He's got his "stuff" to deal with. Of course, he does. But, he is not who they thought he was.
I was also frustrated that I wouldn't be there. It was one of the few times that I wasn't able to arrange my work schedule. But, the good news was that once I was off; I would be off for the next five days.
Anyway, I was nervous. The last visit had its ups and downs. He had his walls up, his guard up, and his defenses ready. There were many lovable things about him, but it was so much work. I had a huge sense of relief when it was over, sadness that he was gone, and guilt over not being sadder. The week that followed was nothing like that.
When I called Brian to see how it was going. I was expecting to hear about a slightly sullen Patrick. But, instead, Brian said that all was well; that everything was smooth. Patrick had evidently rushed out of the car and tried to walk right into the house, but was thwarted by a locked door. When he did come in, he casually put his stuff in William’s room and started playing with Rose, the dog.
When I got off work on that first day, it was late and I was stalling a little. So I told Jennice (my official babysitter/nanny/dear friend) that I would pick up Antwan and William and just meet them at home. Turned out, Patrick was looking forward to picking them up and was planning to hide and surprise them. Weird.
We then headed to get the boys and began our surprisingly relaxing week.
While at the store, I realized something about Patrick. It should’ve been obvious before, but I lost sight of it. He’s just a kid. In the midst of talking and thinking about how teenagers act and putting up with his mood swings; I forgot that he’s also just a little boy.
I remembered it when he almost pushed the cart into an elderly man because he was looking at something else. (I still have no idea how I stopped the cart in time.) I remembered it when he melted my brand new (plastic) Christmas plate in the microwave because he put popcorn in the microwave for Lizzie and didn’t bother taking it out. I remembered it when he played and played with the nerf dart gun that we got him for Christmas. And I remembered it as I stepped over nerf shrapnel on the floor.
He's just a kid.He’s just a little boy who has never, ever, been loved completely and unconditionally by a mom or a dad. That’s messed up.
When I remembered that, combined with all the stuff that I had learned about his past, I saw him differently. And, suddenly, I had more patience. I know how to deal with energetic, unpredictable kids. I’ve got those.
Yes, this week, we saw the softer side of Patrick. He wasn't trying to fight us. He let us in. He let us get to know him a little more. And, turns out, he's pretty awesome.
He plays the clarinet, really well. He gives awesome piggy back rides, according to Lizzie. He's got a wonderful singing voice. He makes great scrambled eggs. He organizes pantries. He hugs back. He's really good at the yo-yo. He's able to teach an Emily how to play Rummy (but, sadly, not the yo-yo.) He thinks it would be fun to dress up as Two-Face!
Yeah, he's pretty awesome. :)
Anyway, back to day one! I went to bed, that night, feeling really good about things. We had a pleasant night and I over-used the word "weird."
I also went to bed feeling a little scared that it would all go down-hill in the morning. But, instead, I woke up to the smell of scrambled eggs. Waking up to breakfast is never a bad sign...
(More to come!)