Friday Hearing

I hear that your Montana grandma is coming to town today.  Your mommy mentioned it to me on Saturday. I asked if she was coming to celebrate your mommy’s birthday on the 8th.  Not she has to leave on Sunday, she said.  Oh, for the hearing? Hmm.  That’s not gonna be any fun, is it? This is the hearing that was delayed because mommy wasn’t well, but then she showed up anyway at the courthouse with her new godfamily of 20 yr olds from the Mormon church. This is all more bizarre that real life. But then, I guess that’s where the best stories come from.  I think I’d rather just read this one.

So if she really shows up, mommy and her mommy will read my response to your mommy’s response to my one year update on the guardianship that I wrote last November. She will read your daddy’s response to your mommy’s response and then she will likely be angry.  What will that look like in court on Friday?  What might it sound like? She may say its daddy’s fault.  She may say that her daughter is the best and most wonderful mommy she ever knew. She may say she wants a turn being your guardian.  She may say we all lie.  She may suggest you and mommy and your sister go live with her.  I wish she just wrote a letter.  UGH.

Tomorrow they wanted to take you from school and over to mommy’s for dinner.  I got worried and told mommy that I was worried.  I don’t want you to go off with your Montana grandma and mommy and wait for you to come back.  I said a park that I take you to was okay and I’d wait for you and then take you home.  That would be better.  Your mommy wasn’t happy with that. There’s enough mad and hurt going on for the whole world right now.

And then there is the lawyer who called and talked through the possibilities.  And the money that all that talking costs and the possibility of it going to trial and the more money makes me sick.  And all the times we have to report to the court everything bad that happened and ignore the sweetness between you and your mommy.  I want us to make these plans, not the court.  But its too late for that.  This is how it goes.  Please come and go Friday, be gone.  Like soon. Please let us be for another year while mommy makes plans and tries hard to make happen what she wants for herself. (As I say this I know that mommy is confused, hurt, sad and I feel a little of that too. Her life hasn’t gone how she hoped it would.)

By the way, I am watching you grow these days.  Your legs ache from the inches you add each night to your skin, muscle, tissues, tendons, ligaments, bones and the stretchy nerves and veins struggle to keep up.  You think about things differently now that you are five.  You wonder about the tube that goes from your bladder to make the pee come out, why you can’t swallow every time you want to and why it is that your  muscles lock your throat if you think too hard and why we can’t have some geese babies so they’d imprint on you and act like your children.  Then today you tell me that you are going to have two children and will bring them up to see me but you will live in town because the bobcats can’t eat your baby geese in town.  But you will visit every single day, you assure me.  You will drive me places you tell me, in your red car.

And Liza, Happy half-birthday, girlie.  Dressing yourself for a year, but now, choosing your own clothes and refusing the ones I choose sometimes with a big set of ideas of your own. Singing songs that you make up, talking to people about things and telling everyone, good morning, thank you and your welcome.  Oops, sorry you say to me when you hand me something and it drops.  Your auditory skills are tremendous as much as you are physical and I can understand your particular smart places now that you speak so clearly.  Your social knowledge is growing so fast.  You are appropriately and surprisingly polite.  You sing the sassy na-na-na-na-na song of teasing after a day at school. And tell me everyone’s name and the color of their night night blankies, the kind of shoes they wear and if they cried that day.  (accurate or not, I find it entertaining that you recite these things)

You both are precious, healthy and so interesting to Grandpa and me.  We mostly have fun. I’ll update you after Friday. gma

Just for Today

Just for today, I want to be alone.  Just one time.  You are at school, Liza at Aubrey’s and Grandpa at work.  Georgia and I just sat through a Webinar from “Mind in the Making”.  Now informed, I’ll rest with it.  Let the information float around and land where it might do some good. Letting things float around and do good takes attention.  It requires more attention than I seem have anymore.  A few years back, I learned to stay with things, ponder and ruminate; to honor my process.  I became creative, well, I guess I always was, but I let myself notice and stay with it awhile.  And now I hop, pop and at times, leap from one thing to another along with you, your sister and our lives in constant motion.  Like a toddler who moves toward a dolly and on the way sees a caterpillar,  stops and picks up a rock, then sits with a leaf that just landed.  Motion.  Original goal lost to the moment.  But oh that leaf was so tasty.  As are the sweet times I discover with you.  Yummy time.

