Last week at the end of a day of back to back meetings, after a night of broken sleep because of Jeremy’s coughing, I dashed from Box Hill to the RCH for Jeremy’s second appointment with the psychiatrist. Due there at 4 I was already half an hour late, brain dead, hungry having missed lunch, and walked zombie like into the hospital. I grabbed a snack and put my head down on a table, aching for sleep.
Some days are harder than others.
I was about to get into the lift to go to the specialist clinic when Jeremy got out of the lift, 20 minutes before his session was due to end. He had his usual “I am at war with the world” scowl that I have learned is his defence face. We sat, talked about his session and Jeremy told me that the next session would be for me with the psychiatrist, apparently I need to talk to someone. I won’t deny that it is a good idea, but an hour with my child’s mental health professional may not be the best solution to this particular problem. The message I took away from that is that Jeremy is worried and that I am obviously on edge more than normal. Message taken on board son.
Jeremy also said that he said to his psychiatrist that if he could he would start his stage two hormone therapy as soon as possible. I know my reaction was less than positive, my head went straight to the court action that would need to be taken, the latest whinging e-mail from Jeremy’s father which failed to ask a single question about Jeremy’s welfare, and that not so long ago this kid told me that he wanted to wait until after VCE. Tired momma doesn’t cope with back trackers. Jeremy just said “Mum, this is IF it was just me to consider, not in the real world”.
I am never sure if my negative reactions are a sign of normal parenting or just that I am not as resilient as I should be. I want to be open and supportive but I love a stable goal post. J Dawg just ain’t the stable goal post kind of offspring. So I worry, was this his way of opening up, now he’ll retreat back into his shell and something that he wants is now unable to be articulated. I see so many scars from a past that seemed so happy but was full of an adult’s inability to love his child like a parent should. A parent who saw his child as an extension of himself and delighted in the mirrored traits, unable to cope with the individual as a whole. A child who yearned for approval from a father who would pop in and out of our lives due to the nature of his work and learned what had to be done to get that approval, be sporty, listen to whatever daddy says, be interested in whatever new interest daddy has. It was going to end poorly at some stage. I have an ever awareness that despite my love Jeremy still has these patterns of behavior, not wanting to upset and especially not wanting to upset me because I am his stability. It is an unenviable position on occasion.
Onto Monday where we went to school for a much delayed appointment with the guidance counsellor. J and I (still sick) coughed our way through an hour long conversation of options and decisions. We came away with many ideas for Jeremy for year 11 and 12 and I made the following stand: My preference is for Jeremy to finish year 12 with an ATAR so that he can attend University.
Jeremy does not have to go to Uni but I am not doing the right thing if I don’t make every attempt to get him to a point where he can go if he chooses to.
Jeremy disclosed that he doesn’t want to be a psychologist any more. He talked about doing hospitality so he could get a job. I keep having the idea floated that he could do a baking apprenticeship. As an adult he has no idea how disparate these ideas are and how he shows no real inclination, no vocation for any of this. My point remained that as a responsible parent I have to be open to all ideas and options. If Jeremy spent all his time in the kitchen experimenting with dishes, showing interest in baking cupcakes or developing curries, I would support his idea of finishing via VCAL. Jeremy can cook resentment into his pasta sauce, this is not his passion or his talent. We discussed though that it is still open to Jeremy through the VCE program to do a certificate in hospitality if he chooses. He can be the best qualified dish pig working his way through Uni as he realises that he has the talent to do what ever he damn well chooses.
Having looked at the Victorian College of the Arts and RMIT I think we have consensus that the VCE program at RMIT may be the solution that we are looking for – an older demographic of student in a Uni atmosphere should be the non judgmental environment that will give Jeremy some relief from the “douche” factor he is facing at “normal” school. With school holidays around the corner Jeremy is going to check it out. I nurse a little sorrow that he will probably not have a formal but hey, he has so many other rights of passage in his own social group that I shouldn’t sweat the lack of renting a tux and a stretch Hummer. In the long term the real goal is to have all the tools to be able to follow any dream that he chooses, when he is old enough to define his dream. Because this kid shows all the signs of being able to be at the top of whatever field he does finally settle on – the looks, talent and personality are a winning combination.
The ever shifting sands of Jeremy, maybe he could be a soap opera writer?