards in a strong breeze, my resolve wobbled.

“Mom, I can’t believe you’re doing this,” he moaned. “You’re actually going to cut me off if I don’t move home?”

Tough love is just that! I stayed strong. “No, Heaven forbid! I’ll give you one month’s rent more and then it’s up to you. I’d love for you to come home to Florida to live with me.”

Then Drew tried his favorite strategy -- anger. “Fat chance! I’m not going to that white trash state.”

I countered with a little levity, it never hurts, besides I’m all for honey, not vinegar. “So that means you’re going to the arm pit state, New Jersey?”

 “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. . . I’m sorry I ever told you that I lost my job. I’ll never tell you anything ever again!”

Regression is such an ugly word!

“So which is it, New Jersey or California?”

More sarcasm. “Like I have a choice!”

“Yes, you do. Did you forget them? You can go either to Florida or New Jersey or stay where you are at your own expense. Sleep on it tonight, let me know in the morning, okay pumpkin?”

The moaning and deep breathing betrayed him, acceptance was on the horizon. “I don’t need to think about it because there is nothing to think about.”

“Of course there is, this is an important decision. Take your time.”

At last, astuteness prevailed! Spoken like a true son, he said, “The only decision is whether or not I should spend your money or mine?”

Today as I anticipate Drew’s arrival, I can’t help but wonder who hoodwinked whom.


BIO:Terry McKee, recently relocated to southern Florida, is a mother of three almost grown children and is enjoying her free time. Writing is one of several passions she now gets to purse regularly, although the lovely weather sometimes makes it difficult. Writing began as an organizational outlet for Terry in the form of journaling, later it grew into a career as a journalist for various local newspapers and freelance writer, drawing on her many life experiences.

Always looking for the extraordinary in the ordinary, some of Terry’s other stories have been published in Skive Magazine, Long Story Short, Prosetoad, The Shine Journal and Moondance.

MOTIVATION: (Editor's note:This is a work of non-fiction to which many of us can relate!)

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William SwaffordRuss 

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