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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

SLICE #15- A Play in Many Acts



So, first there's the act where a single mom, strung out on drugs, loses custody of her four kids.

And then there's the act where those four broken kids spend several months sleeping on a cot in a garage in their first foster home.

And another act where they spend four years with a foster mother who beats them, and doesn't feed them.

And then there is the act where the assistant principal from their school takes them home with her. And tries to put the pieces of their little hearts back together again. Deals with food hoarding. Deals with meltdowns in Target. Tucks them in every night. Tries to teach them that she will always be there. And adopts them.

And then there is the act where the adoptive mom cooks dinners. And does laundry. And homework. And goes to parent teacher conferences. And buys sports gear (a lot). And takes them to sports practices (many). And cooks pots and pots and pots of spaghetti and chicken fettucini for team dinners. And cheers for them at games. And spends vacations in Kansas and Memphis and Las Vegas and San Diego for basketball tournaments. And sits in emergency rooms when they are hurt.

And then there is middle school act.  Where they spend hours at the kitchen table every night doing math homework. When she tries to teach them how to work hard.Stay away from peer pressure. Buys great snacks so kids will come. Has middle school sleep overs every weekend. Deals with their surly moods.

And the high school act. More of the same. The high school football hangout.  Lots of ugly parent teacher conferences. Teaches them to drive. Buys cars. Fights about marijuana. Deals with insurance company after accidents. Deals with legal issues. Transfers one to alternative school. Two diplomas.

And then the act where she sends them off to college. Drives to Phoenix. Hugs them goodbye. Cries. Misses them. Horribly. Sends lots of money for groceries. Sends care packages. Worries. Prays.

And then the act where they both come back to Denver. Do not work. Do not go to school. Smoke lots of pot. Sell "unnecessary" things like the lawnmower (which is, I guess, kind of unnecessary in January)  to make money for more pot. Fight with their mother about the no jobs and pot. A lot.

And then there is the act where both boys make poor choices and end up in the county jail. And the adoptive mom tells them she will always be their mom, but they cannot come back until some things changes. And she cries as she watches the locksmith.

And the act where the adoptive mom goes to court to watch her sons be charged. A quick glance of recognition as he sees adoptive mom, but then he will not look at her. And she cries as the bailiff gives her older son a box of kleenex because he is crying.

And the act where the adoptive mom is sitting in the court room. And another woman keeps making faces at her and mouthing words. Acting like she is mad at the adoptive mom. And the adoptive mom has no idea who the other woman is. Or what she wants. Or why she could possibly be mad.

And  there is a man in the courtroom. About fifty. Very tall. Dressed in a uniform from a local car dealer. Maybe a mechanic. She notices him but doesn't think much about it. There are lots of mothers and father sin the courtroom.

And then there is an act where Son #2 is brought into the court room. And he keeps mouthing things to the man and the woman. And at first the adoptive mom wonders who he is talking to. There are several young women in the courtroom and she wonders if he has a girlfriend she doesn't know about.

And then there the act she figures it out. The boys' biological mom. And Son #2's biological father. They leave the courtroom. And she thinks they are probably in the lobby and she goes out. But they are gone.

And then she walks back to the parking lot because her cell phone is in her car and she needs to call a police detective. And runs into the father. And introduces herself. He hates the bright sunshine, just like his son. And they duck into a coffee shop and he buys her a coke and they talk for an hour and decide the boys will go live with him.

And then there is the act where she drives downtown for the third time that day for visiting hours at the jail. And she is not sure whether the boys will want to see her, but she is especially worried about Son #1. The sheriff explains video visitation. Wait. Again. When the inmate appears, pick up the receiver. Son #2 is first. He begs her, repeatedly, to bail him out. Which she tells him, repeatedly, will happen tomorrow after the charges are dropped. He wants to talk the whole thirty minutes. Tells her every few minutes how much time they still have. Does not stop talking until the monitor turns off after thirty minutes.

And then there is the act where Son #1 comes onto the screen. And asks her, several times, why she has come. And tells her to bail him out. And hangs up. After 5 minutes and 44 seconds. And she watches as he runs back up the stairs in his gold prison jumpsuit. And wonders if she has said goodbye to him for the last time.

Life. A play in many acts.

30 comments:

Judy said...

If only this were a play and at the end, you'd all go home together and declare it a tearjerker.

You are doing the right thing. Your sons will eventually realize that. They are still your sons and always will be despite the reappearance of biological parents.

