Blake has long wanted to go stay with my husband’s brother and his family. He thinks he’d be a lot happier with them and that they would be more understanding and accepting of him. Yesterday, he finally got his wish. They were all here for the day and, as they were leaving, he asked to go home with them.
My sister-in-law, who is well aware of the issues we struggle with, consulted with me before she gave Blake an answer.
“What do you think?” she asked.
“I think maybe he needs to get what he’s been longing for. I think he needs to experience what it is really like. ”
“Is there anything special we need to be prepared for?”
“He may disappear to do some extra prayers, but other than that, he’s going to so thrilled to be with you, I think it’s going to be fine.”
“Okay,” she told Blake “go pack a bag.”
Blake was more excited than I’ve seen him in ages. He practically flew through the house to his room. I thought his heart was going to burst out of his chest.
“I can’t believe it’s finally happening!” he exclaimed. My brother-in-law was very ill for a long time and houseguests were not an easy proposition. Blake had waited long and (mostly) patiently. As my brother and sister-in-law and their four children left the house, Blake was the first one into the car.
I spent the last twenty-four hours wondering how it was going, wondering if it was as wonderful as Blake had imagined it would be. Our house seemed a little too quiet, but I was so happy to see my boy finally excited about something. This evening, I made the nearly 40 mile drive to my brother and sister-in-law’s place.
My nieces and nephews were excited to see me. They talked excitedly about their overnight with their cousin. Blake was in an upbeat mood. My sister-in-law was full of praise.
“He is such a good guest. He fits right in.”
As we left the house and pulled away in our car, Blake’s mood markedly changed. He became quiet and solemn. He didn’t want to talk. When I asked about his visit, he gave me brief answers at best. As we drove on in the night, I began to hear sniffling coming from the back seat.
“Mom, do you have a tissue?”
I pulled a tissue from my jacket pocket and handed it to him. His tears began to flow and he cried the rest of the way home. He couldn’t talk; he just cried.
As we arrived at a friend’s home for a dinner get together, he proclaimed, “It’s like having to come home after the best vacation ever – only worse.”
Blake stayed outside as I went in to join the group. I was glad he’d had such a wonderful time, but my heart was sad for him. Finally, he came inside and parked himself in front of an arcade game with some of the other kids.
When the evening ended, Blake drove home with me while Michael and my husband drove in our other car. Blake finally opened up about his time with his aunt, uncle and cousins, and he shared about how he was going to bring some more of that into our home.
While I’m glad Blake had a wonderful time, I’m sad that coming home brings so little joy to him right now. I wonder how we can make our home a place that feels better. He deserves that. We all do.