Today Kevin and I began a journey that I trust will be valuable to him, to me, and to anyone who reads our story. Kristen and I shared our struggles with anorexia a few weeks ago. Kevin has agreed to now share his story. He will be a guest writer on his wife's site. I will then give my view of the same time period.
Today Kevin posted his first addition. I learned things I did not know. I knew that would happen, but I didn't realize I lost track of him so early in his life.
Kevin will celebrate his 30th birthday in a few days. I am so thankful that he is still alive. And that He has turned his life over to God.
Life was "normal" for us. We had the all-American family. Dad, Mom, 2 adorable blonde, blue-eyed kids, house on a culdesac (for safety's sake), good church, busy life. I was a stay-at-home mom, and felt very privileged to be that. We had to pinch the pennies pretty hard, but I was good at it. I listened to Christian radio every day and tried to implement the advice I heard. I went to young mom's Bible study where we discussed our kids and their development. Both DC and I had been raised in wonderful Christian homes, so we just kind of did things the way we were raised and thought things would work out.
I don't remember Kevin being a difficult baby at all. He was adored by his big sister. He slept through the night at 8 weeks. We didn't have any traumatic potty-training issues!
I think I posted about the time Kevin got lost at the Pet and Doll Parade downtown on the last day of school, when he was 4. We lost him for over an hour, and he was picked up by the band director and taken back to the school where the band began the parade, about a mile from the end of the parade, where I was frantically looking for him. He was very shy after that and did not want to draw any attention to himself by having his picture taken or doing "show and tell." He pretty much clung to my legs for several months thereafter.
Kindergarten went well - he enjoyed climbing on the bus and being a "big kid." There were a couple of times when he was young that he would bring things home that didn't belong to him. It alarmed me a bit, but I didn't think it was a life-altering situation.
We lived in a neighborhood with lots of kids. Two of the boys were really ornery and I would work very hard to keep Kevin away from them in the summertime. I didn't trust their influence on him. I'm sure he has stories about their times together that would singe my hair! I do know they lit matches around lawnmower gasoline one time. It's a miracle they didn't get really hurt - or dead!
There was the time he was busted at Wal-Mart for shoplifting - I think it was chap stick. It was somebody else's fault, of course.
Sixth grade does stand out in my mind in several ironic ways. It was the first time Kev was interested in singing - the music teacher was a "Barbie Doll," according to the up-and-coming hormone-ridden pre-teens. They all joined choir that year, and even went to school early to practice. I thought it was very cool. But at the same time, his first male teacher did not like Kevin and his group. I was called in for several after-school conferences. I didn't really like his friends, but didn't know them very well.
I thought 7th and 8th grade went well. I had no idea he was starting on his spiral downward, sampling alcohol from his friends' parents' liquor cabinets. He talks about his language at school - we never heard that at home, amazingly enough. I never knew you could be that disciplined in your speech patterns to keep it clean at home and let it all out with "friends."
I planned my life around being home with the kids - I began working a few hours a day in the school district so that I'd get them to school, be home when they got off, and be home all vacations and summers. How could I have my head so far in the sand??
I just recently learned of that first marijuana joint when, just before he went to Teen Challenge, I finally asked him point blank when he took his first drug. I was astounded at the answer. We weren't able to communicate very well for many years.
I knew that he was not much fun to be around those early teen years, but had no idea the direction he was heading. It was hard to get him up for church and Sunday school, his attitude was not endearing, and his anger began to be more and more volatile. But I think we just thought it was his adolescence kicking in. Little did we know. Very little.