Friday, May 25, 2012

Love on the run

Thursday morning, as he left for school, I hugged C-son good-bye and told him I loved him.  He answered, "I love you, too."  First time.  Mark that moment and cherish it.

C-son has been with us 50 days and 50 nights.  And the "Honeymoon period", so famous to social workers who spend their lives devoted to children in the foster care system, is fading behind us.

We've faced some rough patches.  They were scarier while we were living through them than to describe.  Last Thursday, C-son said he'd be home at 5, but actually came home at 8.  (He thought it was okay, because he'd tried to call home, but without leaving any messages about where he actually was).  The next day he was furious at being told he couldn't do what he wanted, and he stormed out of the house . . . for 10 minutes.  He came home and covered himself up under his bed covers.  I decided he needed company, so the dog and I got up onto the bed with him until he was ready to come back out again.  Love is not enough, but it's something.

Honestly, I'm getting nervous about this summer.  On June 9, K-daughter is taking off for Virginia for two months, so she won't be around to help out, and I've been relying on her more than I've admitted to you, even though I've admitted it many times to myself.  The very same day that K-daughter heads out, my husband leaves home.  My guy will be doing army drills for three weeks, so I'll be parenting solo.  C-son is too old for regular camps (15-years old), but too new to the home to be left alone.  Which means, I'm going to be spending a lot of my summer at home with the kids.  And if C-son is truly prone to running away, or to flights of anger, I'm in deep doo-doo.

So, can I say how happy I was to have a trouble-free weekend last Saturday and Sunday?  This is something that I used to take for granted, but now I'm watching for this like a farmer of a parched field watches for rain.  (Positive reinforcement helps; so do crossed fingers and maybe even bent knees).

This past Saturday, with my husband at the army and J-son visiting his foster mom, the other two boys and I went yard saling.  Lots of misses until we found the big hit -- a church basement sale, where I got 3 pairs of shoes, 2 glass canisters, an octagonal drinking glass, a red-metal water bottle, and a transformer, all for $2.25.   C-son spent 65¢ on some toys for himself and N-son, which they delighted in when they got home.   Why does anyone buy things in the winter, when they can yard-sale during the summer?

Speaking of summer activities, I couldn't understand their fascination with digging holes in the mulch pile
until I realized C-son had learned something from his father's war movies.  He was digging a fox-hole, from which he could mount an attack,
aided by his brother N-son in the tree house, who was wielding his "new" multicolored bow sans arrow.
We also did some chores, including fixing some garden carts -- I let each boy whack away at his own cart.

Swimming.  Dog walking.  When Prairie Home Companion rolled around, N-son was allowed a rare i-Pod experience.  C-son went bike-riding.  Freedom.

This is not at all the end of the story, I know.  I've got a damaged, volatile child in my home.  One who needs a lot of love, but who also needs someone to remind him that he's not allowed to take it out on his brothers.

Can I tell you how my heart stopped when I came home from an early morning run to find C-son's bed empty?  He was not in his bed; he was not in his brother's room; he was not anywhere I might have suspected.  I feared he'd run again -- in a different sense from my own run.  I stayed calm for the sake of N-son, who was fidgeting and flying around.  It was N-son who found him, curled up under a bunch of blankets, taking his own early-morning nap on the living room couch.  My new son, sleeping like a baby.
Like not just any baby.  Like my baby.  The healing continues.

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