Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘children’

Just when I think I’m actually getting somewhere with my life, something so earth shattering happens, it brings me to my knees… and no, I’m not talking about Cataclysm! Ever have one of those days where just as you’re taking your first deep breath for the day and enjoying the bit of silence nap time brings, there’s a LOUD knock on the door and someone shouting “It’s the cops! Come to the door!”? No? Well, I did!

So, I jumped up, in the middle of working on a project, leaving my scissors and lighter on my table where I was sitting, along with the rest of the things I was working with, and run to the door. First thing I see, a cop and two women. Ok, that’s weird… it’s like, my worst fear incarnate, but I’ve been doing so well, I just don’t get it. As I’m staring at them trying to figure out what’s going on, they say they are with the local police department and child protective services. I stand there, dumbfounded as I invite them in. The realization hits that I’ve been working so hard on getting orders done and products made for Christmas that I’ve sort of let some of the household chores slide. My nice piles of laundry in the kitchen are spread out all over the floor and looking worse than usual (we are four people, thank you!), and yes, it has been too long since the dishes have been done. The kids had just gone down for a nap and I hadn’t even had the chance to finish cleaning up. I was going to spend about 20 minutes working on projects then get back to work on the house when they showed up. My mind is racing uncontrollably. They ask if I know why they are here… how should I know? I just don’t get it. I’m wracking my brain trying to think of what the reason could be, but I can’t even wrap my mind around the English language (it’s the only language I know)!! I explain that I really don’t, so they tell me that someone called because they were concerned because our daughter said that her daddy hit her on the back of the head, and there was a mark! They asked if I knew what they were talking about, and my mind runs through all the horrible things I’ve witnessed L do, but that really isn’t something I’ve ever been aware of. All I can think of is when our 2-year-old son pushed our 4-year-old daughter over several weeks ago and she hit her head on the coffee table. Later that day, we were at L’s parent’s house and our daughter brought it up and said her head still hurt, so I took another look at it and thought it was a huge lump, but then I realized she had a matching lump on the other side of her head. It was just in that spot at the base of the neck, and it looked fine, just a bit red. I mentioned that to the social workers, and as I’m saying it, I start wondering if there’s any way to say that it wasn’t L without sounding guilty. They seemed concerned about where the kids were. I explained that they had just gone down for their nap. They asked if I would allow them to see the kids, and I said of course. They wanted to talk to me a bit more, though, and look around my place. They walked around taking pictures.

I don’t know if you’ve ever taken pictures of a messy house, but let me tell you, no matter how benign the mess may look to you, it always looks 10% worse in a picture. It’s the same principle as the camera adding 10 pounds, or how when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, you think you look good, but if someone takes a picture of you at some point during the day, when you see it, you think “wth, there’s no way I look that horrible!” After taking pictures of my messy house and pointing out the obvious insanity of it, they asked all kinds of questions. Yes, I may be a terrible person for defending L through all of it, but really, he isn’t anywhere near as bad as they were making him out to be. I explained that he had anger issues, that we’ve been trying to work out a separation and divorce for the past year, and when they asked why, I told them that with all the issues we’ve had, I just don’t have feelings for him anymore. Then came the questions about me…

