E’s glass has a hole in the bottom. As a result it will never be 1/2 full or 1/2 empty. Despite the vast amounts of love, patience and acceptance that his dad and I have poured into the cup during the past seven years, it will never be full. By now you have figured out that the glass is E. He has an empty space inside resulting from the severe abuse and neglect that he suffered at the hands of his birth mother and the multiple caregivers that succeeded her.
E has strived over the years to fill the hole with superficial things like clothing, hairdos and the latest and greatest toy or gadget. From the time that he was young, E has been obsessed with his appearance. He determines what look is appropriate by watching YouTube videos of jerking, BMX biking and skateboarding. The hip hop culture has also greatly influenced his taste. He changes clothes multiple times per day.
E has adopted very rigid rules when it comes to dress. I refuse to buy him new tennis shoes when he has two other pairs that are perfectly fine. This becomes a problem for E because he will not wear hightop tennis hoes with skinny jean. His royal blue tennis shoes can only be worn with a shirt of the same color, of which he has none. E’s clothing that he purchases with his lawn mowing money never fits correctly because he refuses to take input from me. As a result his clothing often tears. I don’t know anything. (not an issue unique to adopted children)
Unfortunately for E, he was adopted by an extremely frugal mother (Tom? Not so much. We would be in the poor house if I didn’t manage the money.) When the kids, myself or Tom need new clothing we do not automatically run to Kohls or the MOA. Our first stop is Valu Thrift. Valu Thrift carries clothing that is in great shape at great prices. We have told the kids that spending less on items like clothing allows us to be more generous in areas such as family vacations, sports and camp fees. Michael and Patrick are good with this, E says it’s “ghetto.”
E is very hard on all of his belongings which makes it more difficult to keep up with his demands. Every bike that we have purchased for him has been broken within the first week or two. We told him last year after he broke a brand new bike that we were done. We agreed to get him a used garage sale bike as an alternative. E refused to take responsibility for his bike breaking and instead maintained that it broke because we bought it at Walmart. He never passes up a chance to chastise us for being “so fuckin cheap.
Because E is currently obsessed with BMX, Tom purchased a used bike for him off of Craigslist earlier this spring. E declared it not good enough and immediately set out to improve it by replacing pieces of the bike with parts from his old broken bike. His efforts to make the bike good enough, rendered the new bike trashed. So now he has no bike. Believe me when I say that if I thought that he would be satisfied with a new bike, I would purchase one in a heartbeat just to bring me some peace. But it isn’t about the bike. It is much more difficult problem to solve.
So I will move forward by pouring out my angst through this medium. For E’s sake, I will again schedule some regular visits for him with his therapist and me and his dad will suck it up and continue to give him the love, patience and acceptance that he was deprived of in his early years.