Sunday, June 01, 2008

I don't really see him much

Gary that is. He is out of his room to enjoy the amount of time he is allowed to play on electronic games, and he shows for meals. He comes right up and does a chore whenever asked. When he is with one of us he is friendly and engaging. It is easy to get him talking about his life.

But if you don't put any energy into it he will drift off to his room to read, sleep, and drain the batteries on the cell phone. I checked our usage this morning and then again a bit ago, just to see. He has put 100 minutes on the phone this afternoon. Over the weekend he has sent or received almost 80 text/pix messages.

I almost told him, when he came to the kitchen to get a piece of pizza, that I would like for him to spend some more time out of his room -- other than meals and gaming time. I didn't though. He started talking first telling me how cool it was to be able to talk to his girlfriend for the first time in eleven months, laughingly complained that his thumbs were sore from texting. He said he had been up most of the night finishing Eragon and now he is trying to get through Antwoine Fisher. And "I'm leaving most of my stuff here. I'm just going to take my whites back because I won't have enough otherwise."

He was so happy.

Kids isolating themselves can be an indicator of depression or other problems, but I think he is just having a ball. He loves being able to go to his room (his own room!) in the middle of the afternoon. He loves being able to talk to his friend, having a cell phone.

This morning he told me that he called his dad last night ("because I can!") and that his dad was really sad, he might have even been crying. "All of this," meaning the divorce and separation from his kids is "so hard on him. I think he was crying. I haven't ever heard him cry before." Gary told me that it has always been hard on his dad to not be able to live with all his kids. "Most people are really critical of him for not living with me." I told him that I wasn't, that I had a lot of sympathy for his dad. Having to choose which of your kids to live with has to be the worst decision that a parent can make.

We talked about it a little. I think that Gary knows, or at least part of him knows, that if his father can make up with Gary's stepmother he will, and he will stay there. I think Gary has even begun to allow himself to imagine that his father won't move at all. When he spoke of when he was going to move in with his father he gave me an anxious look. It was just a second, but he seemed to be wondering if I was going to tell him that that might not happen. I didn't.


  1. What a luxury privacy must be to him after the group home. It wouldn't seem like it to most of us who get it when we want it.

    Sounds like he is settling in a little.

  2. I was thinking the same thing as Bacchus. Privacy must feel wonderful to him. I remember when I lived in the dorms during college, I used to LOVE coming home for a weekend and just spending time up in my room alone. Alone time is so scarce in a dorm situation. In a residential home, I imagine that they get even less alone time. I wouldn't be surprised if, after some time, you start to see him more. I think he's reveling in the safe freedoms your home offers him.

  3. That's the saddest post I've read in a long time. The thought of one of our key rights- the right to privacy LOL- has been violated for so long for this poor kiddo, it just breaks my heart.

    My second thought was ha ha I bet he's having phone sex with the gf! All those texts and pictures, well duh...

    I hate that he's dealing with the dad thing. I wonder if its happened before? I mean, Dad promising to "fix it all" but not following through?

    BTW, where's bio-mom? You've mentioned step-mom, but I don't remember any mention of the egg contributor?

  4. WOW- I am sure it is all so new to him- and the ability to talk on the phone and text is a huge thing for teens- he is making up for some serious lost time. Hopefully that will settle. Do you have any rules about cell phone usage? You probably should. Glad to hear he is happy- and maybe thinking about the possibilty that things may not work out to live with his dad.

  5. Biomom left him and his younger sister with their father when Gary was two. He hasn't seen her often, and not at all for a couple of years.

    So far our rules for the cell phone have been to explain the plan to them and expect them not to run up the bill. We recently got unlimited text and pix, so the kids have been having a ball with that.

  6. Im reminded of a foreign exchange student we hosted. I realize this is a completely different scenario. But our students first host family didnt work out cause they literally kept trying to force him out of his room and make him socialize. We did not, we let him be and he slowly warmed up to us and became one of our close friends over the year(there was only a 3-4 yr gap in our ages). Anyway it might just be what Gary needs, the time to be himself and IM betting he slowly will come out more.

  7. Teen angst. Ahhhhhh. the memories....

    sounds like normal life to me. I remember spending days on end in my room listening to music and reading.... this was, you know, in the good ol' days before cell phones and gameboys and such.
    It's wonderful he threw out his thoughts when he did as it addressed what you were thinking without it having to be an issue.

    And I'm glad you didn't comment about the dad. Some things are better left unsaid.


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