Have you ever did anything to kick yourself in the ass? Me? Yeah, I did. I think about it almost everyday. I have always told my children that it doesn't matter what they do in life, it doesn't matter how much money they make, make sure you do something that you love doing. You will be doing it for the rest of your life. With that, my oldest took it and ran. Literally he ran as far as he could go. I have not seen him in a little over 2 years now.
Most of his high school career he was a party kid. He said that I was naive that I did't know that. I can still remember him "posing" with a beer when he was 16 or 17. This was the days of "Myspace." When I confronted him he said he was posing for the pic and they were just playing around. I believed it. After all, they were in Cory's jeep. Cory's dad was a cop. Why would I not believe it. He had always been a good, low key child. Never any trouble at all with the exception of fighting with his siblings when he was younger. Jason was a popular kid in school. Lots of friends that made our house their home. We were here for them all. Some of these kids were like my own. Some moved in and stayed here when they had hardships. I loved them like they were mine. This didn't always work to my advantage but I did it anyway. Jason made the kind of friends that are with you for life. They may all go their separate ways but they are here for each other. Small town benefits when you have a group of friends that you grow up with. If I had it to do over again I would make sure that all of my children had this. Some of them did and some of them didn't.
I can still remember when Jason's life came to a lull. He said mom, if anyone calls or comes over for me this week tell them I'm not here. Not sure what happened that week but I just remember him not wanting anything to do with a his friends and he stayed in his room all week. I believe this was his 11th grade year. Maybe it was a teacher that had an impact on him, maybe he was just worried and wanted to do good on a test. I have no idea but before that point Jason had no interest in grades whatsoever. He stayed in his room reading and from that week on his life changed. He was college focused and constantly worried about school. He had always been a book lover since he was a little boy. He would beg me to read to him over and over again. Most of the time the same books. He loved collecting books and would obsess over stacking them and taking care of them. One time he called me to come see his room. Empty, it was nothing more than a playroom really. He had stacked books all the way around his room next to the walls. He was so proud of the pattern he made stacking. I was so proud that 3 year old was so organized and loved cleaning his room. Never would I have guessed that my little one's love for books would lead him to be a journalist.
Long story short, my party going high schooler graduated high school, not without a flaw though. He lost a credit and had to walk the following year with kids that were not in his class and he barely knew. A heartbreaking thing for me to watch and something that weighed on him heavily. His principle said it was "a lesson" but no lesson learned there except that sometimes when you work hard and put your heart into something it's still not enough. My baby boy, actually my oldest, went on to college, working several jobs, at one point 3. He worked at a golf coarse, had a booth at our shop, and refinished furniture for the shop in his spare time. He went on to college and graduated from the University of South Alabama with degree in Print Journalism. In his last year of college he made a loan and studied abroad. Traveling was definitely in his future plans now. He graduated then took an internship in Jordan to work for a non- profit. The organization helped Syrian refugees. Jason loved it. He worked there until the internship was over. He came home and searched all over the US for a job. He traveled from Cali to DC. It's such a shame that our newspapers are going away and the art of writing is being lost. We must adapt though. If we need to go online it's just something that we will do. After months of looking and no callbacks, he made the decision to go back to Jordan where there were more opportunities. Broke and smart, he went and I have no idea where but "with a friend." I'm sure he couch surfed for a while but eventually landed a job with the Jordan Times. He worked with them for a while and got the opportunity to go teach English in Socatra, a remote island off the coast of Yemen. Yemen being one of the most dangerous places in the world, required a work visa. That had to be the most scared I have ever been in my life. Just waiting for his plane to land and him get far enough in that he could contact me. There is very little reception on the island. The pictures were amazing and time he spent there was priceless. He taught English to the tribal people. Beautiful memories made I'm sure but his momma still missed him. He returned to Jordan and has been traveling and writing like crazy. Freelancing and teaching English, he's living the life he loves. I have no idea when I will see him again. He messaged a few days ago and said he might come home for Christmas. I didn't tell him that his dad said he'll believe it when he sees it. After all, he said this last year and the year before. When he left he said he would be back in 6 months. I have only myself to blame. I don't know if he will ever come home again but I do know that he is doing what he loves and it's all my fault.