Ethan has joined the track team, thank goodness. He is a very quiet, absentminded, introverted child. He is also smart and makes good grades. However, if we would allow him to, he would play the game system nonstop. I know that this is his means of escape, a time when he does not have to think about anything. It is his way of putting his mind on cruise control. All he has to do is sit back and enjoy the ride without feeling a thing. He is hollow inside and this worries me. He also lacks imagination. He is such a literal child. While he seems mellow on the outside, I think a quiet storm is brewing inside. Ethan holds a lot of things close, like me. He pretends to be okay with Eliza being in prison. But I know he really isn’t. I also worry because we have spent a lot of time and energy dealing with Evan and his problems. Our whole world revolved around Evan’s neediness.
But now that Evan is in residential treatment we have been allowed the opportunity to focus more on Ethan. We are attempting to draw him out of his shell. Things with us have been pretty awkward, partly due to Eliza’s once obvious hatred of my husband and me. I think he realized that his father will always be his father, but since I have no blood ties, I am simply his father’s wife. In other words, he doesn’t have to get along with me. Ethan being her oldest child was well schooled on my perceived evilness. I’m sure he never thought that he would ever have to live with his wicked stepmother.
In the beginning he was very antisocial borderlining rude. He would not say good morning, good night, hello, good-bye or thank you. Even if he bumped into me he would not say excuse me. On my birthday he declined comment. He would often tell Evan and his other brother how mean I was. He did not like having rules and thought at age twelve he was old enough to make his own.
For months I was miserable in my own home. It was too uncomfortable to be in his sullen presence. My husband talked to him often about his attitude with little change.
Since then our relationship has improved slightly. He does manage to greet me and say thank you without being prompted. But I know in his own way he is making an effort. When my mother died he offered his condolences. And one day he made a picture just for me. His way of conversing with others is through sports trivia. When I get home in the evening, sometimes I am met with a did you know that the Lakers…type greeting. I guess I have to take what I can get.
I have been making a greater effort to bond with him, too. This is how I came up with the idea of the track pack. I bought a small container in which I decorated with track themed stickers. Then I filled it with lotion, powder, deodorant, gum, lip balm, a water bottle, breath mints, and a towel. The final addition to the pack included a pair of green, white, and black Reebok running shoes. Thus, track pack was born! I haven’t given it to him yet because I still feel a little nervous. Will he like it? Or will he have the same nonchalant reaction that he has to most things that I do for him? I guess I will just have to give it to him and see.