Home, Not-so-Sweet, Home

31 Jul

So we’re back home again.

And we’re not happy about it.

You know how sometimes it feels  good to be home after vacation?

This time? Not so much.

First of all, we had the long drive back through Kansas.

And when we finally made it to the other end, we were knocked over by the heat and humidity!  Can three days of Colorado really spoil us that much?

Yes. It. Can.

Our 15 year old son is feeling the effects the most.

While in Colorado, he was happy!  He smiled often!  He talked with excitement!  He climbed out of bed at a decent hour!  He wanted to go outside and do things!

We hadn’t been home a full hour before he began getting irritable and frustrated.  When I asked him what was wrong, he shrugged his shoulders and claimed:  “It’s too hot here.  You can’t even step outside without breaking a sweat!”

It’s true.  We usually do have very warm summers with high humidity in the St. Louis area, but this summer has been record-breakingly hot!  Our relief comes in the form of upper 90’s, and the occasional cloud cover.

Without rain.

It’s not just the heat that bothers him, however.

It’s the fact that he feels stuck here in this little town, and the fact that his interests are far more extensive than 4-wheeling, hunting, beer-drinking (yes, even at his age….), and sports.

There are only a handful of boys in our county that don’t enjoy those activities, and 2 of them are his brothers.

Hubby and I are definitely feeling some guilt about raising the kids in this quaint little town of 600 that he, himself, grew up in.

But heck, when we were young and starting our family, we felt this place was the best!  After all, it has a great school with small classrooms.  It’s safe enough that we rarely lock our cars, let alone our houses.  Everyone knows each other, and they’re all very involved with the school and the community.

And with me constantly moving and changing schools as a child, the idea of raising my family in one home,  near grandparents,  was very appealing.

Now we realize, all of this is not necessarily a good thing.

Our boys especially, have suffered because of it.  They love to read, write, draw, and play music….

They love to play video games and create their own games and characters.

We bought them incense and paper lanterns for their rooms.  We gave them bamboo plants and Asian scrolls to decorate with.  They’re into calligraphy and mask making.

All very cool interests, but no one to share them with.

This combination makes them feel like the weird ones.  It makes them feel isolated.

It makes us feel sad.

We hoped high school would offer more friendship opportunities, and it has, but not to the extent that he feels a strong connection with any of them.  Besides, living 20 minutes from the high school’s town, doesn’t lend itself easily to going over to your friend’s house.  It takes planning, and drives and trying to kill 2 birds with one stone. “if we’re going there anyway…”

And although we’ve told him many times we’re willing to work it out, he’s too polite and considerate to bother us.

And the school itself, doesn’t offer a wide variety of opportunities.

So what we’re witnessing is an extremely intelligent, artistic kid, who’s being stifled in a field of corn, surrounded by people who are content to never leave the boundaries of their town.

We’re seeing a lack of focus, a lack of interest in school, and slight signs of depression.

This is a kid who scores 100s on standardized tests, who’s IQ is well above the norm, who researches science, and space, and history topics on his own.  He reads to learn, and not necessarily for entertainment…

He should be at the top of his class, yet his grades are only average.

By taking him to Colorado like he asked, we were hoping he would be able to be his own person,

that he would be in his element,

that he would see that there are people and areas out there where he does fit in and feel at home.

And it was a success in that respect.

But we had to return, and the change in him was almost immediate.

My hope is that he can make it through the next few years of high school, with little pushes and encouragement from us, and then escape to a place where he can be himself.

At this point, it may very well be Colorado.


Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Family, Parenting, Vacation


Tags: , ,

11 responses to “Home, Not-so-Sweet, Home

  1. Abby

    July 31, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Having met said child, and having grown up in a small town myself – although not as small as yours – I can understand his frustrations. He feels the way I did when I was 19. Having that feeling at 15 would’ve been worse.

    Welp, we’re not going anywhere. Boys. Art. Video games. outdoors. Need a home away from home? We’re not going anywhere…

    • shadowrun300

      July 31, 2012 at 3:00 am

      I’m certainly not telling him this. He’d be on the next flight out! Then again, you haven’t adopted your lizard yet… perhaps a lizard-like teenage boy?? He scurries up rocks pretty good, and he lives off peanut butter. Let me know what Meego thinks.

