As I lay there in Jake’s bed, stroking his hair as he sobbed into my chest, I asked him, “It’s hard, huh?” Stupid question, I realize, but I was trying to reach out. The way he inhaled and let out a “yeah” with his exhalation broke my heart.
Jake’s going through a couple of transitions at once. He’s fifteen, and recognizes that he’s on the doorstep to adulthood. He no longer wants to be thought of as a baby, or someone who needs help. I think this is very typical of kids his age. The problem is that he DOES need help. His long time BHP (behavioral health professional) has moved on, and we’re working on introducing another. I won’t mention names at this point, but she’s doing an admirable job. To Jake, it’s a job that no longer needs doing.
Jake has maintained for the last year or so that he doesn’t need or want a BHP. This person’s job is to help him navigate the world, facilitate interpersonal communication, and help him be safe in complex situations. It’s a service he can definitely still benefit from.
Last night he and his BHP stayed behind as Beth and I went to Lee to watch the younger two play their soccer games. He had his list of chores (tidy the porch, walk the dogs, etc.) and he and she were going to make dinner. Frozen pizzas – nothing complex. To hear it told, he did a wonderful job. But everyone knows how things change when Mom gets home.
He kind of lost it. Jake started saying, very out loud, that he didn’t need the BHP, didn’t want the BHP, and that she was wrong. Her biggest crime is that she’s different.
Our plan to placate him is to come up with a list of definitive goals for him to achieve before he can completely wash his hands of the BHP lifestyle. He has made such progress, and truly is on the verge of being able to do without an adult tag-a-long cramping his style.
Last night he went on and on about how he just wanted to work on his goals, and to be left alone if we wanted to go watch soccer, and how he is a big boy now and doesn’t need a BHP. He didn’t want to hear that working with his BHP was the same as working on his goals. To add insult to his insults, he’s even getting the lady’s name wrong. I hope she understands. Worst, he went on his tirade before the lady had left, and was complaining to his mom in front of her.
I left Beth to finalize the day with Mrs. BHP and I took Jake upstairs. He didn’t want a bath to calm down. I brought him right into his room and we both lay on his bed. I took his glasses off and he snuggled up under my armpit with his head on my chest, crying and snotting. He even put his legs across mine. We stayed like that for a long time, me stroking his hair and him trying to stop crying.
Beth eventually came in as he was calming down, and got the subject changed. She’s good at that.
There’s just something in the way he said “yeah” when I asked him if this was hard. I’m not even sure what I meant, and I’m not entirely sure what his answer meant either.
Is fifteen hard? Sure it is.
Is losing your BHP after a long time hard? Yep.
Is learning to get a long with a stranger hard? Undoubtedly.
Is being a high school sophomore and still needing someone to walk to the store with you hard? I imagine so.
Is just being Jake hard? Yeah. It can be.