“Do you suffer from any mental illness?” Well, yeah, of course I do. I’ve never tried to hide it. I have OCD and depression. “Do you take medication for that?” Yeah, I take Zoloft. “And are you in counseling?” Well, no… (crap, why does that suddenly sound so bad?) “And why not?” Well, because my last doctor was a loon, and I couldn’t stand her, but I’m not going to tell you that… ok, because I felt as though I wasn’t getting what I needed out of the counseling and was making more progress on my own focusing on the things that I felt would really make a difference in my life. My counselor wanted to work through the OCD, but I felt as though I had a decent handle on that for the time being and really wanted to work on pushing myself toward independence. “So, it was against their orders for you to leave?” What? No! That’s not what I said! That’s not what I meant! When I left, she seemed like she was ok with me leaving. She didn’t seem concerned and said she felt I had made good progress. “We were informed that you have a fear of leaving the house. Is that true, do you never leave the house?” Well, yeah, I have agoraphobia, but I’ve been working through it. When the weather is nice, I take the kids out to the park… (at this point, the tears start rolling) I know I sound crazy, I understand that the therapist knows what she’s doing, and was doing her job, but I just feel like I’ve made so much more progress on my own! “So, who takes the kids to the doctors?” When they need to go, L takes us, or our friend R will take us. “So, you go with them?” Yes, of course I do! I have trouble leaving, but it’s only when I’m alone. I get scared that I’ll get lost. I’ve gotten lost before. Really lost. And that panic comes back every time I go out without another adult. I’ve pushed myself to do it, though. To go out and not go far, but get comfortable and familiar with my surroundings alone so that I can keep branching out. “If you and your husband divorce, who will take the kids to their appointments?” Really? This has anything to do with the current situation? Well, I will. I will ask a friend for help, or I will take the bus or walk. Why do they think I’m so absolutely incompetent?

At this point, my sweet little girl comes out of my room because she hears me crying and people talking and she’s worried about her mama. I get down on my knees and she runs down the hall into my arms. I tell her that some new friends came by to visit her and that everything is ok. She asks why I’m crying, and I tell her that mama’s just a little sad, but that everything is alright. They ask her if she can give us a little more time alone, so she goes back to my room. I can’t imagine walking out after all the loud knocking, to your mom crying and THREE huge, male police officers and two serious looking women standing around wouldn’t be traumatizing. They ask if I feel capable of taking care of the kids. Well, yeah, I do! I really do. I am stressed, but who wouldn’t be? Who isn’t at some point? It’s Christmas, we have no money for gifts for the kids, but we’re barely making ends meet and we always have good food in our bellies and gas in the car, I’m going crazy trying to get a business going to I can stand on my own two feet, but loving every minute of it, I’m trying to do all the housework on my own, homeschooling my kids, and everything else life brings my way… yeah, I’m stressed, but I’m dealing with it.

“Oh, ok, and do you have trouble getting out of bed in the mornings?” No, I get up with the kids every morning. (Of course I have trouble getting up, but I do it. My kids come first. They are my world, and I would never lay in bed while they fend for themselves… I mean, really?!) “Give us an example of a typical day.” What? Um… ok… well, crap, why did my mind just go blank? We get up, between 6 and 6:30, have breakfast… I don’t know… we play, we draw… it’s just normal stuff. I do my daughter’s workbooks with her… we have lunch at noon, they play for a bit to get their energy out, take a nap at 1… “Ok, can we see the kids now?” Yes, of course. They are in separate rooms for their nap time. My daughter doesn’t take naps anymore, so she plays on my phone in my room and rests while her brother sleeps in their room. That way, she doesn’t wake him up. As we enter my room, “Hi, sweetie, is this YOUR room?” Ok, my daughter is FREAKED! I sit on the bed with her and hold her on my lap. I explain again that it’s my room. Ugh, there are clean clothes all over the floor in my room. I don’t have a dresser and the kids kept taking all their clothes off the hangers and throwing them all over the place, so I finally just started keeping all our clothes in my room. This can’t look good. Plus, add in the guitars and other large items that the kids aren’t allowed to play with, so they stay in my room, I’m realizing how bad my house really is. It isn’t to me because I understand why things are where they are and why. “Oh, so this is your mommy’s room? Do you *like* spending time in your mommy’s room?” Wth?! What are you implying? The only time she spends in there is rest time. She sleeps in her room at night. She doesn’t answer, I explain that she’s really shy, but that she warms up quickly.

Here’s where she gets really freaked out. “Sweetie, do you have an ouchie on your head?” Daughter says no. “Can you show us?” Wow, she’s 4! She’s not going to understand the concept of showing you something that isn’t there… So, I explain to her that I need to show them the back of her head, I lean her forward and move her hair out of the way. I show where the red mark had been, and I point out that she has the same lump on the other side. The social worker takes a picture and then looks all over the back of her head, feeling around for anything else. She says that she thinks the lump is just the lump that everyone has, shows the picture to her coworker, who says she doesn’t see anything. “There’s nothing there.” “Sweetie, are you afraid of your daddy?” Daughter says no. She says she loves her daddy, and they ask to see my son.

