Today is typically our day off. Larry has a wedding rehearsal tonight and then a wedding tomorrow and he knew he wouldn't have a full day off, so he took off Tuesday and then worked this afternoon and evening. I was home with the boys in the afternoon, and Savanna hadn't gotten home from school yet. Around 3 pm, we heard a frantic banging on the door. I was in the midst of ironing our clothes for the wedding. Jordan went to answer the door. It was one of his teenage friends, who I will not name for their own privacy.
The boy was trembling and crying frantically at the door and asked if he could use our phone. His step father had picked him up (literally) and thrown him out of the house and locked the door. It was over the fact that his mother said he could have a snack and then the step father said, "no you can't." The boy got very upset with his stepfather and then the "kicking out" incident occurred. So he ran to our house and was upset and called his father. (His father immediately called the cops on the step father.) This boy is not a thug...he's truly a very sweet compliant boy under normal circumstances. So there I sat on my couch, holding a sobbing teenage boy in my arms who was repeatedly saying, "thank you...thank you...I'm sorry...I'm sorry" as I told him it was going to be alright. When he finally stopped crying I said, "do you want a snack?" Somebody give this poor boy a snack!!! :-) He smiled through his tears but said no, he was too upset now for a snack. Soon after, I had three Pasco County sheriffs at my door. It was a good thing Dustin put the gun away.
THE GUN??!! Yes, the gun. I told you there was drama.
I told the boys, "if Timmy's (not his real name) step Dad comes to the door, lock Timmy in your room and I'll talk to his step Dad and get him to leave til' his Mom gets home from work." To which Dustin says, "no problem, Mom, I'll take care of it..." and runs to get his Dad's gun. (Yes, we do believe in the constitutional right to bear arms in this house...we see nothing wrong with having guns - unloaded - ammunition kept in a separate place - with children in the house. My kids don't know where the ammo is, incidentally. And in case you are wondering what I would use a gun for - that would be in case of an intruder or somebody trying to hurt my precious family.) But anyway...Dustin was ready to pull a gun on the step-Dad and tell him to leave. Talk about drama! But I said, "Dustin, don't be silly, put the gun away. We won't be needing it." Just as he put it away, there were the deputies at the door. Great timing.
So, they talked to Timmy for a while, talked to me, talked to his Dad on the phone. They (sherriffs) asked if he could stay at our house and I said sure. The boys were all psyched for him to stay. Dustin said, "Mom, Jordan has an extra bed in his room anyway! Timmy can just move in!" I said, "uh, no, I don't think we're talking about moving in here, just waiting til' his Mom gets home..." Actually I'd have no problem with Timmy or any other stray kids moving in here, but my husband feels differently. I've got a heart as big as all outdoors when it comes to this and there are a few times I've taken people in to live with us to help them. Each time Larry just wants to wring my neck and so I know...I'm not to do it again. But my heart wants to. Anytime a situation like this comes up, I get "that look" on my face like, "we need to help them" and I get "that look" back from him that says, "I don't want anybody else living with us. I need to walk around in my boxers and have that be perfectly okay, 24/7." Alright, I get it. But sometimes it's hard.
So a little while later, Timmy's Mom came home and he went on home with her. I guess there's probably some real drama in that house tonight. As he was leaving and going down our sidewalk I said, "bye hon, we're praying for you" and he was still crying walking home.
You know, I realize this kind of stuff is petty... "I'm getting a snack..." "No you're not..." but the truth of it is, it's hard to deal with the whole step dad and step mom issue. The whole time Timmy was on the phone with his Dad, I am saying in a conservative estimate that he said five times, "I love you Dad..." It's clear, he's hurting, he misses his father. I realize it's hard to BE a step-parent but I think sometimes people don't realize how hard it is to be a step-kid. This is why if God forbid something happened to Larry, I don't think I could ever remarry, especially if I still had kids living at home. The reason is, the kids are so often resentful of the step-parent and the thing is, they existed before they did. So I feel like in that case my kids would have to be my first priority and if somebody didn't get along with them, well, that somebody would just not be in my life. But we're talking about me and not these people, so let's get back to it...
Timmy is a hurting boy who has been at odds with his stepfather since he married his Mom in 2000, and it's not getting any better. I wish we could just take him into our home and keep him for a while and give him a respite from it and let him heal up, but as Larry reminds me, we are not an orphanage or a boarding house although I wouldn't half mind it. (Did I already say that once?)
The other night Bobby stopped by and I was cooking up a big dinner when the Visconti's were here and as usual we just set another place at the table. And he talked of how much he loves being at our house...and the issues with his Mom (she's a porn star in California who left him when he was five) and sitting there at the table I realized I'm probably the only close to normal (I don't consider myself totally normal!) woman he knows who is sort of like a mother figure to him. The Visconti's noticed how he refers to us in all conversations as Momma and Papa.
My husband won't let me take all these kids into our house beyond setting an extra plate at the table for them or having them spend a night or two, but I wish I could.
Just as an update...when I got home from the wedding rehearsal dinner tonight there was a message from Timmy's father asking me to call he and his wife. I've never met them before. They live in the next town over. I called and they got on speaker phone with me. They went on and on about how grateful they were that we were here for Timmy and what our help meant to them. His Dad said, "When Timmy called me, he was so distraught, I didn't even realize it was him!" (I knew that...like I said, the boy was VERY upset and sobbing.) Anyway, he said he felt helpless and very upset that his son was having such a problem and he could not be here. He said, "you were the mother Timmy needed today. Thank you." He and his wife went on and on about this for about 15 minutes and just poured out their thankfulness. I told them Timmy could come here anytime and always has a safe place to run to. They seemed so relieved and comforted by that. They want to stop by Sunday afternoon when they drop him off, to meet us personally. They seem like incredibly nice people and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if I invited them to church if they came. By the way, they have been trying to get full custody of Timmy, but his Mom gave the lawyers a list of 20 stipulations they have to meet first and they have been hashing it all out. Evidently she's been making life as miserable as possible for everybody.
When Timmy was pouring out his heart to his Dad today and kept saying I love you, I love you, I love you Dad... and I could hear what his father was saying to him, I wondered, "why don't you just keep him at your house?" but I knew there had to be some reason he didn't have him that just didn't make sense this afternoon. Now I know. His Mom is fighting it. His step-Mom seems to just adore him and want him to live with she and his Dad as well. Quite frankly he is a very sweet easy going child and it just doesn't make sense that he would have this rebellion his Step-Dad says he does. Larry always says he thinks in these cases, the natural mother/father should do the disciplining and directions for the mental health of all concerned. But it doesn't always work that way. Timmy's Dad says the step-Dad pretty much has a bully personality. Sounds like a job for...the Dr. Phil house!