Here's hoping there is some joy in your day today to balance out the pain. You deserve it.

Chris Margocs said...

It is heartbreaking when, after making all the right choices as a parent, your children decide to make the wrong ones. We grow up along with our children, and it's a hard lesson when we realize they are individuals with free will, just as we are. Kudos for continuing to set boundaries and high expectations.

Michelle said...

I've missed you the last couple days, wondering where you were. I see know, living the acts of your life. My heart is breaking for you Carol. This life of acts ... if only it were a play. But it's not. I don't have words, but I will pray. I will pray hard for you and for your boys. Is it cliche to say 'give it time?' Time and healing and prayer. Stay strong Carol. Big hugs. And it's okay to cry too.

elsie said...

I wish I had the words to comfort you at this time. I have none except you are on my mind and in my prayers. This is not the life you envisioned for your boys or yourself. This is heartbreaking. Please continue to be strong and follow your heart. I know your heart is breaking.

Tara Smith said...

I don't know how much more heartbreak you can take, Carol, for you have done the right thing in every scene in this play. Sometimes, you reach the end of what you can do, no matter how much love there is - and often this comes when our kids become adults, and events become larger than any one person can handle alone. I am thinking of you, and wishing for some ray of hope to begin to make its appearance - for your sake.

LInda Baie said...

I wish it was just words, but it is your life, and I send you all the strength I can for this tough, tough time. My hard choices as a parent were not these, but I did have them. One day at a time is the only advice I have. I'm happy that you shared this, Carol, have been thinking of you every day hoping that things would smooth out, and maybe they will when your sons realize what they seem to be throwing away. Hugs to you with prayers for you and the boys.

Stacey Shubitz said...

I don't know how you were able, with all that is going on, string together beautiful, albeit painful, writing.

You are doing what you have to do. And you don't know how things will go down with their biological father. They may or may not go with him, but it doesn't mean that it's going to be the end. Even if they do go, they may come back. Remember, this play is still going on. It doesn't end.

I wish I could do more than leave a few words to help comfort you right now. I have known you through your writing for the past few years. I have known the heartaches of sending them off to college and keeping up with them while they're away. I'm so sorry you're going through this right now. I really am.

BethMooreTCRWP said...

My heart breaks for you. Someone before me commented that we grow up with our children. What a wonderful and scary and difficult thing. Keep loving your sons and keep doing the best you know how. Adults do continue to grow and change, and your sons will be very different people a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now.

Melanie Meehan said...

I wish there were words to comfort you, or that there was a happy ending that we could guarantee was heading your way. You have been an incredible source of support to your boys, and somewhere, at some level, they know it. It's often times the safest people we hurt the most. Lean on the power of your community, Carol. You have a strong network of people in your world who care and are cheering for you.

Dana Murphy said...

Oh, Carol. Oh no. I'm so sorry. My heart is breaking for you right now. I wish I could do something to help you, to ease your pain. I can't imagine. You've been a wonderful mom to those boys. They will find their way home again. I know you won't give up hope.

Write if it makes you feel better. Don't write if it makes you feel worse. We are all here for you when you're ready.

Love, Dana

JenniferM said...

Wow, Carol. This is so powerful and so well-written -- I loved the organization in "acts" and the simple, third-person narration, as if you were part of the audience just like us. Because really, this story, while personal, is probably playing out in so many other cities, towns, and families too. I could see what was coming, and yet I was on the edge of my seat the whole time as I read further and further. I hope you will soak up the "act" of the visit with Son #2 as I did, as a little bit of relief and joy, although it is still hard. And I hope everything comes out ok for all of them and for you.

Betsy Hubbard said...

I wish I had the words you need to hear, that you did your best, that there was love in your home, that what you did made a difference, that it may not feel like it matters now. I wish I had the right words. All I can say is you gave a lot of yourself and I hope that one day you are on the receiving end of thoughtfulness, gratitude and love as you showed these boys all of these traits and you were always there.

Chris said...

Your story is so amazing, Carol. You are so strong for sharing it with us. I wish you continued strength and courage. May your boys find their way.

Chris said...

Your story is so amazing, Carol. You are so strong for sharing it with us. I wish you continued strength and courage. May your boys find their way.

Robin said...

If there were words that would bring you comfort, I'd send them your way. Instead, I'm sending strength, positive thoughts and encouragement your way.

Diane Andeson said...

Prayers. Adoption is an unpredictable act. No guarantees of a happy ending. But there is always love. And hope is hard to give up.

Carrie said...