Oh man… that room is a mess, too! The kids room is full of their toys… and our daughter’s bed is a foam mattress on the floor. They like to take the sheets and blankets off of it and use it to make forts. That can’t look good. I’m beyond talking, though. No matter what I say, I’m just the crazy woman who is incapable of taking care of her own children and is covering for her abusive husband. They take a picture of my son, sleeping in his crib. The flash wakes him up, he looks up at strange people standing around him and no mama in sight… I have to stand outside the room while all 5 people shuffle out into the living room before I can get in to comfort him. I bring him out wrapped in a blanket. His newest skill is undressing himself. The house is warm, and I cover him well, so I just go with it when it’s nap time. He wants to wear a diaper to bed during the day and nothing else, so be it. I’m saving my energy for an important battle. I’m sure it doesn’t look good to them, though. I explain that he likes to take his clothes off and he’s learning to get himself dressed, as well. They just smile and nod. The two women and two police officers step outside to talk.

I’m standing awkwardly in the hallway with my son in my arms and my daughter clinging to my leg, staring at the third police officer. He tells my daughter that his daughter has the same name. I ask how old she is, and he looks at me like he’s surprised I have the mental capacity to form even the most trivial question like that. He tells me she’s 6 months old. I smile and tell him that that’s the start of my favorite time, when they start to really develop their personalities and they start really learning new things, and you can see that click when they discover something for the first time. It’s just amazing! He looks at me like there’s no way I could no that, there’s no way I could identify with him when it comes to children. I’m a bad parent, he isn’t. I realize at that moment, no matter what, I just went from taking all these giant strides and becoming the independent, mentally sound woman who I want to be, to being less than human in the eyes of everyone around me.

The social workers come back in. One takes my daughter off to the side and talks to her for a bit while the other one explains that my kids can’t stay here with me. I break down crying. Obviously… who wouldn’t? She explains that the house needs to get cleaned up. Yeah, I realize that. I hadn’t quite looked at it under a microscope until you showed up at my door, lady. And then she explains that I need counseling. I’m not sure why she feels it’s so important. I realize she doesn’t know me. But did I really sound that crazy? I mean, yeah, I was having issues processing everything, but the whole thing was such a shock. While she’s talking to me, my mind is going through a million other things, so I’m sure I seemed a bit out of it, but I felt that I articulated myself well, and honestly, if this had happened a year ago, it probably would have set me back so horribly. I would have ended up in the hospital, I’m sure. But, I’ve come so far in my self-discovery and healing, that I actually feel like I’m handling this well. I am scared. I am sad. I am angry. But I am strong. I will do whatever it takes to get through this and get my kids back.

The house is almost done. The social worker will be back on Friday at 2:30 to meet with me again and to check out the house. Then she will decide if the kids can come home. They are still in our custody, they are just staying with friends. It’s not the end of the world, and I am prepared to do everything they ask of me to prove that I am a strong, capable woman. I can take care of my kids. They have everything they need. I will work harder to keep up with the housework.

L came home from work when I told him what had happened. The social worker called and talked to him. She explained why she had been here, and then said that when they questioned our daughter again, her story had changed and she had said she had actually slipped on a cracker and hit her head on the coffee table. They realized that it probably wasn’t a true story since it changed so drastically. Isn’t it wonderful how the tall tales of a four-year-old can be so blown out of proportion? When she was talking to L on the phone, her biggest concern seemed to be my mental health. I was working through my problems at my own pace, one that I was comfortable with, but I’m no longer on my own time… now I’m on their time, and I know life is going to get a lot more complicated, and quite a bit more scary, but I’m ok with that. I will work through it and make the most of it. Maybe I’ll just end up being who I want to be a little bit sooner. Babies, hold on, Mama’s going to make sure everything will be alright! You are my lights, my loves. I missed singing to you tonight, and your sweet hugs and kisses. I love you with all my heart, and I’ll see you soon. Mama will make everything better, and you’ll get to come home, and I won’t screw up again.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »