Saturday, July 30, 2011

Still growing up

Gary is still working at the frozen yogurt place. He has been there several weeks and yesterday he was called in to talk to the manager about his performance. This is a new shop and Gary was one of the younger people hired. Because of the way he presents himself, he was hired as a team-leader or assistant-manager.

There have been two sorts of problems. One has to do with irregularities with respect to money. It could be that someone on his shift has been lifting money. It is more likely that they have been making some small mistakes in the cash register. Gary himself has been making a fairly big mistake regularly. He has been adding change or singles without taking out larger bills to replace it. So when he adds $10 in quarters the register looks as though they made $10 in sales. It also looks like someone stole $10 in quarters from the safe.

There were other things, like not leaving the store properly stocked and prepped for the morning. The store has been very clean. It is obvious that Gary has not been rushing what he believed he needed to do, but that for some reason he did not recall that he was supposed to the other work.

So Gary has been warned. He is one part defensive and one part committed to making sure he proves himself and gets a good recommendation from this place.  am very glad that the manager gave Gary the talking-to and the second chance. He has left or lost other jobs and based upon what he told me I have concluded he was let go because of job performance, but nobody seemed to tell him precisely what he was doing wrong. This is of course speculation on my part, but it is based upon him telling me about his work.

 The point is, that it occurred to me this morning how really terrible it would have been for Gary if he had been encouraged to move out last fall when he turned 18. So many foster kids do, even when they legally are not required to. (In my experience it is difficult to convince them to stay, they do not like being in care.) Gary is still not ready to take care of himself.

Oh, he sounds like he is. He talks about savings goals, criticizes friends for not having a budget and saving money, talks almost reasonably about how much he expects to need when he lives on his own. Much of the information is there, but the habits of life are not. Not all of the knowledge, of course, he has been appalled at how little money is left after taxes and gasoline. When he calculates the added cost of car insurance he wonders if he can afford to work.

He is making progress, at least a little. I do have hopes that he will be able to move out within the next six months.

He still thinks he is going to be going to community college in a month ... even though he has not actually applied or done any of that other stuff. He simply doesn't believe me when I tell him that the classes there fill up quickly. He seems to think it will work like high school. You show up the first day, register, and get your scheduled.

Anyway, I am glad he is still here. I am the adoption made him comfortable with the idea of staying longer. He needs what I am beginning to think of of stage-two adolescence. He thinks he is an adult. He is doing what he thinks he needs to do to actually become one, but he still needs the safety net of parents.

Wait, he doesn't just need to safety net, he needs us to hold up all the ropes.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Like mother...

A few days after returning from visiting my mother Andrew and I were driving in the car and he asked me how it went.

I told him that mostly I got along really well with my mother. The only thing that bugged me was the sense that I was always being evaluated. Like at lunch one day she said, "I can't decide whether I like your glasses" which seemed to me to be a very silly thing to say. I mean, if I was decided whether I wanted them then her opinion would be relevant, but now they just were my glasses. I didn't CARE if she liked them or not. And she is almost never critical, but you can tell she is working at it. Like, her friend made me this new nightgown that I cut out from Mom's fabric stash. It makes me look as round as a pumpkin. Mom looked at it, didn't say anything, and then half an hour later said, "I guess that is a cool, comfortable night gown for you to wear in the summer, isn't it?" So sometimes it gets to me, this feeling like I am being constantly evaluated ... even when the evaluations are good.

And the silence in the car was very, very loud.

I said, "I do see my faults in my mother."

And Andrew said, "I was pretty sure you would get there by yourself."

Which is precisely the sort of thing either my mother or I would say.