This was turning into a long post in which I tried to explain what we've been through during these boys' adolescence. It's a long list of reasons I have to be angry, to be heartbroken. There's really no way to explain it all in one blog post, but more importantly, there's no way to write about it without putting it all out into public, even if it is on a small blog nobody reads, and I just can't quite bring myself to do that to them. I don't know what they'll be like in ten years, but I assume the things I write about them on the internet will still exist at that time. Suffice it to say that I know everybody talks about how trying their teenagers are, but I'm not talking about normal teenage rebellion.
What matters today is what they've decided to do going forward.
Thing One has decided to move out and live with his biological mother a state away. She continues to blame all the abuse and neglect he suffered before he was removed from her home by Illinois DCFS (47 counts of child endangerment, if I recall correctly) on an unnamed male babysitter she left the babies and toddlers with one day while she was looking for work. He doesn't have a car or insurance, doesn't have a job, and graduated from high school by the skin of his teeth. He has a few hundred dollars saved and a few boxes of stuff to take with him. There's not much we can do about this except keep making it clear to him that he can come back to us if he changes his mind or needs help (as long as he's willing to live by our house rules--no violence, no threats, no drugs, and full cooperation with medical professionals.) This means that I'm going to have to have biological mom at my house today at noon. I honestly don't know how that's going to go. It'll probably be anti-climactic, but My Bride is taking our youngest son elsewhere pretty soon anyway, just in case. She can pull up out front, load up, and go. Anything else is going to be considered trespassing and will be dealt with by some poor schmuck who's getting paid to deal with it. I don't expect violence from her, to be clear, just drama, lies and emotional manipulation. It's a personal strength she has learned to rely on over the years.
Thing Two has made a better choice, under the circumstances. He never bothered to get a driver's license or a job, but he has saved almost twice as much money as Thing One. He, too, graduated high school by narrow margins. Both boys have expressed an interest in joining the military; neither was accepted. But six months ago, Thing Two was unpredictably volcanic. He told us and his psychiatrist over and over that he would not take his medications, and he told us he would never speak to a therapist again, nor would he talk to us about anything that was bothering him. About three months ago, he relented and began visiting a great therapist, then softened a bit on his other treatment, but he still maintained that he was moving out of our house when today came; he had nowhere to go, no car, no license, no job or prospects, but he insisted over and over that he would simply leave and be homeless so that he would no longer have to follow rules or deal with his mental health. We were scared, if I'm honest.
Only a week ago, Thing Two relented again. He now plans to stay here with us and make a step-by-step plan to work toward independence. He and I will go to the DMV today so that he can get a driver's license. He's been applying for jobs, and he will sign up with a temp agency in the meantime so that he can save up some money while he lives here. While he lives here, at least, he will continue to take his prescribed medication and to see his therapist regularly. We will help him any way we can. We'll help them both in any way we can, actually, but I don't think it's been clear to Thing One that he may be putting himself outside our capacity to help, and that scares me to death. But the day had to come eventually, and I guess I knew that.
So, if you don't mind, wish us luck, or pray for us, or whatever you do when you can't do something, because there's not so much for any of us to do for Thing One for the next little while except try to be ready for whatever happens next.