Four. That being the number of people now living in our house. This last week has been a tumultuous one, to say the least. On Wednesday morning, my oldest step-son Brandon, who has been living with us for the last 9 months, was grounded by his dad for lying and breaking curfew. This was just one more issue in a string of behavior problems we have been dealing with since he came to live with us last summer. After this latest grounding, however, Brandon decided that he was no longer interested in living here because our rules were "so unfair", and took off for school with his bag packed. Brian called his bluff, telling him that if he left, that it wouldn't be an option to come back, and Brandon left anyway.
Over the next 36 hours I burned through a full cell phone battery and who knows how many minutes on the phone with Brian, Matt - thank you for your help, AGAIN! - my mom, Brandon's girlfriend, her mom, the highschool, and believe it or not, Mary, Brandon's mother. (Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows what a monumental event talking to Mary is- prior to this summer I hadn't spoken to the woman in 6 years!). Anyway... I had 5-6 very lengthy, very civil conversations with Mary, we had a police officer in our home to help us report Brandon as a runaway, and I had to explain to my babies, who adore their brother, why he wouldn't be living with them anymore. Talk about breaking your child's heart, that sucked, and just made me more mad at Brandon for putting them through all this.
So to make an incredibly involved story short(er), Brandon officially and permanently no longer lives with us, is in communication with his mother, and will be back on a train for Hanford within the next 48 hours (with girlfriend in tow - don't get me started on that, it's a whole new blog). And while Brian and I are frustrated and disappointed that the situation didn't work out with a better resolution, we know that we did the best we could, and Brandon's choices are just that - his - and we cannot force him to be a different person than he wants to be at this point in his life.