Monday, February 19, 2007

The Truth

In my last post I recounted a series of phone calls I had with Miss E and her foster mother, Annabelle.* I spoke again with Miss E who said that if it is not too much trouble she would like me to pick her up in the morning. She decided not to work out tomorrow morning as Annabelle was being really grumpy about it. (She didn't actually say "grumpy", but I don't remember what word she did use.)

I imagine that Annabelle did have something of an attitude when she talked to Miss E about the whole working out plan. You know, seeing as how neither of us ever believed that Miss E had any intention of working out.

I'm wondering though about this whole series of phone calls, and about the truth.

Miss E has told me a consistent story. She left out of course that she was AWOL, but everything she said could have been true. It is possible that she had always intended to come home before 10:00pm, get up at 5:30am and work out before school. It is possible that she changed her mind because Annabelle was giving her attitude.

Of course I don't believe that.

I like Miss E. I like her a lot, but I don't believe her.

I am remembering back to the first few times Carl lied to me -- at least the first times that I caught him. The very first one was when I was still just his Sunday School teacher. I forget exactly what it was, except that he made up something to avoid simply telling me that he couldn't do something.

I was so angry with him. I was angry because, from my perspective, it would have been easy to say that he wasn't going to do whatever it was that I had asked him to do. He could have just told me so. I would have also understood if he had given me an ordinary lie, if he had said that he had too much homework to do, for instance.

Instead though he had told me a big lie.

I remember that I was angry because he had made me feel sympathetic about whatever it was that was going on. It wasn't that he couldn't do some simple but inconvienent task because he had a lot to do. No, he couldn't do it because there was some horrible tragedy occuring. I had felt badly for him. I had assured him that I did not need him that much. I had worried about him.

But it was a lie.

I no longer get sucked in to their drama, or at least I don't do so so easily. Every time any of the kids tells me something I wonder how far off from the truth it is.

Like Evan coming home because he has Mono. It occurs to me that it is possible that he is fired and that he is making up the entire story about being sick as an elaborate cover. That would explain why he does not want to stay at my house and why he is not sure he can get the documentation that he needs to file a claim with his trip insurance.

Five years ago I would have wanted to know the truth. It would have been important to me. I would have felt somehow that if I was not being told the truth, I was being used. I would have wanted to know so that I could provide him with the right amount of sympathy. I would not want to be heartless nor would I have wanted to fall for a con.

I would have been the center of my own little drama.

Now I hear Miss E tell me that she won't need a ride because she is going to work out at 5:30am even though she can barely get herself out to my care at 6:45am and I just re-set my alarm clock.

Now Evan tells me he has to come home, and various scenarios run through my head. I suspect in his case that he is telling me the truth. There may be things he is not telling me, but I doubt he is lying about having mono.

But even if he were, I would not be furious like I would have been before.

See, it is not about me.

These kids are trying to figure out how to be adults.

They don't know how to protect their privacy without lying. They don't know how to establish boundaries without building walls.

They are not trying to piss me off. They are not even trying to manipulate me (well sometimes they are, but not mostly). Most of the time they are just trying to keep me out of their business so that they can make their own decisions. They are struggling to become adults.

So now, not always, but sometimes, when I suspect that they are lying to me, I feel somewhat bemused and certainly sad for them. There is so much they don't know. They are trying so hard to figure it out.

*Just as a reminder, all names in this blog are pseudonyms.

Miss E will move again

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