It is just over a year now that Aspen's mom skipped town to go start a new family, leaving Aspen with me and Aspen's brother with his (3rd) stepdad.
Since having his mother move away from him Ed has had 2 run-ins with the law, has moved out of his stepdad's place (because he didn't like the rules) and dropped out of football (he was player of the year on his team junior year - he's now a senior).
On the occasion when Aspen's mother and I will speak on the phone and Ed's name comes up, she is quick to point out how Ed has let her down by not returning her call or not agreeing to meet with her or cancel plans to meet at the last minute or how he is still angry at her about leaving... there's any number of things that Ed might have done that she is quite eager to bring up to anyone who will listen.
I am at the point now where I tune her out when she goes down that path. It simply amazes me that she doesn't realize that Ed has learned this lack of responsibility for himself directly from his mother's actions over the last years.
Any thinking person can put A and B together and see that if a teenager's mother moves away and shortly thereafter the teen is getting in trouble with the law, dropping out of extra curricular activities and moving out on his own with no way to support himself that the two situations are somehow connected.
Ed's mother really puts herself out there that Ed's problems are completely a result of his own bad decisions. I have never once heard her offer up something along the lines "Well, I guess I shouldn't expect any better from him, after all I was a terrible example of honesty, responsibility, fairness, reliability and trustworthiness. Perhaps if I had done a better job demonstrating these qualities to him he wouldn't be going down the same path now."
Sadly, this would be the last thing she would ever offer up. There was a point in the past when I would have called her out on this kind of thing (like when we were married), but now I just don't see the point. I could try to correct her and stop all the BS as soon as it starts but I've found it's kinda like Whak-a-Mole: As soon as you stop one line of BS two more lines of it start seeping out right afterward. And my arguing with her is going to have zero impact on getting her to see anyone else's point of view anyway so I just let her say what she has to say. Aspen is safe with me and that's all I ever wanted. Well, that and the monthly child support (which as of today is 4 months behind).
As far as Ed goes, it's a very sad situation. He is responsible for his own actions, certainly. And many of the decisions he is making are good ones (he goes to church regularly now and claims he is no longer smoking and is getting all A's in school) but many of the ones are bad (shoplifting, driving with an open bottle of alcohol, moving out of a home where he had free rent & utilities, free car and insurance - so that he doesn't have to follow basic rules like curfew).
He has distanced himself from everyone in his family. He rarely returns a phone call, doesn't show up at family gatherings when he says he will, lies about having to work so he has an excuse to not go to gatherings. His means of separation are long. He needs parental units in his life and I am willing to be one to an extent but he has to allow me in. At this point he doesn't even make a routine call to Aspen to say 'hi' let alone to me so my hands are kind of tied.
The best thing would be that his mom never left here. However, there's no do-overs on that so the best thing for Ed would be that his mom move back. I don't see that happening either, particularly now that her mother has passed. So what the future holds for Ed is uncertain. Hopefully he will get himself into a college and learn to deal honestly and respectfully with peers, especially relationships, despite what has been modeled for him up to this point.