Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Alcoholism is like Glue
This past weekend I reconnected with two old friends. One I have known for about 15 years and keep in touch on at least a yearly basis. The other I've known for about 10 but have not talked to in about 6.
The thing that stood out in my mind is that although my friends have moved on and been successful in their lives, I have stayed in the same stuck spot, and even slide back at times.
At first I justified it by saying I have two small children, but then I realized both of them have children.
In fact, one was in prison the last time we spoke. And I was helping care for her 6-year-old daughter.
I was pregnant at the time with my son and the demands on me became too much, which I regret now very much. My former husband's nephew had married a woman with a young daughter who I became very fond of. I would often babysit her, but it never felt much like babysitting - I adored the girl, and I loved to spend time with her.
The problem began when my nephew called me from jail and said that they had been arrested for selling (and later I found out manufacturing) Meth. I had no idea. This was another time in my life when I was completely naive about drugs. I knew he often had a lot of cash, but he told me he was selling cars, and I believed him. Many of the Lebanese I knew often had a lot of cash because they generally don't use credit cards. And no one in my former husband's family used drugs, or really even drank alcohol, so this was not something I would ever expect from him.
So, I was in for the shock of my life - and began visiting him in jail, and later in prison. Those are interesting stories in and of themselves. I never thought I'd find myself visiting jail or prison, especially pregnant. I was very pregnant the last time I visited him with my ex-husband. Then he was deported.
In any case, the girls grandmother and I were appointed to help raise the girl while her mother served her time. The grandmother being the primary guardian and me more as backup. However, "Grandma" wasn't really what this woman wanted to be. She was still partying. She viewed the girl as more of a burden than a granddaughter. It was horrifying.
Looking back, I wish I would have taken the girl in completely on my own. It is a huge regret I have in my life. I was overwhelmed with my own pregnancy and dealing with an alcoholic, which was also something new to me. I finally snapped when her mother called me from prison and told me Grandma needed more time to go out and party. I was asked to give up my plans at the last minute, again, to watch the girl. Looking back, my plans seem insignificant. But at the time, I was pissed and I told her mother no.
I never heard back from them again. I tried calling her at her Grandmother's home, but my calls were never returned.
Over the years, I have thought about the girl often and wondered what became of her. On Saturday, I mentioned her to my husband again. He had spent time with her as well and also had fond memories of her. He told me that God always watches out for children. I told him, that's not true. So many children are molested, raped, killed, abused...
In any case, yesterday, I found her mother on Facebook. She is thriving. She is completing her MBA and JD to become an Attorney. She has travelled all over the world. She looks great. And most important, her daughter looks like she has grown up to be a beautiful girl. She's a cheerleader. She looks happy.
I still haven't filled in all the blanks yet, but I am happy to have found them again. I never would have thought her mother could have gone from where she came from to where she is now, but it was a true lesson in grace and in not judging people based on their past.
But at the same time, it also made me feel like crap.
Once again I gave up something important to me. It reminded me that I have not travelled the world in these 8 years. I have not gone anywhere.
I finished my MBA before I had my son, but I never did a damn thing with it. Aside from raising my children, I have largely stopped living and stopped dreaming.
I am raising children in an environment that places no value on my hard work and the sacrifices I have made. So, while intellectually I believe in the value of raising my children, I don't feel that my time has been valued.
I am stuck like glue to this life that I have created with my husband. And I resent it.