(This is the continuation of a post for yesterday . . . an update on Laddie. Click here if you want to read that post that I snuck in on a rare Tuesday before you read this)
Monday of last week: When I was looking for the cute 'BEARS TACK YOU' clip of Curly, I came across another clip. In our Yellowstone cabin, Curly has just gotten out of the bath. She's dancing around naked. The kids are chanting: NA-KED DANCE. Their chant had a nice beat and was accompanied by clapping. Strange that we haven't made it a family tradition.
I will not post the video here because people trolling for 2 year olds dancing naked aren't really my desired reader.
12 year old Lad turns on the video and announces: LOOK MOMMY'S SMILING FOR THE FIRST TIME ON THIS TRIP.
I lashed out: REALLY LAD, I WONDER WHY? I'm implying here that dealing with Lad's nonsense on the long car ride, etc. has been the reason I've been grumpy.
I already knew before running across this clip that I was short tempered with Lad when he was younger. This was not new info. Still. It killed me WATCHING it. I felt low all day. WHY? Why had I treated him like this? It was like I got stuck in a rut and couldn't get out of it.
When Coach came home, I told him about the video. I felt miserable. He wilted. He has his own guilt about being at work too much - about not giving more time to a kid who needed more attention, but he pointed out that we did the best we could.
The next day he came home with flowers for me and a mini GF Bundt cake, which was nice and tasty but I still feel like I failed my kid. There are no do-overs. Not enough GF cake to cure this feeling.
|Note: no self control - ate half the cake |
(I mean it is a MINI CAKE) before I took the photo.
Friday: Reg told me that Laddie texted him to see if he wanted to shoot hoops at a local gym.
Me: Laddie who? (Lad's real name is fairly common)
Reg: Um, my brother, Laddie.
When Lad lived here this summer he tormented Reg. Hollered unwelcome b-ball critiques at him on the driveway. Reduced Reg, who is well versed in older brother crap, to tears. Despite our pleading, Lad was unable to stop.
I wondered, what's Lad's motive? Is he going to get Reg to a court and embarrass him? I hoped not.
Sunday: Thanks to mountains of snow, Coach insisted we drive to Curly's travel b-ball game crazy early anticipating bad roads. Reg came along to shoot around at an empty court. In the car Reg asked how he should respond to Lad.
Curly's games were far away and we passed Lad's new gym. We were nervous to have Lad drive Reg anywhere, let alone in the snow. Reg sent: OMW TO CURLY'S GAMES. MOMMY AND DADDY CAN DROP ME OFF AT YOUR GYM AFTER.
Reg and Curly ran inside when we showed up grandma-style early so they could shoot around. I refused to sit in an uncomfortable bleacher while masked for an additional 30 minutes. My hair was still dripping wet from when I raced out of the shower to leave earlier than anticipated. I gave Coach the "hope you're happy because I'm thrilled to hang out in the car with wet hair for 30 minutes and read my book while I listen to you record video critiques in response to your students' crappy recorded evaluation assignments. This is fun" look.
I have special powers and my 'look' often says a lot.
Just before we were done drip drying/grumbling about students who don't follow instructions and were about to exit the car, Coach gasped:
Is that Lad's car?
It took a few minutes while Lad was bent over shuffling things around in his car before we decided it WAS him. Who else drives a Mercury? He must've texted Reg to ask where Curly was playing. We sat. Frozen.
We got out slowly. No sudden movements. Coach went over to Lad's car and said we'd pay for him to get into the game. They hugged. Then Lad walked up to me. We hugged. Long and hard. I MISSED YOU, I whispered. I MISSED YOU, TOO, he whispered back. I got choked up.
When we got inside, Lad found Reg and started chatting with him. Coach and I stood there and stared off into space. I finally turned to Coach.
Me: What just happened? Like, he hugged me. I told him I missed him. He doesn't seem angry. (I sobbed quietly for a moment, not an ugly cry because hello, we were in public).
After Curly played, Lad took Reg to his gym. We told Lad he was welcome back to the house for dinner. He said MAYBE. He came for dinner. When I went upstairs to throw the sheets in the dryer, I ransacked my closet looking for the 'I'll give this small gift to him someday' Christmas gift water bottle and stickers I'd gotten Lad. My mind: what if he leaves before I get back downstairs? I had to take a deep breath and gather myself.
|Lad's water bottle with water polo stickers.|
He loved the water bottle and stickers. We chatted during dinner like there wasn't an elephant in the room. Mini kept her nose buried in her school work before dinner refusing to come into the kitchen and say hello. I didn't blame her. I told her he was behaving. She could just say "hey, how's it going", as she told me I'M NOT A HUGGER.
After dinner, kids went off to study. Lad sat in Coach's recliner and called to us: DO YOU GUYS WANT TO TALK ABOUT STUFF?
What? Is this a dream?
We talked. We cried. We apologized for missing things when he was a kid. He tried to brush that off saying it just made him stronger.
A few things that came up: a co-worker named Craig who is 48 years old had been talking to him. His advice was always: GO HOME, YOUR FAMILY LOVES YOU. An angel on earth. Then, a piece of metal flew off a truck and hit Lad's car on the expressway a few days ago. He realized that if it had gone through his windshield, it would've killed him. *I've been praying to his guardian angel.*
He texted Craig: THAT'S IT. I'M GOING HOME.
He tried to explain that there were things he needed to learn on his own. Things he needed to figure out. He no longer wants to lie. No longer wants to worry about appearances. He wants to rebuild sibling relationships. Wants Ed to be his best friend again. I gently pointed out Lad's refusal to own his behavior. He said it's something he's working on.
We told him that we expect him to compete the neuropsych evaluation that he started over the summer. He tried to ask if we thought there was something wrong with him (clearly he doesn't), and I just said it makes sense to check things out. Plus, we already paid for the pricey MRI . . . it never hurts to take the frugal angle. We told him we'd like to be involved in the medical appointments so we can help him sort through any information.
We told him to stay the night if he wanted. He agreed. With the snow and a headlight that he still needed to fix, he'd rather stay. Ed had just gone back to school on Saturday. I texted Ed who texted back TRYING NOT TO GET MY HOPES UP, BUT THIS MADE MY DAY.
I'm no dummy. I'm certain there is a bumpy road ahead. Things to sort out. I don't expect smooth sailing, but like I told Lad, THIS WAS A HUGE STEP AND IT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN EASY.
Today, I texted people who've been praying for us. For Lad. Since you're not all in my contacts, consider this a message to you - thanks for all of the support and prayers. Much appreciated.
Coach's sister's mother-in-law, Nancy, passed away last week at 80 years old. At Nancy's funeral, I asked her to help us with Laddie.
I texted my sister in law, NANCY WORKS FAST!