Saturday, September 18, 2010
My 14 year old is leaving home!
Bradley is off to Johannesburg to live with his sister. I have seen my son grow increasingly unhappy and frustrated and become a different person this year since starting High School and I have come to realise that he is not ready for this experience.
I know that part of his anger and frustration and also the personality changes has got a lot to do with teenage hormones but I am not prepared to let everything slide and just hope for the best like I did with Dael. The best does not usually happen. Robynne and I have researched home schooling for Bradley as an option and we feel it has a good chance of working out for him. If it doesn't there are schools in Johannesburg in which we can place him, which KwaZulu Natal does not have. There is an extreme lack of remedial schools in this region to handle learning problems and disabilities.
So probably at the end of next week, Bradley and I will be travelling up to Johannesburg by bus to settle him in at his sister's house and while I am up there, to arrange for an assessment to be done and final applications to be submitted. Bradley is very excited at the prospect of his changed surroundings and is eager to go. I have alerted his current school to the fact that he will be leaving at the end of this term and not returning. The original plan was to keep him on at the school until the end of the year but his extreme negativity every day at the prospect of going to school has persuaded me that to keep him there will just be a waste of time. He has failed 3 out of 4 terms and would probably not have passed the year. Rather than wasting the remainder of the year, we can get him assessed to establish his level of knowledge and get him started on the homeschool curriculum.
On many levels, I am rebelling at my youngest, my baby leaving home at such a young age but on another level I can see that it is necessary. Familiarity has bred contempt. I see flashes of the closeness and affection from before but these are quickly stifled and shoved down under an attitude of toughness and masculinity. I feel the loss of my last fledgling and this loss is shoved in my face daily by this young stranger who has invaded my son's body. He needs to be away from me to appreciate what he has here and to experience the discipline that his sister and his father will dish out to him. He needs to experience new things and be away from the stifling mother influence. He needs to grow up.
I also need peace. It is a tenuous peace between Dael and Bradley. One a frustrated 20 year old, the other a frustrated 14 year old. They are the best of friends and the worst of enemies. One demands respect, the other determined not to give it. They have reached a stalemate with each other. They need distance from each other to each find his own way. It means I must see my family separated and be separated from my children. But I have to be the grownup and facilitate these changes. I have roots where I am now. It is not an option to move to Johannesburg myself. My dad has had a fall recently and although given a clean bill of health, still constantly suffers from dizzy spells when standing up or straightening up after leaning down. I have my house, my cats that are settled here, Dael who likes to live in this area. This may not always be the case but at the moment this is how it is.
So my 14 year old leaves home and starts a new life and routine in Johannesburg. Not quite empty nest yet but getting close...