It has been a strange evening. My wife called and said she had responded to a call from n. and taken him to a doctor. She said he was sick, and that she couldn’t get CFS to find him a bed for the night. She said he couldn’t stay where she was staying. He needed a safe place. I took him in. I have to figure out how to get through the next day.
I haven’t mentioned n. since September 10 and I haven’t mentioned any specific events since September 3. He was on the street at that point and he stayed on the street for a few more days. He was on my doorstep when I came home from dinner with my sister and her husband on Friday September 3. It was pouring rain and I drove him to the youth shelter on Mayfair. He turned up on my doorstep, drunk and sleepy on the frosty night of Saturday September 4. I called CFS and took him to their Night desk. They moved him into another so-called emergency placement in a downtown hotel.
They let him stay at the hotel for the next 5 weeks. It was close to my office and I was able to see him 2-3 times a week for coffee or a quick lunch. I took him for dinner on his birthday. I bought him rolling tobacco a few times. I told him about meeting my cousins from Holland (I haven’t mentioned that in my blog so far) and some of the family history I had learned. He was less secretive about his life. We were talking well. There was a positive development when he was interviewed for a work training program.
On the other hand, I realized he was still using the hotel as a safe base for a street life. He was still hanging out with same guys, in the same places, and getting into trouble. He was getting drunk. He said he was staying away from Crystal Meth. No comment on other substances. He wasn’t trying to get into school and had the same set of excuses.
On Friday October 8 he was found drunk and taken to Victoria Hospital Emergency for medical treatment. He broke his curfew again over the long weekend. On Tuesday October 12 his CFS worker kicked him out of the hotel placement and arranged for n. to have a bed at the Salvation Army youth shelter on Henry Avenue. N. didn’t like that very much. He has been staying on the street and getting shelter from his friends. They seem to be guys with similiar stories to n., but who either don’t steal from their own families, or whose parents are tolerant. I think the friends have been sneaking him in at night.
I have been hearing from him a little. He has been calling his mother and complaining that he has no winter clothes. She has responded by calling the social worker and trying to manage n’s care. She has called me and asked for money to buy clothes. I remind her that I have a closet full of his clothes including warm jackets that he wouldn’t take when I offered them to him a few weeks previously when the weather was better. I have told her to get n. to call me, and he has, and we have met for me to hand over some warmer clothes. He also called me to ask for help with food and tobacco.
He asked me again last week why he couldn’t come home. I said that I was going to ignore the advice of the doctor who said that n could not listen to criticism. I said that being nice had not got us anywhere. I said he could not come home because I was not going to pay for him to live a life of games, stunts, drugs, parties and pussy. I said I loved him but he should not think about coming home until he was back in school or holding down a job so that he has his own money for his own priorities and had someplace to go and something to do during the day. I said in the mean time he could always count on me for help in a real crisis.
His mother dropped him a couple of hours ago. She took some time to explain the instructions for taking the medications. N. was sitting there, complaining about a headache and about the music that Claire and I had been playing before they arrived. I wanted to get him into bed. I wanted her to stop talking and leave. I was tense because this is not a good situation. I am worried about n., and I am worried about what he will do when he isn’t as weak and vulnerable.
I uneasy whenever she talks to me about n. She says she loves him and wants to share positive things with him. She is also afraid of him and offended by his values. Her belief that she should only do positive things means that she has been constrained from confronting him on his misconduct. She has a history of lecturing and nagging him which has annoyed me because it is ineffective and dishonest. He listened resentfully and then ignored her, but she fiercely resented my interventions. She thought that my interventions were negative and she came to rationalize her discomfort with discipline as defending n. from sarcasm, anger and negative energy.
She is distressed about him, but there is secondary gain in the situation. She gets attention and support from her mother and her friends, and she is able to blame me for n’s actions, within her perception of our history and within her New Age psychology. When she said she was leaving, last year and this year, she made her reasons clear. This spring I was able to get her to share some writing that she done in some kind of journalling exercise, and it was full of suggestions that I did not love n., that I had caused hiss problems. She blamed herself for letting me buy him video games when all his friends already had them. This is the story that she tells herself and her mother and her friends.
I know my part in this story. I am angry at her dishonesty and stupidity and nearly paralyzed by the awareness that she is going to read my words and actions as another chapter in a story in which she and n. are the victims of my actions. So I wasn’t gracious to my wife. Of course that helps her to think that I am bad-tempered, unstable etc. Hopefully it will help her to understand I really don’t want to talk to her.
He is in his own bed for the first time since Jan and I kicked him out last December. He is indeed sick, and he was quite relieved to have a place to stay. I checked on him and found him sobbing, amazed that I had taken him in after the way he had treated me.
I don’t think this can go on for more than tonight, or perhaps another day. I don’t know why CFS couldn’t find a bed somewhere, and I will have to see about other accomodations tomorrow morning. He still has problems and I can’t cure them just by letting him stay here. He needs to recognize that he has responsibilities and he needs to take charges of his own life. He needs to have a different way to spend his days than watching TV and hanging out at the mall, scoring drugs and seducing 14 year old girls.
I am not naive. He has a history of faking sickness, and a history of stress related medical problems that kick in conveniently when he is looking at an unwelcome situation. When he is sick he stays in bed and people take care of him. I don’t want to ignore his real needs, but I want to get over this pattern too. He has my love, not my trust. For tonight, he is safe in his bed again.