It is just a smidgen after eight o’clock and once again I find myself sitting with my coffee next to the Christmas tree hoping to absorb some of its magic before getting on with my day. I did a bunch of my “Hausherr” tasks before getting to this point, getting the coffee underway (I had set it up last night as I usually do), feeding the dog, having her get the newspaper, straightening up a few things here and there.
Ali has been surprising me of late in that she has been eating without needing to have us with her as much and even without the television being on. As I sit here, I am listening to the crunch of her food as she eats, crunching probably not that much unlike my crunching on food which Mary Kay points out every so often, after having knocked over her bowl. Ali has strange eating habits, eating habits probably not unlike many of her canine peers, but they are different. We have always had a strange problem with her knocking the bowl over and then trying to take her food and hiding it. The hiding portion we get, it is an ancestral trait to take the food gleaned from the hunt and make sure that the leftovers are nicely hidden for later, but she also needs to physically change the position of the food by knocking it out of the bowl. We have done all sorts of experiments with this; have changed bowls and thanks to MK’s grand niece Abby who said, “Why don’t you raise the height of the bowl for her by putting it on this stool?” I thought it was a silly effort but went along with it and lo and behold, Abby was certainly right. Ali, for a very long time, was content to just eat out of the raised bowl. That however changed in the not so distant past and we are back to normal, whatever normal is.
Communications from California and from Michael keep reminding us of all of the interesting tasks and decisions we are going to have once he is out of rehab. He sounded great yesterday, somewhat bored, and even decided to do some exercise. He would have started sooner, exercise is an addiction he once again wants to pursue, but the room provided at the clinic was not being used all that much nor was it being touted as a good thing. The reason being is that I am surmising that they are not able to “police” it as much as they should given their current level of staffing and apparently drug deals might well have a tendency to occur there. Very sad! He also had mentioned to us that the two week program is soon morphing into detox only, there not being appropriate funding for the current situation. That doesn’t surprise anyone, given the state of the recession. It makes one wonder where the victims of addiction are going to get the care they need, but that is another question altogether.
From California, we hear of this issue and that issue regarding Michael’s employment and we are trying to get a hold of his important papers regarding all sorts of issues. We are in touch and hearing from all sorts of people, friends, acquaintances of how we can ameliorate the situation and move on. At this point, we need to have Michael home and then figure out where we are going. For now it is all conjecture and we have some ideas that need to be formalized. One question is how to get Michael’s possessions back here, UPS? U Haul? We shall see. At this point, we don’t even know what the actual amount of his post divorce possessions happens to be. It helps not having a “formal” job at the present time since I shall have time to be around and do things others cannot take the time for.
I am wondering as well about what the ramifications are for us with an individual in the house again living with us. Last year saw us with our fourth son, Charlie, living with us for a while. I had thought, upon his departure, that we were done with that. Foolish thought! A parent is never done, that is one thing we have learned.
I have decided, however, that I have always been a very tolerant dad when it comes to all sorts of things in the household. Although I have always wanted to make everyone hold my standards, I am smart enough to know that frankly, they are a bit higher than they should be for most everyone, so I relax my desire to hold everything to that line. Usually a bedroom used by a son was relatively off limits to my control and I never had reason to change that, now I feel as though the towels must be hanging in the bathroom at all times and that I should never have to “wade through” anything in his future room. I worry about the “parameters” of his lifestyle once home and wonder how involved we need to be. There is no room for tolerance of any type of situation where Michael would place himself in a compromising moment with friends given his need to abstain from any addictive item for the immediate future, yet I wonder what our role needs to be here.
Not that I want to be monetary, but the return of Michael to the fold is going to involve cash outlay and already has. That is another issue as well as we head off to “normalization.”
I also have no intention to be involved in any sort of enabling whatsoever. I understand that a certain amount will occur just because of not always knowing all the details. We love our son, but we are not going to do anything that reeks of allowing inappropriateness because of our relationship or because we cannot say “no.” Saying no as parents was something that we did, much more so than many of our North Shore parental peers. I remember MK telling me that one mother, upon hearing of our decision to not allow a son to travel north after a prom to a post prom bash near Lake Geneva, say that she was a “spoilsport.” We did that often, making us somewhat unpopular with other parents and we never cared. I also remember that we said to our boys regarding unpopular decisions we made regarding things they could do to just “blame the silly old fogey parents.” I remember their reply that they were okay with it and just wouldn’t do that.
There are lots of things to think about for all of us. Today is a visiting day at the clinic and there actually is time in the early evening for a family member or two to visit. I don’t yet know who is going although I don’t think we are, I believe a brother is going; the day shall play that one out.
I want to get on with it, I am naturally impatient by nature, yet we have to allow things to run their course. We all have to hang in there. Meanwhile, goal number one is health. There IS no replacement for that.