Marcus is here in the house, fast asleep. Just writing those words is like a having a weight lifted from my chest. Last night my living room was full and so was my heart. When Mary FaceTimed she got to see all of us.
At the wise old age of 21, he’s made a decision about his future. Marcus came home without the GF, her baby, and her extra friend. I’m not sure where they are staying exactly. I did manage to ship a package of warm winter baby clothes to GF at a reliable address.
Now it’s just my son. He’s back in his room among a pile of suitcases, boxes, and trash bags full of clothes. I wonder what happened to the other luggage he had. Where are all of the plastic bins he previously used?
Trash bags are the currency of packing in foster care. Just seeing them full of clothes sets my teeth on edge. I can assume his luggage went the way of his electronic keyboard and Beatz headphones we got him. Marcus must have bartered or sold them to get by on the streets.
He isn’t he here to stay. He’s here to do all of his laundry and store some of his things. Then it’s off to Job Corps! Marcus starts on Tuesday at 12, for the Electrical program. Victory! He can come home for holidays and some weekends.
Job Corps is a lot like the the regular college experience except they also teach basic life skills and schedule medical appointments. This is great because our son is behind on everything. Luke and I tried to cram a lifetime’s worth of “life skills” into a boy we met when he was already 16. It didn’t exactly stick. Needless to say, he still requires guidance.
I have no idea how Marcus finally, FINALLY, came to this decision. Like most things, he’s had to make the choice on his own by learning through a multitude of mistakes. Experiences, usually bad and had on his own, are Marcus’ only teachers. If you tell him the stove-top is hot, he’ll have to reach out and burn his hand before he believes you.
I don’t know what’s really going on with GF. He told us she said “hi” but that he doesn’t care what she thinks of his decision to do this. Marcus says “no one can hold him back” from his future. I’m pretty sure this is the same kid that told us “no one could make him” decide things about his future.
I want to say, “Honey sometimes you hold yourself back.” But I don’t.
I want to say, “When did you realize you need to consider a future?”
I want to say, “Hey, by the way, how come you ripped the doors off of the closet last time you packed your stuff?”
I don’t say these things because he’ll never even be able to explain. He probably doesn’t know why. I don’t even really need to know the “why.”
Here is what I do know:
1. My son is safely home in (approximately) one piece. He’s still a bit bruised and broken from the beat-down he got on the streets.
2. In 48 hours Marcus will be living on-campus in a program teaching him skills to be a licensed electrician.
3. He had to pass a clean drug test to get into this program.
4. I will love my oldest son forever, no matter what. Someday he may actually trust me on this one. He’s certainly tested it a few times.
**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.