Saturday, September 06, 2008

Update on Gary

Gary asked for, and got, an advance on his allowance so he could buy what I think is an extravagant present for his girlfriend. He now will not have any money until November, which also means that he will not be able to take the martial arts class he wanted, since his social worker and I agreed that he needed to put down a "deposit" on the first month. His social worker suggested we just make him pay for half of it, but I argued that he really couldn't afford that, although I did think that he should have to put some money up for it since he dropped out of football. On one hand, I am not one of those parents who insists that kids always continue with activities they sign up for, on the other hand, I don't want to send the message that we and or the agency will keep tossing out money as he follows whim after whim.

I also previously bought him one large, expensive protein powder thing. He has gone through it quickly and he agreed, without protest, that he will have to buy more on his own.

Oh, and he tells me that he doesn't really need money.

And I am inclined to believe that. If he has it, he has plenty that he wants to spend it on, but he can easily decide that he just doesn't need anything.

He turns sixteen in just a few weeks though and does plan on looking for a job then. Sometimes he seems very seriously about wanting to get a job. Other times he will tell me how important it is to him that he have time for everything else he wants to do, and that he can only get a job if it will fit around everything else.

I get it. He hasn't been able to be a kid for a very long time. He is enjoying the freedom. So he may look for a job and it may work out fine. Or he may just be a kid with no money.

Given the amount number of times he will be one the bus now that school starts, buying him a bus pass is not economical. Fortunately he is a trustworthy kid. I have a small container into which I am putting change, mostly quarters, from which he is allowed to take bus money.

He still has not been able to see his dad, and he doesn't seem to get to talk to him much. He will tell me that he is used to this, isn't disappointed, and has no expectations. Then a few days later he will ask if his social worker has heard from his dad yet -- clearly trying to keep his hopes under control. It's sad. Before his dad spent his working days far away from the family. Gary could count on his dad being awake and alone at 9:00pm. He called him every other night and they chatted for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Now his dad comes home to the wife and kids and it is almost impossible for him to find a time to call when his dad can talk. He also suspects his step-mother of deleting his messages. I don't know if that is true, but it is easier to believe that than to think that maybe his dad hears them and doesn't respond.

I really don't think his dad is a bad person, flawed, but not bad.

I wonder if it is in some ways difficult for him to hear Gary being happy without him. I mean, I understand complex emotions. Of course he wants Gary to be happy, but he doesn't feel needed the way he did when Gary was in the group home and lonely. I think that Gary's relatively happiness makes visiting Gary less imperative and more uncomfortable. I hope he understands that even if Gary is mostly happy here, he does still miss his father very much. Gary needs his dad in his life.

In any case, Gary is doing mostly pretty well. He seems to be taking responsibility for keeping himself organized. He has a schedule for doing homework, going to the Y, seeing the girlfriend, and cleaning his room.

I tell you, it's a tough life I've got here right now.

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