Apparently I’m a psychic or psychotic or both.
The kid ran away yesterday. Some shit hit the fan at school, he got in trouble making a punishment he was already facing worse, and he decided his best course of action was to flee.
“I just needed space.”
That’s all anyone has been able to get from him.
What did space cost us? Hours searching for him. Getting lies from those who are close to him. Lots of messages with his social worker including emails to his therapist and vice principals. A runaway report filed with police. And ultimately, going to bed without one of the people I care about in my house – and me not knowing where he was.
He said he would go to school. That was one thing we did hear. So, I took the day off. G took the day off. And we went to school to camp out waiting for him to show up.
The kids go to a huge school. Close to 2000 students crammed in a space meant for 800. How the stress of that doesn’t get to the staff amazes me. Yet, everyone was calm, compassionate, concerned, and supportive. I think he was hoping he would be late enough that no one would be there waiting, but he underestimated us. We were all there. Waiting.
And after pretending he didn’t see us and walking by us five times, he finally just admitted we were not going away and came into the office to see us. He oozed sad. He oozed disappointment in self. He oozed “I’m higher than a kite because I don’t want to feel.”
The vice principal did a search of his stuff after he swore there was nothing on him. And she found yet more stuff that was illegal for him to have on him. She chose not to cite him for more stuff which could have meant horrible consequences. He did get defiant at one point, but the vice principal explained the why. And G piped in with the exact Supreme Court case that gives them the right to search. Silenced by two well-read / well-informed educators.
We left him at school for the day. Then picked him up for an appointment later. Realizing he had not had any food all day (and maybe even all night the day before), I brought him a soda and cliff bar even though he said he wasn’t hungry. He ate it. Then on the way, we stopped and got him a burger and fries. He ate them.
At one point, I commented to G privately that if anything, all we are doing is showing we care about him – we will continue to take care of him. Nothing punitive will happen to him. Punitive was what he expected – what he feared – what he was used to from everything in the past.
So while we were feeding him, I messaged his case worker and asked her to cancel the runaway report.
Then we took him to his doctor where G advocated getting him a different anti-anxiety drug because the one he was one is not working – and the one G has experience with works pretty quickly. And while he did that, I scheduled a conference call with his therapist for tomorrow as we are at a lost of how to approach this one. We all feel he is a scared rabbit, and we are doing our best to help him without chasing him off. Hopefully we get some ideas tomorrow.
I’m just ready for today to be done. When I asked the social worker what happens if this happens again, she said, “oh, he was the only kid who had not runaway on my caseload – now he is part of the rest of them.”
So that was my day. I’m ready for the weekend – and sleep – and the weekend.
At least tonight I can sleep…..he is where he should be – where he needs to be – and not where he could be in harm’s way.