|Scott carries Emil's bags to the door for him on a recent weekend|
“Mom, I think I’d rather come back home with you.”
That’s what Emil said as I was leaving him in the entryway of his group home in town.
I’d told him that instead of phoning me every night as he's been doing, I’d like him to call on Tuesday and Thursday only (unless there is a particular reason he needs to talk to me) and that if, as he claims, he is missing me during the week, I will drive in on Wednesday to visit with him or take him out for a drive.
“Let’s give that a try,” I said, and he repeated the entire plan 45 times, as he does when there is even the slightest change in routine, before I got out the door. A delaying tactic.
He also threw in that since his ears are still plugged, maybe they’re going to stay that way for the rest of his life, and “I think I’m not really enjoying life very much,” he added.
"I'd say you're enjoying your life quite a bit," was my response. I'm not buying the might-as-well-shoot-me thing he's been giving me lately, due to his plugged ears. Which have been plugged for months, so I don't blame him; but as far as we and the doctors and specialists know, he just has to wait it out.
As with a young child, parting from a parent is easier if it’s not drawn out. What works best is if I remain in the vehicle and Scott carries Emil’s backpack and shoebag to the door for him. Tonight we didn’t have that option, as Scott was asnooze on the living room couch, watching the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie whenever his own snoring woke him for a few moments. Emil and I headed for town alone.
Finally after reassuring him 45 times that he’d heard me correctly about the new phoning schedule, and of course chatting with the other residents (they’re all in their pyjamas; one communicates mostly with sign language of a sort and loves Bonanza and always takes my hand and leads me to his room to show me that he’s got it paused on his TV; one tells me with a happy glow that she has a new boyfriend 20 years older than herself; one shows me a beaded red bracelet on her wrist and hugs the heck out of me; another asks, as always, if I’m going home and where’s my van and where’s my husband? They’re a predictable, delightful bunch and I have fun with them), I turned away from my 23-year-old son’s somewhat sad face and went out the door feeling a little bit sad, myself, that he isn’t thrilled to be there anymore. Like he was for the first year.