After four days at the psychiatric hospital, The Child is scheduled to return home. I have a list of things I must remove from the house: razors and cleaning fluids and cables and cords and prescription drugs and kitchen knives. There are more things on the list than I would have guessed, and as the social worker rattles them off, I ask her to slow down so I can write it down, and she replies, just do your best, teenagers are remarkably creative.
I buy a lock and put everything into the shed, except for the Christmas tree lights, which should probably go into the shed, but I just can’t bring myself to put them there.
On The Child’s first evening home, her boyfriend visits for several hours. He brings her the gift bag full of candy that he wasn’t allowed to bring to the hospital, and they decorate the tree together, honoring my request to put on every string of lights. I’ve bought extra strings this year, several of them, and for the first time, the tree glitters like other people’s trees always do, and ours never seemed to.