“This is my pencil,” he said defiantly to his mom. “That’s your pencil?” she repeated slowly hoping he would correct his lie into a truthful statement. “Yes!” he doubled down. She walked out of kitchen and quickened her steps around the corner. She was in a run when she hit the stairs up to her son’s bedroom. She flung open the door to see her bundle of work pencils and a few other items from her desk on top of his dresser. Why lie about a pencil? The thought kept turning over in her mind. This small act of defiance had made the hair on the back of her neck standup straight. She constantly caught him lying, but they were situations that were not so easily provable. These pencils were logoed and had not been released to the public yet, so she was confident there was no other way, but stealing it from her office that he could have obtained this pencil.
She walked back into the kitchen where her son had moved on with his morning. “Real smart, mom, putting the juice on the top shelf in the frig. You know I can’t reach it there.” The sting of his words greeted her as they briefly made eye contact.
“Back to the pencil,” she said.
“It’s mine!” he screamed.
“It’s not yours,” she said calmly. “Why would you lie about that?”
“It is mine! My mother gave it to me!”
She could see he was starting to boil into a fit, but she was truly baffled that he would lie so blatantly. To what end? Why? “Your mother has a pencil from my company, and she give it to you?” she questioned.
“Yes!” he screamed.
“That makes no logical sense,” she offered. “If you needed a pencil, why didn’t you just ask me?”
“I don’t need a pencil,” he fired back at her.
“Randy you can’t just keep lying about things,” she said as she pulled her hair into a bun on top of her head. “Why do you feel you can’t tell me the truth?” she asked sincerely.
“I am telling you the truth,” he said looking directly into her eyes.
Another chill ran up her spine. “I can see you took the pencils from my desk. They are not your pencils, and you are not to steal in this house. Is that understood?”
He grabbed the pencil off the counter and ran screaming to his room. In a few minutes she heard the stomping of his eleven-year-old feet coming back down the stairs. He bolted right up to her face and screamed, “give me my stuff!”
“Stealing stuff doesn’t make it your stuff,” she said trying to keep her tone even. She plucked the reminding pencil out of his small hands as he pointed it at her. “Not yours,” she said simply and turned to go into her office. She shut the glass door behind her and sunk into her office chair. This was yet another day of dealing with unpredictable behavior from her stepson.
Later that day her husband came home from work, and she recounted the encounter for him, which he brushed off and said, “what’s the big deal, it’s a pencil.” He scooped up his son in his arms and asked him how his day was. Looking over his dad’s shoulder he smiled a winning smile and said, “mom is mean.”
“I heard you took her pencil,” he said.
“It wasn’t her pencil dad. It was mine.”
“I’ll get you a new pencil son, don’t worry about it.”
Beverly stood there dumbfounded at what she was hearing. She turned back on her heel and went back into her office.
“What’s for dinner,” Bruce yelled after her.
“I don’t know, what did you make?” she said to him over her shoulder. Bruce was failing to see the same troubling signs she was seeing in Randy. She felt bad for Randy, his biological mother had been and was still abusive to him. She worked hard to make up for that when he was with them, but she was seeing troubling behavior that was growing in frequency. It was making her feel uncertain all the time. She was getting burnt out. She spent the most time with him. Her husband only saw him for about two hours a day and she felt like she was failing to build a relationship with him. She wanted to help him, let him be a kid, and set him up for success in his future, but she was not a trained psychologist and she felt she was at the limit of her abilities.
On Monday she began calling for professional help. She had spent time going through the phonebook and generating a list of counselors that may offer help to her son. She was excited to talk with one man who was board certified, and his ad stated he specifically specialized in preteen adolescents of abuse and alcoholic parents. She felt some relief after speaking with his office and setting an appointment.
The following week she, Bruce, and Randy parked outside of the Counselor’s office and walked in together. Mr. Lackey greeted them all together and invited them into his office. He sat behind an oversized mahogany desk and asked for the cliff notes of what was happening. Bruce was a bit dismissive of the problems and Beverly gave three solid examples of things that had transpired. Mr. Lackey asked Bruce and Beverly to wait out in the waiting room while he spoke with Randy alone. They exited to the waiting room, where Beverly felt a glimmer of hope. She glanced at her watched, then sat still dreaming of the improvements they were going to see in Randy’s behavior. Maybe he would even learn coping techniques in dealing with his abusive biological mother, Lord knows the courts refused to separate her from him. She smiled at Bruce, who had his nose buried in a magazine article. She glanced at her watch again when she heard Mr. Lackey’s office door open. They had only been together twenty minutes. She stood, smiling at the counselor who followed Randy into the room. He asked Randy to have a seat and he wanted to talk to Bruce and Beverly in the privacy of his office. As they sat down again in front of his desk, Beverly had a sinking feeling. Mr. Lackey looked concerned and began to speak. “I am not going to take on Randy as a patient. He is a liar and broke one of my dear possessions. I cannot help him.”
“But you specialize in boys of abusive alcoholics,” Beverly protested. Mr. Lackey did not offer any diagnoses and she didn’t hear much else as he dismissed them. What chance did she have to turn this boy’s life around? What was wrong with him that this counselor did not even want to take their money to help him? Randy was a posterchild for what he said he specialized in. She felt defeated and domed and did not understand what was happening.
Randy ran happily to the car and seemed extra pleased with himself. “Can we go for ice cream?” he asked as he fastened his seatbelt. Bruce smiled at Beverly and said, “we sure can.” Beverly turned to stare out her window at nothing in a state of shock.