Friday, June 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home, again and again...

I have been taking an inventory of my son's short life, and all that he has been through. I wonder-- is it in my D.N.A. for my son to be exposed to so much trauma so early in life?

B's life started out as a very happy and worry-free life for him. When he came into the world, November 1988, I felt that I had been given the most precious gift of my life. My anticipation of the miracle of birth was filled with me reading books on gestation, delivery and child-rearing. B's father wasn't as excited as I was, however. He felt that we could not afford to have a child, but me-- the hopeless optimist-- was not going to do anything to endanger the child that was growing inside me. I gave up riding my horses, so that I would not risk harm to my child.

When B was born, I became a stay-at-home mom. I immersed myself into taking him to "Mommy & Me" classes with his cousin, who is 3 months older than him. I joined "Gymboree" and I delighted in dressing my son is "Osh Kosh" outfits-- matching socks, his beautiful head of hair combed in a cute boy's cut. B and I went everywhere, and he was the perfect child. I mean that. He skated right through the Terrible Two's without the tantrums I was forewarned would hit. He was a picky eater, but we managed to find a compromise in that he'd eat his pureed carrots along with a few bites of his favorite apple sauce, in between.

The first trauma to hit my son was the day I returned from a weekend trip to Disneyland-- December 16, 1995. I had taken my son, my brother and his daughter on a vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth. When we returned, the house was emptied of all the furniture-- except for a sectional couch, the Christmas Tree, one television and the bed. My clothing was in cardboard boxes on the floor. The dining room was empty-- the antique furniture I had lovingly restored (it had belonged to B's father's mom) was gone. My husband wasn't home, either.

As I the reality that my house had been robbed, I reached for the phone to call 9-1-1. I remember my brother gently holding my arm and handing me a letter.

B's father had left us. While we were gone, he had packed up the house and moved to an apartment. He left a book "Baby Dino Gets A Divorce" and a letter to my son-- who was 7 years old at the time. That was, obviously, very tragic for my son.

The divorce ended with me losing any interest in the house completely. I received no alimony and no child support. After I was ordered to leave the house, B's father and his new girlfriend (who was my former girlfriend and employee) moved back into the house. They married a year later. What happened between then and now is something I might share in this blog-- but not now.

So, Custody was split between B's father and me. That was the beginning of our son living in two different homes, with different sets of rules.

By the age of 12, the sweet innocent boy who made me feel like I was the center of his universe morphed into being a sassy tween who figured he was the center of MY universe. Recently, my son revealed to me that is when he began to smoke weed. B focuses on this period of his life, as though this is where our mother/son relationship first began. I say that, because in therapy sessions (with me) he'd say "you and I never got along". It's painful and frustrating to hear these words come out of his mouth. Does he even remember all the wonderful times we spent together, I often wonder...

It was also at the age of 12, that B was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. He had to learn how to inject himself with the insulin that would keep him alive. He inherited this from his father, who also has the disease.

A big moment that affect my son, and his family, was the night he was carjacked. I remember that night well-- February 17, 2005.

B had left my house after eating dinner with us-- he was living with his father after one of many "fights" we had. He was headed to "the lake" to fish for the weekend with some friends. Off he went, with a plate of food to give to his friend. About an hour later, I received a phone call from B's father who blurted out "B has been carjacked" and he was injured. I was horrified and in shock. I was reassured that B was okay, but that his truck was gone.

A short while later, my son was driven to my home by his dad. My son's face was swollen, he had cuts and his new shirt was torn--he refused to go to the hospital. The story I got was that he was waiting in the parking lot of the grocery store where his friend worked. B was on his cellphone, when his door was jerked open and he was yanked out of his truck. He was attacked by three boys (two of whom he recognized as students from his school). That was a very long night for all of us-- dealing with a police department that made no effort to look for his truck, and who did not consider these crime a priority. My numerous phone calls resulted in finding that his truck was abandoned 30 miles away and had been towed to an impound area. I remember my tall, 16 year old son, holding my hand at the police station because he was in shock. Late into the night, B's injuries were photographed and statements were taken.

Two of the boys were arrested-- one was 17 and the other 18, at the time. The third one was never identified. The whole trial is a long and interesting story. I'll share that later.

I want to tie up the purpose of today's posting and why I chose the title that I did.

My son's life was consisted of a traumatic divorce, a diagnosis of diabetes, a carjacking-- and now, he has revealed to me his adventures of dealing and buying drugs in a very scary area of East Salinas. He has told me how he's been robbed, threatened with guns, attacked, and been threatened by the local gang members who wanted a percentage of what he was selling on "their turf". How much of this is completely true and accurate is questionable. Then again, Salinas has 15 murders since January...all of it is gang related.

And now... B has made it past his 60 days of sobriety. He lived for 3 1/2 weeks in a Sober Living Environment until he moved to a new home in Benicia. I was so excited for him. But, it turned out that his new "landlord" was a violent and angry drunk. So, B had to flee with is roommate from his first SLE.

I continue to marvel at how God works in his power and omnipotent wisdom. I received a phone call from my son, last night. He shared with me the horror of watching a person he thought was a new "friend" turn on him, his roommate and the person who came to clean the carpets. My son was afraid for his safety, and his roommate did not want to be anywhere near someone who is drinking. Because they did not want to risk their sobriety by being anywhere near alcohol or drugs, they bailed and lost the rent money they had given him.

B is so excited about his new apartment. I viewed the website, and I have to say-- God has moved B and "A" into a really nice place. They have very little furniture, but I have stored some furniture for the day I anticipated B moving into his own place.

To add to my joy, a check arrived from the 18 year old who attacked my son. This kid served one year in jail for his crime against my son. He owes $7000.00 in restitution payments, but he has three years to pay it. A small check arrived. Today, I will deposit it into a special account that I use for my son's needs. I can't think of a better need for him right now. I continue to praise God for the many miracles he has done to help my son.

As a mom, I wish my son's young life was not filled with so much trauma. However, I believe that God uses our struggles to draw us nearer to Him and to help us learn and grow.

I am proud of my son's progress and his success in staying away from drugs and alcohol. I pray that B's new home will be one that will last a long time-- and that God will bless the friendship he has formed with "A".

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (New King James Version)

The Value of a Friend

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I am thankful to my gracious God, who hears and answers prayers on behalf of B.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to read of B's good progress. It has not been easy for anyone involved here. God is faithful and we must always remember to praise and thank Him for all things and situations. I will keep you all in my prayers and thoughts...