  2. territerri

    August 1, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Oh, that makes me so sad for him. It’s so hard to watch your child be unhappy, no matter what the cause. I understand that very well, and I know you would do whatever possible to ease his burden. Of course, pulling up roots, leaving jobs, finding a new home… these are not things that can be done lightly. I hope your boy can find some kind of outlet to get him through the next few years until he can venture out into the world.

    • shadowrun300

      August 1, 2012 at 2:50 am

      That’s just it. So many things have to weigh in. We just hope our decisions are the right ones. It’s hard, isn’t it? Trying to do what’s right for us, him, the other kids….

  3. The Thin Lady Inside

    August 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    sorry vacations are done… 🙂 At least you have great memories from it! Many people don’t get to live such amazing experiences… 🙂

    • shadowrun300

      August 2, 2012 at 1:00 am

      Yes. We’ve been pretty good about allowing our children to see other states/communities/cultures. They’ve seen quite a bit more than many of the children in our county. And we have definitely created some great memories!

  4. Jules

    August 2, 2012 at 12:22 am

    That’s good that he was in his element in Colorado. It would have been concerning if he was the same way there, but at least you see a difference and maybe he just needs to spread his wings in a few years to find happiness. I grew up in the country and hated it, but now that I’m older I see the benefits of being in a small town and every now and then I miss it. But hey, there are places in Missouri to go hike and be in the wilderness! There are some close to St. Louis too. You can always be a backseat driver and let him drive through St. Louis to the parks. 🙂

    • shadowrun300

      August 2, 2012 at 1:18 am

      Exactly! In fact we were beginning to get very concerned, especially with how sad and withdrawn he was becoming, but seeing him there, allowed us to see that it may just be his environment. He’s smart enough too, to know that he doesn’t exactly fit in this beer-drinking, 4-wheel-driving, community. Small towns definitely have their pros AND cons.
      Funny, I was thinking today why we don’t do more of the trails around our area. I think the answer is – it’s too freakin’ hot! 🙂

  5. agg79

    August 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Unfortunately, a lot of vacations leave me with that feeling (not wanting to go back). I cannot tell you how many times I considered looking for a job in Hawaii or Seattle or Hanau. That’s why we go on vacations – to get away from our mundane, boring lives at home. It is good to see he enjoyed himself in Colorado. The mountains and cooler temps do bring out the explorer in a lot of us. You guys made the right choice in going to the mountains – San Antonio would have been fun, but way hotter and probably more expensive. Sorry that your son is not happy with the sedate life in a small town, but hopefully he will be able to set his sights on a career that takes him to places that can satisfy his inner cravings,

    It is interesting how we grow up in different environments/cultures but we sometimes long for the other side of the fence. You got the chance to live abroad in foreign and exotic lands, seeing new and exciting things that most of us only read about on the web. Once older, you were looking for more stability, roots to raise a family. I was opposite – I spent most of my childhood in Texas and New Jersey. We did a few camping trips to the Vermont, Maine, Colorado, but mostly stayed close to home. That led to my desire to travel more, exploring various places around the globe. I hope your son gets a chance to go back to Colorado or other cool places.

    • shadowrun300

      August 5, 2012 at 1:25 am

      We do the same thing – think about looking for jobs in a place we’ve visited – because it DOES seem the grass is always greener.
      And now that we’ve lived in this area for 25 years, I’m ready to move and travel. I’ve also recommended to the kids that they live somewhere else before deciding to settle here. I don’t think that will be a problem with any of them.
      I’m still planning on getting to San Antonio, although we won’t go in July or August. Colorado was perfect for this time of year, San Antonio will probably be late spring or early fall. Unless you have a different recommendation??

  6. towardshealthylife

    August 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I think your decision to raised your family in a small community was good at that moment and when your children were younger. I would have done the same. It’s hard to predict how things turns out to be after 10 years or so and we can only do our best.
    When I went to Australia for the first time it was like if I was free to be myself there. Maybe if your son really felt at home there it will give him a goal or something. Maybe he could do a student exchange over there 🙂


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