I cannot believe that the same kid I saw this afternoon is the one the police left with on Saturday night. I may be a cockeyed optimist but I am actually feeling eager to have difficult child 2 home tomorrow. The social worker called me back this morning and said that difficult child 2 wanted to stay inpatient another day rather than get discharged early. I wasn't sure what to make of this - in the past he has never been willing to stay one more day than he was forced to stay. Family conferences at discharge were for the social work staff to help us negotiate a truce centered around the terms of Xbox use. In other words, adversarial to say the least. I visited difficult child 2 at psychiatric hospital this afternoon. I went bearing food since the social worker told me he was now allowed off the unit and behaving well. When he came out he was smiling. He saw that I had the food but he didn't grab for it or demand to know what I'd brought or growl about how it was "about time". He was polite, thanked me nicely and said he really appreciated my bringing him tacos. Then he sat down next to me on the couch and we chatted. We chatted about the cafeteria food, about getting him back to school, about his geometry homework, about his need for clean clothes because he does't trust the staff to do his laundry. I asked how he was feeling and he said pretty good but tired. He told me the Seroquel is really working to help him sleep at night but then it's making him pretty tired during the day so they are dropping the dose tonight. He said he wasn't really mad anymore - though he admitted to still being a little angry at the doctor and at me. He is eager to get back to school and said he did NOT want to have another year like his freshman year. He only ate 1 taco and said he would save the rest for later and thanked me again for bringing him "almost real" food. When visiting time was over he got up, smiled at me and offered me a hug. Not one angry moment in 20 minutes. No demands about what will happen when he comes home. No snide remarks about denying him food or the choice of clothes we brought him. No power struggle about anything, especially no negative comments about taking the medications. I felt stunned. Who was this well-mannered, nice young man? Will he be able to stick around? Please? My dread at his return home vanished. I'm telling myself over and over that it will probably change when he comes home. But for the first time in more than 2 years I am feeling honestly hopeful and I am indulging in a night of happiness and anticipation of better days.