Today I am missing writing, the time in my head weaving together words and ideas making meaning of feelings and thoughts.  Locating foggy places, seeking obscurity and creating belly pains to sift through the world from a grandma point of view.  And this view, that I was just beginning to comprehend, is different now.  Different.  Friends and family have gotten ill, some have passed on, I have new people to talk to, new things to think about and I have your grandpa, whose changing, too.  My mom and sister are more a part of my life than ever before and you and Liza are too, and then there’s your peopled little lives. You have transformed all of us.  We can never get back to before.

And the writing; I can’t pick it up and continue.  I’d have to pick it up and start over.  I imagine doing it.  I lie awake at 3 am, sometimes 1:30 am and think about it.  I’ll hold scissors and cut at it.  Take away, save some parts and re-type them into my new computer, the one recording this part of my life.  I’ll capture the good stuff.  This time I will know the chaff.  I will be able to see it.  Maybe I’ll tell it from a different point of view.  I’d have to.  I don’t have that other point of view anymore. I think of it as having been torn off its foundation and stacked for another purpose.  Like our old house.  That old preoccupied self.  That process piece full of discoveries; a story before your time.  Before this time.  History.  Yet just as rich as any, it deserves my full attention.  And I am beginning to consider what that might look like.  Giving anything that much air timePhoto on 2010-09-05 at 14.06.  What do you think, buddy?  Can we all spare that much of me?  Hmmm.  gma

The social worker came to visit

After she left I asked Grandpa, “Did she say that she thought that she didn’t think that the kids would be returned?”

Yes. he said.

“Did you say, I ask him, that we are in it for the long-haul?”  Yes.

This is a turning point.  We are your parents if that is so.  Not serving as them, but ARE.

I was working so hard to protect Grandpa from the work it takes to change our lives to care for you like parents do.  I tried to make it “for awhile” for both of us.  But he said, and I agree, its really important that we hang in there with you, “for the long-haul”.  Be your parents.  Then you get what you need.  You and sissy deserve that.  We turned a corner.

Now we need the judge to let you stay.  To see you here for a long time, too.

How Gorgeous you both are.gma

Under these Bones

Mommy reports she was in a lousy marriage, emotionally abused, from a long history of abuse and family difficulties. She seemed unloved, un-cared for, not properly socialized. Now, she says, she is flowering, ready to support herself, her children and manage her life and theirs, too. She has filed court papers all on her own. Sought legal aid managed complex procedures and is determined to save herself. To get her children back. The court investigator will see the house she lives in, the room the kids will sleep in and hear this mom pleading for understanding, trust, the benefit of the doubt. She’ll plead to have the court give her children back. She makes $400/month, she says, gets room and board and uses the bus She has a counselor and some help managing her finances. She’s on track. No drugs, alcohol or distractions. All she needs is her children.

Beneath these old bones, in dark murky places, pulsing and vulnerable; riddled with some sort of disease, there is a place where stones of wisdom swell, in sedimentary layers; bits and shreds of sensible and simple sure-fire knowing. It’s here that I see your mommy getting you back. It hurts so much to write it–jittery fingered, the pains spreading from my middle outward, shoulders aching and numbed fingers. At the root of this disease is my long-time conviction that children should be with their mothers whenever possible. It supports lifelong emotional health to resolve these situations. I feel a deep loss. I have worked my entire professional career acting upon this principle. Supporting marginal families to fall in love with their children and themselves. I have straddled a line when asked to step up for a parent marginally prepared and stood up for the children, too. I know this story. I know the person this mommy is.

Remember your daddy was adopted at birth, I, myself, given back to my mommy at age 4. Your story emerges from a tangled subterranean history and a changing sense of what a family can be, and is and isn’t too. She’s made a strong plea and now “just in case,” I need to consider what to do for you and Liza, how to best advocate for you. (I’ll think about me some other time). Is it possible that on March 2 the judge may say our guardianship is terminated? Might I request, honorable judge that you allow a transition period, an adjustment to serve these children erect a 90 day failure zone to assure that mommy is able to manage before you kids pack up and move far away for good? Make it as sure as we can that you two will not be harmed in any way, beyond the obvious loss of home and loving caregiver grandparents? Can you be supervised and have unplanned, unannounced social worker visits? Mandate interviews of you and sissy? Counseling services for both of you? Have continued attendance at their preschool. How about shared custody…mom, dad and grandparents? Break their little lives up into pieces? You here with me five days, mom 1 day and dad 1 day a week? What happens when the old guy mommy cares for dies? Then where does she go? Will you all go to Montana. No.

So I visit the kindergarten, sign you up for Fall at Bonny Doon School, but have lovely photos of you ready to hang on the upstairs wall painted golden yellow to surround your joyful images, the ones of you now, here outside playing. Happy. You have a right to continue your happy childhood.  I will fight for that buddy, I promise. loving you, gma