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

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