Hey, I found a few extra minutes and decided to bring you all up to date. Sorry I don't seem to find enough time to stay in contact with all of my friends here. You all need to kick me in the ass occasionally. It seems it's the only thing that works these days.
This may be long, as I have a lot to tell you.
Anyway...Nathaniel has been with us for quite a few months now and during that time I've found out a lot about him and more about his past. I knew that he has been running wild for the past five years without any parental guidance He's had no structure in his life so he grew up running with bad people, drinking, drugs, lieing, partying and waking up with hangovers almost every day. I knew that he was running wild, but the more he has gotten to trust me, he has opened up a lot. One of the best things is that he has found a boyfriend who Nathaniel has fallen in love with. He's had a few boyfriends in the past (and even a girlfriend), but I think that this is his first true love. OMG, it is so fun and fulfilling to watch. I really like the boyfriend. His name's David. They can't seem to be apart for a minute and when David has to go to his job, Nate is beside himself. Do you all remember your first love?
David is with Nathaniel when I'm not and he takes on the role of watching over Nathaniel. So far he's gotten him to almost quit smoking, hounds him to try harder in school and worries when Nathaniel wants to go out and party.
Tonight David and Nathaniel had a fight. I didn't think too much of it as they have disagreed before, but usually went for a walk and worked things out. That's what I like about them. When they have an argument (and we all do with our mates sometime), they go and talk it out. Most teens don't do that. Oh, I should mention that David is 20 y/o and will turn 21 in a couple of months. Nathaniel turned 18 on Sept 20, so his dad's power of attorney to me is now mute. Oh, I digress. More on that later.
Back to the fight. I had been writing all day on my second book (surprise!!) and had finally quit to take my 'morning' shower at 5:00 pm. As I was dressing, I saw them return home as they ran, and I mean 'ran' past my sliding glass door to my bedroom. I wondered what was up. I finished dressing and went into my office and found the two of them there, David screaming at Nathaniel. I turned around and left to give them privacy. David stopped me and started telling me about his feelings and what Nathaniel had been doing to him...lieing. He started crying and I grabbed him and pulled him into a hug. He stayed that way until he started to calm down. You have to understand David. He's an artist and very emotional. His family life sucks, very abusive and Nathaniel is his first love, although he too had a past boyfriend. Anyway, David looked over at Nathaniel and then ran out the front door. Nathaniel went out the back door and I didn't see where he went to, but I assumed around the side of the house to be alone. A few minutes
later they both came inside and went to Nathaniel's room and closed the door. As it was close to dinner time and my David was soon to be home from manning the phones at the Center, I started to prepare dinner. It wasn't 5 minutes later when they both came out and walked into the kitchen. David said that they have never asked a mature adult (they've GOT to be kidding...me?) for advice before. First off I was floored that they were asking. At their age, I don't think I would have the courage (or the lowering of pride) to do that. David talked, and Nathaniel, being Nathaniel, mostly listened. Okay, here I go, trying to be of some help. I explained the difference in their ages and maturity levels and that each of them has to recognize and be aware of the others background. Nate has done a lot of bad things in his past, but he IS trying to change. It won't happen over night as it's a process. I tried to explain to David that each of them is an individual and has their own background to live with. Nathaniel wants to party but is trying to find ways to keep away from the drugs and alcohol. He can't try to make him in his own image. I told Nate that David is from a background where he drank a lot but now is adversely against any form of substance abuse. They need to reach a compromise, I said that they can't reach a compromise unless they discuss their differences of opinion and try to look at where the other is coming from
I don't know if I did any good, but I tried. Teens are just so hard to understand unless you look back at yourself. Oh God, I hope they weren't like me!
I felt so proud that they felt a trust in me to come to me when they reached an impasse. But then I felt a fear that my advice might be wrong. Oh well, it's done and said.
On to another thing. You all know that Nathaniel is gay and I got him enrolled in a charter arts high school. I thought that this would help him assimilate with people like him (and he wanted to make the change). It worked. He started to make friends for the first time in Las Cruces. Some of them were gay and some were straight. It was a good mix and having met them (I made sure of that), I liked all of them. But there were 3 girls at the school that kept harassing him for being gay. I didn't find out about it until he told me what they had said to him one day. The 'faggot' word was used repeatedly along with other derisive remarks about Nathaniel's dress and demeanor. I went nuts and told my David. The next day I called the principal and set an appointment to see him the following day. He knew what was coming. My David is the Executive Director of the only gay and lesbian community center in New Mexico and I'm it's Board president. He knew we had the ACLU behind us and I wasn't afraid to invoke their influence. But he had already taken action. All three girls were suspended for three days. In that time, one girl had transferred to another school. The two remaining girls were quiet for a couple of weeks, but they started in again in on Nathaniel. This time I hadn't had time to do anything. The principal talked to their parents again and another girl left the school. I'm finally starting to think that things are a lot different then when I went to school.
I have to say that I haven't been a parent with kids under my roof for a long time. But it is so inspiring to watch young minds reaching out to be independent and adult, and also to try to be responsible adults. They are struggling with what it takes to be that way, but not knowing yet how to be that way and trying to learn, but not willing yet to admit that they don't know what the hell they're doing. I was so much like that and having Nathaniel in my home has made me think a lot about how people react and why they do the way they do,
I love this kid...dearly...and want nothing for the best in his future. He's truly worth it.
The next chapter is his wanting to move out to be on his own. We've discussed it and I'm (loving him as my own) scared to death that he'll not be ready. Am I a typical parent or what?