Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Summer 08

Evan told me last night that his uncle who lives a couple thousand miles away has invited him to spend the summer with him. He wanted to know what I thought of the idea. My bottom line was that as long as he had an escape plan in case he doesn't like it there, fine.

And he probably doesn't need an escape plan the way I think of it. He has lived in foster homes, in teen shelters, that place in Scotland, and done just fine. Still, my mind plays out various troubling scenarios. I think that living with family is the most difficult for him. His uncle may have expectations that he will spend more time with the family that Evan is prepared for. When his uncle asks, "How was your evening out last night?" and Evan's automatic defenses go flying up and he says, with just a little bit of aggression, "Why do you want to know?" Will his uncle chuckle and say, "Just expressing a interest -- it's an affection thing" or will he respond with irritation and say, "Because you live here. Why don't you want to tell me? You getting into trouble?" Will his uncle be viewing this as an opportunity to "help" Evan develop into the sort of person his uncle thinks he should be, a chance to give him some fatherly guidance that Evan is not particularly interested in? Or will his uncle view this the way Evan expects, as a chance for Evan to see a different part of the country, live rent-free, and get to know his uncle who will of course treat him like an adult?

I thought about these things, and reminded myself of how much Evan has grown up. He can take care of himself. I suggested that he talk to his uncle about his expectations and house rules. Evan assured me that his uncle understood about young people and would not have any unreasonable expectations. I did not argue hardly at all.

Anyway, Evan and I talked. He kept asking me if I thought it would be a good idea and I kept telling him that I thought it sounded fine, and suggested he be prepared for certain challenges. Then he would ask me if I thought it was a good idea. I realize now as I type this that he wanted enthusiasm. When he planned the Scotland trip he kept calling different people and wasn't satisfied until someone responded with excitement about what a wonderful opportunity this would be and how he would never regret having taken this chance to see some of the world.

All true of course, but not my style. If you ask me if something is a good idea I am going to ask you if you have thought about what you will do if you get sick, or fight with the people who are going to stay with. Yep, I'm a worrier.

But while we were having this conversation out loud, I was thinking something else entirely. "I wonder if we need to build those beds after all? I mean, if Evan isn't going to be home for the summer, then even if we get another kid Andrew wouldn't have to share a room. Of course, Evan might want to come home for a while or next Christmas break, but my plan for the "home dorm room" is awfully excessive for short vacations. But then, it might be nice to have for next Christmas. Still we wouldn't need to build them until the summer. I wonder when Evan will know for sure what he is going to do? And if he is gone then I guess it really will be best for Andrew to stay here when we go to the vacation with my father..."

I'm a multi-task worrier. Yes, I can think about the possible problems and potential solutions of multiple problems at once!

I recently advised someone else to find her "zen place." I may need to work on that myself.

1 comment:

  1. I am impressed with your ability to worry on so many levels at once. I think I mostly just worry about one thing at a time.
    "I did not argue hardly at all" Isn't interesting how as a mother you develop this sense of how much you can disagree before you just turn them off and they aren't listening anymore? An important balance to keep with teens/adult children. I don't think my kids realize how very often I just zip my lip.


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