March 22, 2006

Home Again!

Remember a while back I told ya'll that my mom is convinced I'm selfish? Well, I was thinking about that this past weekend.

On Saturday, my baby cousin is returning from a two-year stint in Japan with the Navy. He has been away and has missed the Boy growing into such a little pistol and he is anxious to come home.

When I say "home", I should elaborate. Cuz was born into a Navy family and so has lived many different places. His mom and dad live in Virginia Beach and we, that is, the rest of the family, live here in PA.

Cuz calls my house - "home". The story isn't that complicated, Cuz got into trouble as a teenager, as teenagers are wont to do, while experimenting with a little weed and a lot of alcohol. This experimentation caused him to get sent to a school for wayward boys. In addition, it caused his father to decidedly overreact and kick his 15 year old butt out of the house.

In the year that followed, Cuz lived with friends of the less desireable sort and ended up dropping out of high school. After seeing me at Christmas, wherein I told him if he ever needed anything at all, just call, he called.

Cuz felt like he was drifting away. At 16 he hadn't a home or a loving dad. At 16 he was directionless and it scared him. I was in Virginia by the following day. My husband and I moved all of his things into our spare room. His mom signed over guardianship so that I could make legal decisions for him and he became, for lack of a better term, my foster kid.

Cuz was given three very specific rules: 1) he had to have a job; 2) he had to do his own laundry; and 3) he had to contribute a very insignificant sum of money for "rent" to teach him responsibility.

Beyond these three rules, I felt he was nearly an adult and was free to do as he otherwise wished.

Cuz was a dream. He simply was longing for structure, for any rule at all and for love. He and my husband bonded and became fast friends. We ate dinner together most nights. He got a job at Ikea and was employee of the month shortly thereafter. And we told him everyday that we loved him.

When he turned 17 I decided that he need to learn to drive. Once we mastered driving - something his dad had refused to teach him - we went to an auto auction and he bought himself a car. Funny thing was, he was afraid to drive it and so continued taking the bus to and from work. When I noticed he was starting to get bored, I began talking to him about what his plans were. We decided together that he would take his GED and that he would maybe go to college. So, he began studying for the GED. By 18 he had taken and passed the GED.

He then decided he was going to join the military. I'm convinced that his joining the navy had more to do with seeking love and respect from his father than anything else, but it was a decision I was proud he was making. He convinced the navy to allow him to join on a GED. He gave his car to his momma and he has been gone since shortly before he turned 19.

During the time he lived with us, I conceived and the Boy was born. Cuz adored the Boy. We send him videos, cards and pictures so that he can see how big the Boy has gotten. We show the Boy pictures so he never forgets Cuz. They share telephone calls and gifts.

All of this is important since he is coming home on leave this weekend. My son has already explained that he has big hugs saved up for Cuz. He is coming home to us because we gave him the love and support he needed so much.

I'm proud of what he has become. He is a good man. He has forgiven his father, even when his father hasn't asked. He will be visiting to see his mom and say hello to his dad while he is here on leave. But his heart seems to remain with us here in PA.

So, this weekend, when others are having a beer and watching tv, I will be waiting at the airport for my foster kid to come home so I can wrap my arms around him and tell him how much I missed him and love him and bask in the joy that he has become a fine young man who loves his country and the Boy more than anything else!

He once asked me how he could repay us for giving him a home when he needed it. My response has always been to be there for his family, to one day love his wife and children well and to never forget that we love him. Seeing him grow from a troubled youth to a fine young man is payment enough.

Posted by Oddybobo at March 22, 2006 02:45 PM | TrackBack

That is great news! I can't wait to hear how many hugs the little Boy gives his Cuz.

Posted by: vw bug at March 22, 2006 02:53 PM

Incredible story. It's great that you believed in him when his own father didn't. Have a great reunion!

Posted by: Sticks at March 22, 2006 03:27 PM

Oh that's wonderful! He is so lucky to have you in his life....

Posted by: Richmond at March 22, 2006 03:32 PM


And if that's selfish, well, I don't want to know how others behave...

Posted by: Ogre at March 22, 2006 03:52 PM

I hope you have a wonderful visit!

Posted by: caltechgirl at March 22, 2006 04:21 PM

What a wonderful story! Good for you!

Posted by: Jo Janoski at March 22, 2006 04:35 PM

That's really cool. It's great when you get to make a positive influence in someones life and see that change.

Posted by: Contagion at March 22, 2006 06:55 PM

How wonderful...

And I have to wonder - selfish compared to what?

Have a terrific time - tell Cuz I'm proud of him and thank him for his service.

Posted by: Teresa at March 22, 2006 08:36 PM

The boy is lucky to have someone like you to love him enough and to believe in him which made him a better person.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at March 23, 2006 01:30 PM

How completely awesome!!

Posted by: Christina at March 23, 2006 02:23 PM

Do the Democrats know that you stole one of their potential voters off the welfare rolls? :-)

Posted by: Harvey at March 23, 2006 05:39 PM

I feel lucky having heard that story at firsthand. What a special person you are, Oddy.

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