A life in many acts, indeed. I can relate to so much of your story. Some people say they wish they could take the kids home with home - to provide them a stable home life - and others actually do it. You sound like an amazing woman and mother. Why life doesn't go the way it's supposed to is absolutely beyond me. Please hang in there. You have friends here.

Melanie Meehan said...

I wish there were good words to write to you, Carol. What you are going through is so hard. I wish that we could say that there's going to be a happy ending. Life doesn't give those guarantees, either. What is true is that many times, people hurt the people they trust and love most, the ones that are guaranteed, unconditional love in their lives. You have amazing, supportive communities in your world, Carol. Hold fast to those.

Beverley Baird said...

Like Elsie I wish I could have the words that would heal and comfort you. All I can do is pray for you and your sons, that healing will come and that you have the strength to continue.

Adrienne Wiley said...

What heartbreaking elegance you bring to the sharing of your story. Your strength at every moment of your son's lives leaves me in awe, especially by our strength in these most difficult moments. Sending you thoughts of strength, love, peace, and grace.

Adrienne Wiley said...

What heartbreaking elegance you bring to the sharing of your story. I am in awe of the stench you have had for your sons at every moment of their lives, including these most difficult ones. Sending you thoughts of peace, grace, and love.

writekimwrite said...

It has been a hard year for you Carol. I am so sorry for these difficulties! I know that faith will give you hope and the ability to persevere! Still it is hard and I can feel your weariness. You are being prayed for, as well as the sons, who will always be yours! I am glad you are a writer. Your writing is powerful!

Amanda Villagómez said...

Carol, I am so sorry to hear about all of these ups and downs and where you are currently finding yourself and your boys. Even though one of your son's asked why you were there, I think he knows why. They must both know how much you love and care about them. I will be praying for you and your boys.

Ramona said...

Carol, my heart is breaking for you and yours. I can't imagine the pain you're enduring. I have a sister with six adopted children and a sister-in-law raising the children of her adopted son. It is a difficult road that you're walking. I pray for comfort as you move through the days ahead. As someone else said, write if you want, don't write if you can't...but know that many are pulling and praying for you and your family.

Kristi Lonheim said...

I have nothing to say to you that hasn't been said, but want you to know that there is one more person praying for you and your family. My heart breaks and tears stream down my face as I read of this challenging time for all of you that you have expressed so clearly and uniquely with your well chosen words. I can't imagine your pain, but I do know the love of a mother for her child. I pray for peace, wisdom, and strength for you and direction for your boys.

Anita Ferreri said...

I realized this was real life drama after the first stanza. I realized you were reaching for words, Kleenex and trying to find strength in the second stanza. I realized it is your life, your love, your hope, your heart and the tears rolled down my cheeks for you and for your boys. My own hard choices as a parent were tough, but not nearly as tough as yours. You, your boys and the other characters in their lives are in my thoughts and prayers at this hard time. I pray that one day, soon, your boys realize what they had and find a way to make it home.

Aileen Hower said...

I am praying for your peace right now and in the days ahead. I'm praying that your boys feel your unconditional love, even as you don't approve of their actions. That is being an excellent mom. I'm praying for you to know in your heart that they love you and know that you were there in their time of need and as they grew up. I am the mom of an adopted daughter. The acts you have lived with them are priceless, regardless of the journey they are currently facing.

Elisabeth Ellington said...

I don't have any words. All I can say is, I feel every bit of this.

Debbie Brown said...

Hi Carol,
It's Debbie, Karens' sister from Chicago.I remember when I changed the locks and kicked my son out of the house. It was the single, hardest thing I have ever done as a parent. I will never forget that, the heartache. He was shocked that I followed through, but I know that it made a difference..he knew I meant business and looking back I believe he knew I did it out of love for him.
You have given, and sacrificed, and overcome, and wept and struggled and loved and put up with, and prayed!! What I hear is that your prayers have been answered. Maybe this is your time now. Maybe the boys will listen to this dad, maybe now they will "see" beyond their anger and fear and realize, even if its just a little, what a godsend you have been to them..maybe its a new beginning. I feel like those boys (before you came along) had been scared for life. Scars don't go away, but they do heal. Sometimes healing can last a lifetime. I always pray for you. You are a hero to me....you are probably the strongest and most dedicated mom I know. Know that those boys love you....and some day they will tell you. God Bless You.

Kim Oldenburgh said...

You are an amazing person who has been through so much. I wish I could comfort you with my words. Just know I pray for you and your family.