Crying Times

I learned this past week that sometimes the smallest or strangest things can knock down walls. I was out running errands and I stopped to meet a lady and pick up some children’s clothing she was selling. I was getting a huge bag for a small price, and though it contained an unsorted variety, I figured I could sort through, take what “Bug” needed, and pass on the rest. As we approached the storage unit she was keeping them in and she pushed the door up, I was taken off guard by a piece of fabric. There peeking out of a big black bag was a small bit of fabric, maybe 3 or 4 inches of peach and brown stripes with a tiny floral pattern and bits of blue. I’m not sure what all the lady was saying, something about the fact she had plenty of bags if I needed more, and that she also had bags of women’s tops available, but I just kept staring at the fabric. Suddenly I burst out, asking if I could buy this blouse. Here we are, at this door for less than a minute, and I’m asking to buy something else, almost sight-unseen. I looked at her, and she had this puzzled look on her face. I was trying to contain my overwhelming emotion, NOT to cry. I tried to gather myself, and calmly explain that this fabric, this pattern, were on a shirt my daughter used to wear. I say tried because my rambling words went around in circles until I finally started bawling and blurted out that she was in prison… I said the word prison to a complete stranger! I try to stick with incarcerated… It sounds less harsh in my own mind, I guess… As a mother herself, the lady reacted with such compassion, she reached into the bag and GAVE the blouse to me. I clutched it, trying to turn off the tears, and calm my body. After leaving, I began to think about this shirt, and how we have so few things that Bec wore. I did save a scarf/sash and another blouse that got in with Bug’s things, but this pattern and fabric I remember very well. I clutched the shirt for a while as I drove to pick up my husband. I tried to think about why it set me off, and how I could make something from it. It’s been sitting by my bed for a few days. I’m still trying to decide what I’m going to do with it. It’s not Bec’s shirt, it just looks like it. Maybe I will make something out of it, maybe I will put it away with all of Bug’s important paperwork. Whatever I do, that shirt has a story to help me tell others.  A story of a mothers pain and a daughters journey…. and neither of those has found it’s destination yet…

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Keeping Mommy near…

When “Bug” came   to live with us, I experimented many times with how to deal with this issue, of a child remembering  her missing parent. Knowing how visual children are, I knew she needed photos, and so I started going through all my photos, choosing ones where “Bec” was smiling. I don’t remember how many sets we went through, trying them in zippy bags, small photo albums, etc. A 2 year old can be really hard on pictures!!!! I settled on laminating pouches you can get at any store. We printed off the pics,trimmed them,  insterted them in the pouches and they were good to go. They have lasted thru slobbery chewing, messy hands, spilt drinks and snack crumbs. “Bug” has pictures of mommy in her diaper bag, in her play purse and in her room. She can transport them where ever she goes and I can find then quickly!  I have other pictures hung up like anyone else would.

Face-to-Face

Sitting in the warm sun watching a grandchild play while sharing a piece of cheesecake with your daughter might sound like a lovely way to spend a Saturday, but it must be taken in context.

The context of a pass through a metal detector and crossing through 4 electric gates surrounded by 15 foot chain-link fencing topped with razor wire puts a different light on the day.  This was my first trip to prison, it is was emotionally overwhelming. Parts of the visit went smoother that expected, and parts were much more difficult.

We had visited “Bec” many times as she sat in a county jail waiting for the outcome of all that was going on. She actually gave up her right to a speedy trial, and so sat in that county jail for a year an a half. A year and a half of 12 minute phone calls and visits that were just like you see on t.v. Both of us on a phone, with a thick, wire-enforced glass between us. Trying to get a small child to stay in a 3 foot square and talk into a phone was a great challenge. “Bug” never could understand why mommy’s voice was in the phone when she was right in front of us or how she couldn’t get into that next room. This day was so much better. When we finally got to the day-room” “Bug” ran and hugged her mommy and crawled up on her lap like she had just seen her the day before. It confirmed for me that I was doing a decent job at keeping them connected and her mother fresh on her mind. “Bug” sang and danced and told funny stories and crawled around acting like a puppy or hiding under the chairs. She acted “normal”.

“Bec” and I made small talk, discussed “Bug’s” need for a haircut (there was an incident with scissors a few months back that needs to be evened up) and talked about all the opportunities “Bec” has available to her – to better herself.I did pray continually during and after the visit, because I didn’t want to say anything other than what God wanted me to, and I was able to take a few moments to talk to “Bec” about other things – to ask her to forgive me for past failures – not following God closer when she was small, and for a period of rebellion I had after her dad and I divorced. I also shared face to face with her what I had already written to her, that sometimes I have battled being angry with sometimes for the position she has put all of in. She responded well to all of this, and recalled the letter that much of that was written in.

The hard part was seeing other visitors, and hearing them talk about how many years they had been doing this same thing. And then there was the “aftermath” of the visit – coming to grips with time, and finding a safe outlet for the emotion -In the days following, I actually chose to watch some “wedding makeover” shows! They make me cry, so I knew it would be a way to  let the tears flow – Sometime I feel that tears build up, and when you can’t let them out when you should, you have to find another way to let them out…. That’s just me!

A wonderful thing that happened was having so many people checking on me with texts, phone calls, and internet messages. When all this began, God kept pushing me to surround myself with good healthy relationships that would support me, and I thank Him for that!!!!! Without God, and my family and friends and church and Celebrate Recovery…. I don’t know how I could make it!!!

First Post… the journey begins

Most women blessed with a child while in their mid-40’s would be overjoyed, but this child arrived amid great sorrow.

She is not my own – she is my grand daughter, brought to me through a  tragedy in my own daughter’s  life. But, even in this horrible situation, she is in some odd way, an answer to prayer and I cherish her.

More than 12 years ogo, when my own life capsized , while I was floating along, clinging to bits of wreckage, I prayed and asked G0d for another chance. A chance to do things right, perhaps to right wrongs, to raise another child differently than I raised the first 3.

This blog is a way for me to share my personal thoughts while dealing with all the emotions involved with raising a grandchild & dealing with an incarcerated child…. If someone tells you a different story, it’s their own.

This part of the journey began May 23, 2010 when we took a 3 hour drive to pick up our grand daughter, (We will call her “Bug”) after receiving a desperate phone call from my daughter “Bec”.

The name for this blog comes from the Scripture God gave me in the weeks following that overwhelming trip. He has helped me to focus daily on the Blessings Instead of the pain, grief, and guilt, while promising me restoration and renewal.

Isaiah 61:1-4

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
 instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
 instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
  instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins

and restore the places long devastated;

they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.