Saturday, April 29, 2006

Tough love

About 10 days or so ago, I learned that David was moving out of one place and in with a girl friend (as in a friend who is a girl, of course). Yesterday her lease expired, they put their things into storage and she went to her parents' house.

He called us, "I don't know where I am going to sleep tonight."


I know him well enough to notice that he did not say, "I don't have anywhere to sleep tonight." David is very, very careful about choosing his words. If he had no options other than the rescue mission or a park bench he would have said so. Not knowing where he is going to sleep means only that. He has not yet figured it out.

I also know that he has had time to see this coming.

We stayed very calm said things like, "Really? That's unsettling. How's your new job going?"

For the past year he has managed to get one friend or lover after another to support him. Hubby and I have wondered how long he would manage to do long before he grows up and takes care of himself. The answer is clear, "He will do this for as long as he can."

I am not surprised by the timing. For the past year he always had somewhere lined up before he was asked to leave. Now however he has a job. He is on the verge of the possibility of self-sufficiency. Well, a temporary bout of homelessness will surely take care of that. Being "forced" to live with his parents 25 miles away from the job is a sure way to loose the job and not be responsible (in his mind) for doing so.

Yesterday he said he wanted to drop by today. I told him he was always welcome to visit and asked him how he was going to get out here. He did not know. So I reassured him that if he could get out we would love to see him and then we would give him a ride to wherever he was going to be staying.

Hubby and I talked. Hubby thinks we should offer to let him stay a couple of days. I talked him out of it. I did agree that if David asks, and has a plan which involves staying with us for a while, I will relent.

He is unlikely to ask though. David does not ask. It is part of the pattern. He has a very strange set of internal rules. He never lies and that means being very careful not to say much. The other person gets to do all the talking and he will be very selective about what he responds to. He knows if he waits long enough you will change the question to something like, "Do you understand?" or "Do you think that is a good idea?" To these questions he can reply, "yes" without having committed himself to anything.

So as far as I can tell he never asks anyone if he can move in. He tells them he has nowhere to go and they invite him to stay with them for a while. For some reason, in his world, having been invited means he does not owe them anything. These people wanted him to stay, because they like him.

Now here's the thing about being a foster * parent. I still love this kid. I mean it when I say he is always welcome to visit. If he ever actually decides to grow up and needs something from me in order to do that, I will be there. I am ready, anytime, to help him achieve independence, self-sufficiency, adulthood.

I will not enable dependence however.

*Hey Dan, how do you cross words out? Thanks, Dan.


  1. Agreed and I wish I were a little better at putting it into practice.

  2. RE crossing words out, it's an HTML tag, "strike" and "/strike" (both bracketed in less-than and greater-than signs that I would reproduce here but they screw up the text in comments).

    It is a very handy device to say a lot with a little in certain situations, yes?

  3. I always wondered. Now let's see if I can figure out what he just said so clearly.

    Do you have any idea how long it took me to learn to insert a link in a sentence? It's still the only html I know.

  4. Granny, the simple way (for me) to do it is to use the bold button and then change the word "strong" to "strike".


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