Tuesday, March 2, 2010


How do you define normal when your children are entering the teenage years? It seems what could have one been classified as ‘normal’ behavior is no longer in existence. I think the combination of grieving his father’s death mixed with the entrance into the puberty years had to have had an effect on my oldest. Or at least it would offer some explanation as to why we seemed to go to such extremes.

As much as the psychologist was working and making strides with my son, in some areas he was starting the slow steady spin that would one day feel out of control. One area that has been a trial with this child, even when his father was here, was getting him to do his homework. I think he viewed this as a violation, an interruption to HIS time. As he graduated to higher grades, the importance of this homework grew. Not in his mind. He was not eligible to participate in any extra curricular activities which only meant he was home from school by 2:30. That was too early when I was at work until 5:30. As his grades declined, I reduced his interaction with friends, etc so he could spend that time at home on his homework. He reacted by taking back HIS time by not coming home from school. He would go find some friends to hang out with, although the only other children that were free that time of day were other children of single moms. There was a small pack of these boys. Some were good kids, others I questioned their influence on him. I would never really know where he was or what he was doing. I still don’t. Most days he would make it home shortly before I did.

I checked with the school regarding whether it could be enforced that he get on the bus to come home. They said they would try. He still never made it home. I felt as though this was larger than me. I didn’t know how to wrap my arms around it and control it. You can’t really control children. They have their own little spirits with a desire to be free. We can only teach and discipline them. The trouble is that in order to learn…. you have to want to. No discipline was too harsh – because he was free for three hours a day. It didn’t seem matter. He would give up anything – because in those three hours he was free. He was ‘winning’.

He started to keep less track of what time it was and did not always make it home before I did. He missed guitar practice repeatedly, as he was not home to go. One day I arrived home to discover he was yet again missing. I drove all over town looking for him. Nothing. I came home. I said a prayer. It was getting late – going on 8pm now. He had never stayed out this late. Six hours since school let out… what is a thirteen year old doing for six hours? I had checked the homes of the boys he hung with. They weren’t there. I told Chris that this has to be one of the benefits to not being limited by the mortal body. He should know where his child is. I asked him to find him, and send him home. He arrived home half an hour later.

It felt as though life was spiraling. How do you personally have time to worry about anything other than surviving… when your children are consuming your every thought? When the fear that what you feared the most seems to be exactly what is happening… or at least your child is opening the door for it to happen. How do you make it all stop?

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