Friday, January 25, 2008

Sleep

As I opened the door to check on Pierre as I do every morning, I heard the sound of a gentle snore coming from his bed. Kitties bounded for the open door. I couldn't help but feel a sense of relief knowing that he is finally getting some sleep. I think it's been at least a week since he's gotten any serious sleep. Many months of erratic rest patterns have left him frayed and too tired to function effectively.

I've had more time to think about what to do for him, and the more I think about it, the more it seems reasonable to ask him to try and go back to school. Of course, I have ideas about what he should take and why, but these ideas, like many before that I have needlessly imposed on him, are best left unsaid, and, for that matter, even unanticipated, since it is far more likely that he'll find his way without my self-interested guidance. I have hope that he'll actually get some measure of an education in the actual classroom, since so much of what he's learned so far has been on the streets, so to speak. It's been good for him, I guess, in the way that all experience, if it doesn't kill you, is good because it makes you stronger and wiser or both.

Of course, the danger remains that he'll want to party like most students do, but this danger will always be present for him, and by living in our house, he would be inclined to moderate that behavior in the interest of getting along with us, I hope. And, if some serious partying is called for, he can always go hang out at one of his friends' place till he sobers up enough to return home.

At this point, I think I can do the most good for him, Valery and Maddie by providing a safe, non-threatening environment that is free from the kind of expectations and resulting guilt I have imposed on him in the past. Sadly, it seems as if I'm doing no different or better than I was when he was an infant; essentially making it up as I go along.

I do have the benefit of hindsight, now, however, and if I'm paying attention, I think I can do better, or, at least, differently. In this case, I think that reduced expectations for employment will result in reduced anxiety and therefore give him the room he needs to grow. It's a gamble of sort; allowing him the freedom to plan his life without the artificial demands on his time that work will impose might just also give him the ability to see how he can contribute, not just to our household, but to society itself. And that would be the first real step towards his independence.

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