A seventeen-year old boy didn’t come home after he was allowed to go to an underage dance at a public establishment yesterday. His friends said that they stopped at a gas station around 1:30 a.m. and they went in and left their friend in the vehicle. When they returned, he was gone.

Rumor had it that since hooking up with a new girlfriend, one that graduated this May and now refuses to become gainfully employed and is supposedly heavily involved in drugs, he has “changed.” He cut off most of his hair this past weekend and then dyed what was left blond (he’s raven-haired). His facebook updates are cryptic and worrisome.

It was a relief to hear that after he went missing, 15 hours later he was returned safely to home. He’d been found at the above mentioned girlfriend’s house. The one who denied knowing where he was when friends, family and authorities asked.

Yes, it’s a happy ending THIS time, but I can’t help dwell on what to you may seem just another clear-cut case of a runaway teen because I have known this boy since he was my son’s age. His parents are good friends of ours. They are the ones who tried for years and years to have another baby; tried several rounds of IUIs; and then finally brought home an adopted newborn in February. I’ve mentioned her several times in the past on my blog as our offices were next to each other when I was at the hospital.

His parents are loving and supportive to him. They are the positive epitome of Christian values and they have educated him all his years at the Catholic school. A two-parent home with two very successfully employed adults. They run prayer-groups for wayward teens in their home. They organize and attend Catholic retreats for couples routinely. From the outside looking in, his life – their lives – were perfect and exemplary. And now he’s a juvenile delinquent.

Here we are, Sparring Partner and myself, as soul-less as a couple of tumbleweeds. I have depression that remains untreated because SP doesn’t like medication. I’m sure I yell more than I hug. I have a little boy who not only has ADHD, but also has some kind of emotional disturbances, and for that we see a psychologist once every three weeks and give him medicine once a day. Every day is a scramble to get to where we need to do without someone having a major meltdown, whether that’s Doodicus or a cranky three-year-old girl.

If Dood does explode, sometimes the trigger doesn’t even exist. I made pancakes for the kids on Saturday and set down the first three ‘cakes, fresh and hot from the griddle in front of him at the kitchen counter. He went off in a fury, exclaiming how we hate him and how he hates himself. He has no idea why he said it. Then after not getting his way yesterday, he went off again in another tirade, this time blacker then I’ve seen before. I went outside to get away for a few minutes and when I came back in, he had written “I want to leave home and die,” on a piece of paper and then drew a stick-man with a knife at its throat and the word “me” next to it.

So I ask – no, PLEAD – of you, how can I expect myself to remain optimistic about my son’s long-term mental health when our perfect friends’ perfect child ran away from home??