He is really settling in.
We talked to DS2 yesterday. I wanted to call him on Saturday between baseball games, but we had all agreed to Sunday's - so DH made me wait. Of course, when we got home late Saturday night I saw on caller ID that he had called us twice. Then, I worried all night until I could get ahold of him...the worry was unneccessary.
He has really settled in.
The first few weeks he sounded 'fine', but forlorn. Although he wouldn't ever say it, there was a longing for his old ways and old routines...a homesickness. Now, he's feeling very planted. He was SO excited to tell us about working on the farm. He just got to start. He feeds and cares for cattle and has one specific cow that he's responsible for - Coco. It's a messy job, but someone's gotta do it. He has also been moved up to weed whacker duty. That made me nervous. I won't even let DS1 use the weed whacker at home - I always felt it was quite dangerous. Obviously DS2 is proving to be a trust-worthy and careful young man at school. I'm so proud of him.
He's so proud of him.
That is what I could hear in his voice yesterday. Just a thorough settling of knowing that he's doing the 'right' thing. He still struggled to converse with us, but in fleeting moments would offer info that we wouldn't have gotten before. He's made friends and has a pretty normal routine with school, eating, jobs, friends, homework - it all seems to be put in order now.
Then he said "I heard it's really hot where you live". I pointed out that this is where he lives too. A person can live in two places and for us, he's always here in many ways. The parent handbook talked about this 3/4 week mark and how the kids really change their view of things - the shift is that they are in their 'home' there, and we are in our 'home' here.
It's a tough balancing act. This is working out as well as we hoped. He's happy - genuinely - and we are relaxed and regrouping. I'm constantly making plans for when he 'comes back home' - not just on vacations (although I realize I'm overbooking that time), but when he can come back home for good. Then a good friend or a good husband will point out what I already know.
I can't plan for that.
It may not happen. I shouldn't set myself up for feeling sad if he chooses to stay there. If that place is a healing force for him - if it brings him self-esteem and self-worth and peace and happiness and a feeling of being settled...then I have to let that happen for him. I can't wait for healing and then bring him home and expect his healing will hold true here as well. It just may not.
So, for now - I put target dates in my calendar. On January 20, we'll need to know what he wants to do for summer (back to school or stay home for those months?)...by March 20, we'll need to know where he'll be going for 8th grade. By tomorrow, I'll need to let my heart in on the secret.
He's settled in.