Raun had been spending more time in Wisconsin. Driving up on the weekends and since his winter break started Thanksgiving and ended after New Years he had time. Raun enjoyed going to visit his grandparents and get in a little fishing. For the last five years he had truly learned to enjoy the quietness of fishing. Unless fishing was on the schedule, making trips to Wisconsin was not top on the list of “fun things to do”. There was something or someone in Wisconsin that had a new draw.
Raun and Pam had definitely reconnected. We knew Pam from Raun’s high school years. They were both very active in our church youth group. Raun had spent New Years with her in Wisconsin and they drove to Chicago to spend the weekend.
Pam was also coming out of a very long relationship which left her with three beautiful children aging from 7 to 21/2. Jeff and I were filled with questions and concerns. School, financial stability, responsibility; this was not a two person relationship. It was much more complicated than that.
Austyn received a text from Raun on Saturday asking if she wanted to meet them at the zoo. It was the first we had known that Pam and her three children were here in Chicago.
I called Raun on Sunday afternoon to see how the visit had gone and was informed that they were all still there but getting ready to leave and he would call me back. I asked what his dinner plans were and invited him to stop by so we could talk. An hour later he was sitting in our kitchen and he was glowing.
Several years ago after Raun’s very first serious breakup, Jeff and I were very clear with him that we would never stop asking the tough questions and we would always support his decisions. We had watched too many family members struggle in bad relationships knowing very well that everyone around was too scared to asked questions. We were committed not to see that happen with our own children. Relationships are complicated and too many times parents flippantly give opinions that cause riffs in the relationship. We wanted to be able to challenge their thought process but never ever let them think that we would not support their decisions.
As Raun sat in the kitchen he was ready to talk. Every question we asked he was able to answer not only with his point of view but repeated the conversations he and Pam had already had on the subject. School would still be a priority. Pam was an RN; she understood the importance of education. She was willing to go where Raun needed for his masters. He was not only falling for Pam but the children had already won his heart. “They could be my kids”. This was the most surprising of all. Raun had never shown any interest in children. It wasn’t a like or a dislike, it just wasn’t. To hear him talk about these three precious children was an entirely new experience. We ate and talked for about an hour. There were parts of Raun that had come alive. He referred to how Jeff and I had parented and how he now understood why we did things the way we did. This was a conversation on a whole new level. Raun was experiencing adulthood from a new angle and he was enjoying it.
We were interrupted by the phone, it was Pam. She and the kids had been in an accident, everyone was fine but the car was not drivable. She had missed the entrance to the Kennedy and was somewhere on the far west side of Chicago, not exactly the best part of town especially for a mom and three children. Raun grabbed the keys to the car and took off.