He gets out soon. It makes me feel anxious and unsettled. He does so much better confined, always has. I remember his sweet face as a baby. He was breathtakingly beautiful!! Everyone always said he should be the Gerber baby!! They often commented on his old soul and how bright he was.
Life was a challenge for him early on. I was not able to be a good parent to him. I loved him a lot, although structure and stability were not on my agenda. I know I damaged him from all that. Going to the next party was always so much more important. I use to be proud that he could sleep through a live band, now it fills me with shame.
The violence that boy witnessed marked him for life. You would think, a small baby or toddler would not be affected and certainly they don’t remember. I’ve come to learn that although they may not remember, their souls do. He was never in a safe environment, not until he went to his first juvenile lock up.
I called him Peaches. He had the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen on a boy. It would tan caramel brown in the summer and his little tow head would bleach out more and more. He was always a charmer. He could charm a snake out of a basket, I’m sure!!
I remember one time we were riding in the car, listening to the radio. He was about 6 years old. “Mom, are you in love with me?” he asked in his little boy voice. My heart smiled, “Of course, I love you!! I will always love you!!” “I know you love me, but are you IN love with me?” he questioned. “Well, what’s the difference, Son?” I laughingly asked. He’s 6, what does he know of this question he asks? “You can be IN love with Daddy, if he was still with us. You can NOT be IN love with me, I am your son. So, would you mind changing the radio station to something besides love songs??”
The very breath was pulled from my lungs. I slowly reached out and turned off the radio and thought to myself, “I’m going to be in trouble with this one.”
He has chosen a very difficult path for himself. By the time he was 15, he was already being locked up. The last time he lived with me, he was 16. When he hit the streets, I thought I would die from the pain I felt. I worried about him constantly and wondered how he was doing. Letting him go was so painful, although necessary. I always felt more comfortable when he was locked up. Like I said, he did well confined. I would be able to have a relationship with him. He could be kind and loving back. His eyes would be clear and his smile would be bright.
One night, the police brought him to my door. He was bloody from the beating he received from his “friends” at a party. His shoes were gone and he was drunk. He stood there in handcuffs, crying. “Mam, is this your boy?” the officer asked. My heart was beating hard and I fought back the tears, “Yes, it is.” “He says, he is homeless,” the officer questioned. “Yes, he is,” I manage to croak out. “Well, can’t he stay here tonight?” he growls.
I am faced with a choice. By this time, my son has been homeless for over 2 years. He’s only 18 and still my baby. “No, you can run his name. He has a warrant for his arrest. He will have a place to sleep tonight,” comes tumbling out of my mouth. I turn and walk into the house, tears streaming down my face, my heart shattered once again. I know he’s where he is, due to a large part, on how I raised him. I also know, I can’t change him nor can I fix him. I curl up on the floor and sob.
He spent 5 1/2 more years on the streets, getting worse. Every time he went to jail I would think, “This time, he will stop. This will be his bottom.” It never was.
He’s 29 now and no longer a baby. In 2010, he went to jail 15 times. I would think, they will keep him this time, although they always released him within 36 hours. His mind is not right anymore. He hears voices and thinks people are out to get him. My heart breaks for him.
One day he called and he had been arrested twice in a 24 hour period. I didn’t think I could survive anymore heartache with him after that.
He’s spent almost a year, confined. I’ve been able to have dinner with him often and see that old smile that charms so many ladies. One day, he even told me he was proud of me for my Journey to Change. Dug $10.00 from his pocket to contribute to my charity!! Brought me to tears that one!! They have him medicated and he says the voices are quiet for now.
He gets out on Sunday. Already, his behavior is regressing. My heart hurts from watching him turn back to his old thoughts and patterns. I can visualize the door closing inside me again. Stepping away from the pain I know I will feel when, one more time, I have to put him on the outside, due to his behavior.
I know God has a plan. I just wish, sometimes, I did not have to be part of it. That boy has been my biggest challenge in life. He has also taught me the most. His trials made me a better parent for my daughter. His choices taught me that I MUST let others walk their path, in spite of what I want for them.
I remember a vision I got once, it helped me so much. He was about 15 1/2 then. I watched him breaking his radio because I would not let him go to some party. I remembered him learning to walk, he would fall and sometimes skin his knee. I would not run over and pick up him, every time he fell. He would never learn to walk if I did. I had to trust, he would push himself up, brush himself off and carry on!! He always did.
So it is that vision that I hold close to my heart, trusting, God has a plan and my job is to focus on how my experiences can benefit others. I have been able to help many parents, let their children choose their own path, in spite of what a parent may want. It eases my pain greatly.