Monday, August 07, 2006

Christopher's Excellent Adventure

My 10 year-old son just came home from a 3 week visit with his dad's side of the family. He flew to Ohio with Dad, and spent the first week there with him, and the second two weeks there by himself. He had a blast--until he needed to come home.

After dad flew home, my son was in the care of his 16 year old first cousin for about 3 days. Did I mention he is only 10?!? While I was completely freaked out, he was entirely comfortable. In fact, his biggest fear was that my husband and I would insist that come home for lack of adult supervision. I think he felt more grown up, trusted and independent than at any point in his life. He took a trip to the bowling alley with his cousin and his buddies, played games, had meals, etc., all without the help if a grown-up for the first time. I think it had a profound impact on him. He completely trusted his cousin to watch out for him. Whether or not we felt that trust was well placed was not the point.

But then he was ready to come home. Now. Please. Once he reached that point, there was absolutely no turning back. He enjoyed his time with his aunt and her family. His aunt always provides excellent adventure. Trips to the State Fair, amusement parks, fireworks stand, all kinds of fun things that he can't do at home. But he wanted either his house, his routine or maybe something as primal as his mom and dad. And he is still young enough to be unable to verbalize or articulate a big emotion in a completely appropriate way. Easier to act out, and throw up nonexistent obstacles than delve in, look for, find and express the truth of the matter.

[In that respect, he really isn't much different than a lot of adults. Myself included. It is sometimes much easier to latch onto something very superficial that you can attach all sorts of baggage to, rather than get down to the heart of the matter, but I digress.]

When he came home (4 or 5 days early), he was clearly happy. His whole being was bubbling over. His voice was happy, his face, everything. And Daddy was happy to have his buddy back. I was thrilled at his homecoming (I sorely missed him) and to see them both revel in each other's company. My little boy came home changed kid--a little more mature. Thoughtful. Articulate. And perhaps safe in the knowledge that we did respond to his need to come home. In his mind, that most important trust was well placed.


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