Category The teenage years

I wrote you a blog post

J is angry…. And he has started writing.

The school trousers

There are twenty school days left until the half term holidays and then J never has to wear school uniform again. By the end of the school year, his trousers are ready for the recycling box: frayed, shiny seated, their easy-care everlasting creases just a fading memory. But it is April and these pairs of […]

This life

It was a damp afternoon in February. I had an hour ahead of me with a family therapist, as part of our ongoing though occasional interactions with CAMHS’s family support services. Kate was asking me what I thought my future held for me….

And the walls came tumbling down

Crash, bang, wallop. J is showing signs of distress. “I don’t like this, mum”. In the middle of the room we are creating a precarious pile of his worldly possessions. J is moving rapidly, wrenching posters down, yanking drawers from under his bed. He is grim. Dust swirls around us. I turn my back and […]

The stuff you don’t say

“If you were a man, Mum, I’d be exactly the same. I’d still expect you to do everything for me”. I’d thrown out a casual accusation of sexism, something about not helping with the washing up, and always expecting me to make the tea. This had provoked an angry and vehement denial. For a moment […]

The naked apes

I have to be a bit careful what I say here as my father may be reading. I wouldn’t want to embarrass him now, although he had no such scruples when my sister and I were teenagers. Our parents were naturists, and if you have never watched your parents cavort naked on a French beach […]

A sticky story

J threw back his head and laughed. I felt a small shiver of relief. “It’s just that I worry about you”, I said. “What am I supposed to think?”. Adoptive parents think differently from ‘normal’ parents about child development. It’s our territory. We know that neglect, abuse and the trauma of separation each mark our […]

But wouldn’t you rather have a baby?

“But wouldn’t you rather have a baby?”. I took a deep breath. I was on the phone to one of three local primary schools, explaining that I was in the process of being approved to adopt, and asking if I could come in and visit so that I was well prepared when the time came […]

Rugby 24, Football 1

To be fair, J’s foster carers had done their best. They loved their football, and he came to me, aged six and three quarters, bearing an England duvet cover and several well worn branded football shirts and pairs of trainers. During the fortnight we spent getting to know each other before J moved in, they’d […]

I love you. I love you. I love you.

This rather surly and uncommunicative young man is a far cry from the hyped seven year old who set out with me for three weeks in Croatia all those years ago. The eyes are the same, though his lashes and eyebrows have darkened and coarsened with puberty. Step to his side, and the streak of […]

Forever and forever

Prompted by The Boy’s Behaviour‘s touching post on the same subject, I asked my son J what the word Forever meant to him. “I don’t know what you mean Mum. I’m tired for God’s sake”. I should have stopped there, but I was tired too, and prepared to take a risk for a shortcut to […]

The great outdoors

From upstairs, I can hear my neighbour’s 12 year old son swearing: F__k you! What the f__k! Bitch! It is 11 on a warm Saturday morning, and the windows are open. Fifteen year old J is here near me in the flat, on his computer, playing Realm of the Mad God, and killing unicorns in […]

Pasta stars and orange potato

Today J is at home with a bug. He has fever, diarrhoea, and a sore head, and has spent all morning sleeping. In the old days, he would have struggled out of bed no matter what, to snuggle up in his duvet in front of the Jungle Book. But times change, and for my teenage […]