Monday, October 17, 2005

Raised On Robbery

It's been a little more than a month since members of the Gomez family moved into our home and in truth it's been easier than I thought. Don't get me wrong...there are issues, but we've been able to roll with most of them and are getting help with some others.

Today Ana began college. She's taking two courses but she'll be going every day which means trips to the Park & Ride to drop her off and pick her up.

Right now I'm actually killing time until I can go pick her up. Her last lesson of the day was that the bus she planned to catch back home left before she could reach the stop...she's also getting an education in the bus schedule as are we.

Besides transportation, one other significant issue Amy and I are grappling with is figuring out our roles...primarily in Johns' life. Ana is 18, anxious to please and eager to learn. She doesn't need a lot of additional parenting - although I've promised to teach her how to drive. John is another story. Amy and I want to make certain John' knows Lee is in charge so we are trying to find and then walk a fine line in determining when we step in without overstepping the parenting boundaries. Right now we're limiting our input to matters that truly involve us - like his schedule or behavior - when it effects our schedules or behavior.

I believe 14 is the toughest age in parent/kid relationships. Not that I'm an expert by any means, but that seemed to be the age when our kids started to get a whiff of adulthood. At 14 they began to test boundaries...challenge us more. Yet they also realized they were too young to work, to drive, or to really be independent so some frustration set in and on rare occasions was let out.

I'm glad we've had some practice at this because I'm sure John will do likewise, although I don't think he'll necessarily wait until he's 14.

I think what is bothering me most is the realization that John is going to be robbed...robbed of part of his childhood. It's inevitable. I know that because it happened to me. When your life takes a dramatic turn at such a young age, you are forced to look at the world a little differently, perhaps a bit more cynically...maybe more realistically. Katrina certainly gets much of the blame but there are other factors too, but finding fault doesn't really resolve anything. The fact of the matter is John is gradually realizing that he's the lone "man" in the Gomez family trio and I don't think - despite sporadic moments of teenage bravado - that he necessarily wants that role quite yet.

So maybe that's where we'll fit parental figures. Amy and I want Lee to be John's parent...the adult he is guided by the most...but perhaps with our help, John might be allowed to stay a child a little while longer.