I just wanted to let you know how things are going. Generally, they are going very well. Evan is very easily to get along with and both the boys like him. He spends at least an hour every evening (once the free minutes kick in) talking on my cell phone to friends or relatives. He has a gay cousin in New Jersey that I guess he speaks with a lot. He seriously considered dropping the political philosophy class, but in the end did not. He spoke to the counselor about worst case scenarios. He wanted to be in the class, but what if he failed -- he did not think he would, but what if? Would he not graduate? She told him that in the unlikely event that he failed he could take the first semester of US Government either at the high school or as a night class. So he is in.
He is as unreliable as any other kid about doing chores. He has to be reminded, and reminded. Of course he gets annoyed if you say, "Do it right now" but sometimes that is the only way to get it done. Of course it is better to say, "Yes, of course you can use my phone/computer...right after you finish your chores." This gets rolled eyes and a "Awh, Gawd!" But he does it.
He is making friends at school. Mostly girls who he said were made nervous by his seemingly aggressive friendliness -- until he told them that he was gay and now they are all good friends. There is a really cute boy in one class who looks at him a lot and even seemed to hang around after class one day to talk for a while. Evan is interested -- but "wouldn't it be easier if gay guys all had a spot on their foreheads that only other gay guys could see?"
He has not been putting in any hours at his internship. I suspect that they expected him to call in to get his hours, but I do not think that he did. I am sure he will say that someone there was supposed to call him. In my experience at places like that (yep, I have waited tables), they don't put a lot of energy into making certain new staff know their schedules. You don't show up; you get replaced. I am keeping my mouth shut however, and intend to keep it shut. I decided when I went into this that I was not going to fight with Evan about school and work. He has demonstrated that he is able to take care of that area of his life and so I will let him take care of it. If he is currently making a mistake it will be a good learning experience.
We started to set up a bank account but they told us that it would be best just to wait until he was 18. We still need to get his social security card changed and his state ID done. We went to the office for the state ID but the line was so long we decided to try another day. I told him that he could come down without me -- it was only 6 blocks away. We had a bit of a disagreement about whether I was being unreasonable in suggesting that 6 blocks (each way) was an easy walk.
I have told all the kids that we are rationing gas and that they should expect that they will be told that they can walk or ride bikes to see their friends who live 10 blocks or less away and that I may charge them 20 cents a mile for "recreation driving." Everyone nodded and is waiting to see if I really mean it. Of course for a while they are not asking for rides anywhere.
Just thought I would catch you up on a couple of busy days.
The first story is pretty horrible at the beginning -- but pretty fantastic at the end.
At the beginning of Evan's economics class on Wednesday one (very gay seeming) boy sat down near Evan and started telling his two friends that he heard that that gay kid Brett liked him. He felt dirty. How could Brett even think of him like that? The two friends offered assistance. They could help him teach Brett a lesson -- after all, there were three of them. They could take him.
Evan said, “You talking about Brett B.?"
"He's my ex-boyfriend."
Evan: "Anything happens to Brett...you and me have a problem."
Pretty cool, huh?
I should mention that Evan was hoping that he and Brett were going to get back together. They were getting along and talking a lot on the phone. All the energy though was coming from Evan's side. Evan got his heart broke all over again. He seems to have bounced back though.
Friday evening he spent with his teenage sister and their grandmother, aunt and cousin. Saturday he went to hang out with friends in The City. (Brett was there -- this was the occasion of the re-breaking of Evan's heart).
Sunday afternoon he spent with his baby sister. Evan was afraid that she would not remember him, but she did. She knew him immediately. She cried when he left. I told him not to let that bother him. Some kids cry every time their parents’ drop them off at daycare -- and then they stop as soon as they know the parents can't hear them. I told Evan it would be easy for him to spend as many Sunday afternoons there as he likes. Little Sister's care givers seem like really nice people. She is a nurse's aide. He recently received a settlement related to a work place injury and is on disability. The little sister is in a good, safe place.
Evan heard that his mother was bemoaning the fact that she had not heard from him at all. He was not impressed -- he has not heard from her either.
Evan had a good birthday, I think. We took him to the Vietnamese restaurant in town. I told him that it did not look like much. It is in a store front with no great effort put into decorations. The food however is very good. (If you ever go remember to order something that has a Vietnamese name next to it. If it is only in English it is a Chinese/American dish. It may be okay...but it is not their specialty.) The food is usually mild. If you want the hot chili sauce they will be glad to bring it. We had cheesecake and presents later that evening. Evan seemed pleased. He got the balloons you sent too. Thank you. They were at the front door when we got home.
Finally...the school psychologist called to say that it was time to re-test Evan in everything for special education. She said that she needed my permission. I told her that it was Evan's 18th birthday and she said great -- she would just get permission from him. Evan is worried that he may loose his qualification. We pointed out that even if he did he would not loose any services. He would still be allowed to take study skills. He is more concerned about not qualifying for accommodation in college. We will see what happens. I assume that you all want to be part of the IEP meeting, even if that is not required by the school. Would you call the school psychologist about that? Sorry I don't remember her name.
Okay...busy weekend. Perhaps I will see you at the conference tomorrow? I am not registered, but I am going to be hanging around anyway...at least for the morning.
The name on photocopy of Evan's social security card does not match the name on his birth certificate. Do you know if y'all have requested a correct one? Or do we need to do something about that?
His mom called on Saturday (Teenage Sister gave mom our number and then gave Evan a head's up). It sounds like she was trying to frame everything as a change of heart on her side -- Evan really should have his things. It turns out (confirmed in the Sunday call) that wherever her things are, they can stay there only until the end of September. We suspect that it is a storage locker and she can no longer pay the rent. If Evan will solve her problem, he can take his things out. I am concerned that his computer and iPod (the two things he really wants back) won't be there or will be damaged. He says he will walk away if that happens.
Evan's mother blames him for her incarceration and tried to guilt trip him pretty bad both nights. She particularly used his baby sister. Baby Sister should be with her mother. Evan tore the family apart... I am really glad that Evan saw Baby Sister last week. He told me that she is happier there than he has seen her -- and that she is finally talking.
Anyway, Evan said that his mother wanted him to visit. I told him that that was up to him. If he wanted to go we would get him there. If he did not want to go he did not have to and if he wanted he could tell her that no one would give him a ride. (I tell all the kids that they can use me to deal with peer pressure. Evan has always laughed and said he does not need that when we were talking about other teens. He did not laugh this time).
We talked for a little while after each phone call. Evan asked for reassurance a couple of times, "It's okay if I tell her that I don't want anything to do with her when she gets out if she is still with him, right?" (This came out of the blue -- it took me a while to figure out that he was talking about his abuser.) I kept telling him that he was in charge -- he had the right to decide what was safe and healthy for him and what was not. He should have as much contact with his mother as he wanted -- and no more than that. He said that it was so great to be an adult and have these choices.
I also told him that though he had initially turned down talk counseling, if he decided he wanted to have some short-term counseling focused on learning skills for dealing with her he could ask for that. That got a maybe.
Evan is excited about being in the photo shoot for the the agency's new brochure. We will see you at the offices tomorrow.
Evan's Story Part 1: The Beginning
Evan's Story Part 7: School