Sunday, October 15, 2006
What a Difference A Year Makes
Unlike my dog, our cats are not fond of the visiting grandgirls. In this rare moment of solidarity they huddle on the end table in the library that they are ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN to huddle on.
This weekend the grandgirls and their Mom stayed over. We used the time to decorate for Halloween inside and outside, and do some other things for the upcoming party. I couldn't help thinking as I watched my daughter with her kids, how much things have changed.
Thirteen months ago, at 3 in the morning, Pap and I were standing knee deep in filth attempting to get our crack addict oldest daughter to come home. We'd been summoned there in the middle of the night by a neighbor, one of many times they'd called us because the piece of shit that fathered her two youngest children was beating her up. On this day, both eyes were rapidly blacking, her cheek was cut and the hand shaped bruises on her arms were not nearly as horrifying as the ones on her neck.
Pap had called a police officer on our way over, he met up with us at her apartment door. The three of us talked, and talked and talked to the unkempt, jittery girl huddled on the sofa bed in the living room. We could have been talking to a wall, she wouldn't press charges because "it was my fault, he never does this sober."
This wasn't the first time we'd raced through the night to try and rescue her, and the children. We always went, she's our girl, our treasure, our oldest. But on this night, something just snapped in me, and I knew I couldn't help her, she could only help herself. We were able to have the two older girls removed and custody awarded to their father. She ran with Juliette, and moved around frequently enough we couldn't get a case going with Children's Services. She called from time to time, usually to ask for money which I wouldn't send, or to come home, which we wouldn't agree to except with conditions that she wasn't willing to meet.
She did'nt tell us she was pregnant with our new baby, but she did tell her sisters. They rallied, and went and got her and our now three year old. They were both infested with lice and scabbies, she was 7 months pregnant and had not seen a doctor... or stopped drinking and using. Bean, who makes her living as a social worker, took her and Jules in. Saw to it they got medical attention, counselling and a schedule. Pap and I provided money to Bean to help offset expenses and as we saw her really trying, we started inviting her for the weekends to give her a change of scenery.
Until Brendolynn was born the energy we put off worrying would have kept a major city in lights. The baby is perfect and thriving, but we still watch closely to make sure she's coming along mentally the way she should.
It's early yet, but watching my daughter out in the yard helping her girls fill bags with leaves, her hair a silky shining curtain down her back again, the sound of her laughter ringing through the neighborhood, gives me hope that she's turned the corner. Seeing her acceptance letter from OU in the nursing program leads me to believe she remembers who she is and where she came from. She's remembered what has value in life and what is just wasting time.
It's going to be a good year. I feel my heart repairing.