Times are a-changing. Young Donald is still lazy and frustrating and irritating and causing me to lose my hair and at time leaving me a quivering blob of despair. Parenting a teenage boy is never easy and even less so doing it on your own, with limited dialogue or input from another person who cares about your child as much as you do. I know that technically, at 18 Donald is now an adult but he’s my child and always will be.
I have been concerned about many things relating to Donald. His non-existent academic achievement, his attitude, his lack of motivation, the negative influence upon him by his girlfriend Daisy (sometimes known as Dippy Daisy). The last twelve months have been bringing slow and subtle changes, but changes nonetheless.
I can see that my son is slowly morphing into a more likeable human being. I even get glimpses of the man he will become. He is developing a sophisticated sense of humour and has a wicked appreciation of the absurd. He is still hard work in that it is a major effort to do him to do anything – like get out of bed for instance – but I know that he is capable of doing a lot and probably will do so later. He is observing some of the truly assinine behaviour of some of his mates and noting that it’s not a good look. Best of all, he is thinking about things.
I was all set a week ago, spurred on by disappointment and frustration, to tell Donald that I could no longer support him and his bludging lifestyle; that he needed to either start paying Board (which would entail him finding more work than is offered by his casual role) or that he would have to leave home. He got in first. When I arrived home that night, Donald told me that he had been thinking and that he might travel to Western Australia to work with his father.
Ours is not a conventional family scenario. When I decided that I wanted to have a child, even though I was still single, I asked an old friend and lover if he would assist me to do this. Although living on the other side of the country, he agreed and after flying to see me and discuss it further, left a sperm donation with a fertility clinic, the result of which was ultimately my son. There were two stipulations that I made: that financial responsibility would be all mine; and that I wanted him to acknowledge any resulting child as his. It was important to me that a child could know who his or her father was. There was agreement on both these issues.
Donald has had minimal contact over the years with his father, due the tyranny of distance and more recently, a lack of interest. I gave him the option of what to call this man, and Donald chose Dad or Father. Knowing them both, I can see a lot of similarities between them. I know that they are father and son (always a worry when using donor sperm). This man (I shall call him Duncan) has maintained a regular interest in his son (and seventh child) though has never actively sought greater involvement. The offer was always there for Donald to spend school holidays with him but it only happened twice. Donald wasn’t really interested and I didn’t push it.
Duncan works in the building trade, and has always said that he will find work for Donald if that is what he wants. Work, being a four-letter word, was not terribly appealing to Donald and he always dismissed the suggestion with a degree of horror. How could I even think such a thing. Hard, physical grunt work with long hours. Shudder.
Now suddenly, this is an option to Donald. It caught my breath a bit as it would mean that he really was leaving home, even though possibly for a short time. It would mean though taking responsibility for himself and having to honour commitments to the work environment; having to contribute and organise himself and to earn a living. It will be an opportunity for him to test himself and to learn what he is capable of. He might even develop a relationship with his father. I doubt that it will ever be a traditional father-son relationship but at least they will get to know each other better. I am pleased about this because there has been minimal male influence in my son’s life.
The other issue that I am relieved about is that Donald has finally recognised that his relationship with Daisy did not have many benefits and has ended it. He has tried to do this a few times already but never made a clean break and things got messy and then sort of resumed. He has learnt a lot during this relationship, and I think will be a little more discerning when entering into the next. I know that Daisy will be devastated, as I think that Donald is a dependable influence in her life and she has come to rely on that. I fully understand though why Donald feels that it is a relationship that has run its course.
Donald had his wisdom teeth extracted today also. I was also concerned about this as he is seriously needle phobic. The procedure was done in the chair, but with IV sedation prior to have the local anaesthetics applied to all four extraction sites. The surgeon and the anaesthetist were professional and caring in their treatment of Donald (I remained for the sedation) but I was impressed with his determination to cope with the first needle that he has submitted to in many years.