Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Congratulations, it's a (teenaged) boy!

Tuesday evening. No, I've not experienced the second Immaculate Conception - I've got my CASA assignment!!! I will be going to the courthouse next week to read the case file for a young man who is the eldest of five children, all of whom are in the Dependency Court system, although he is the only one of the five that his father has chosen not to try to regain custody of. Can you imagine being a young teen (14), away from home at the holidays, and knowing that you will never live at home with your brothers and sisters again? It breaks my heart, honestly. I told Sara, my supervisor, that I wanted to get out and read his case as quickly as possible because I need to get to meet him and start establishing a relationship in time to make Christmas something other than just another day on the calendar for him. He's in long-term foster care, according to Sara, which is much better than being in a group home, but it's still not what you've grown up with and learned to expect. I want to just put my arms out and hug him, tightly, until he feels loved and cared for again, but I know that I can't do that (nor would a 14 year old boy appreciate such a thing - so embarrassing!) and I won't, but I'll be thinking about it every moment we're together, I'm sure.

Now for the participatory part of our program. Those of you with 14 year old boys of your own, would you please comment and tell me what kind of activities (preferably free, definitely under $10) we can do together that wouldn't either embarrass or annoy him? I don't want to buy him things because our relationship has to be about more than the money I spend on him and I need to set that expectation from the get-go (thanks, Crystal, for reinforcing that to me), so think outside the box. Feel free to solicit input from real, live teenaged boys as long as doing so will not subject you to whining, sulking, or otherwise unpleasant behavior.

Who'd have thought I'd end up with a teenager? I asked, very specifically, at my mid-term interview, not to get teenaged boys. I guess it's true what my mom used to tell me - sometimes you don't get what you want, you get what you need.

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