Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Letter to My Daughter

I just logged onto my blog and... has it really been over two years since I posted?? I guess a lot happens in two years. Unfortunately for my family it hasn't been all roses and candy.

My oldest daughter has taken the wrong path in life... apparently it's my fault. There was a time when she was young that I left her in care of my brother and sister-in-law. They were great - treated her like their own daughter, going overboard on the spoiling (in my opinion) - and they loved her. She blames me for abandoning her - last night she told me I had no right to try to be her mother now because I wasn't her mother then. Her siblings went to stay with my mom - all my children were out of state to where I lived... she being the closest with an 8 hour drive. The path she has chosen has led to juvie (on more than one occasion) and now residential shelter until a placement home with the state comes available. She broke my heart when she said I wasn't her mother. Then she blamed me... for moving her to this state - for the choices that we made to help our family - for her choices. I should mention that I am the one that has repeatedly reported her to the police - twice for theft and once for probation violations. Yesterday, I caught wind of her Twitter account and called the shelter to find out how my child could possibly have internet access when she's locked up... resulting in her being disciplined (with good reason - she deserved it). I feel bad that I am the one that has been the "bad guy" but I don't feel bad that I did the right thing in any of the cases. She needs to learn to take responsibility - she's 16 years old, soon to be 17. I am sad that her version of what happened is so sad for her...  I told her that's not how I remember things. I remember things a lot differently so I wrote her this letter and mailed it today....  

Kodi Lyne – 

You can blame me for all the bad things that you’ve chosen to do with your life. That’s fine. You want someone to be mad at – well here I am. Just remember one thing… in all the bad stuff you’ve done, I’ve been the one person that has not given up(until you said I was no longer your mom), the one person that was always here for you. I never let you go without seeing or talking to me – even when you were locked up… even when you were in Good Shepard… even when you didn’t like me… I was the ONE person that never gave up on you. Then you tell me that if it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t be the person you are – wouldn’t have made the stupid choices you did. I guess if I’d known that I was going to drive you to make horrible life changing and life crumbling choices then I would have just stopped caring a long time ago. But I didn’t! 

Then you tell me I don’t have a right to be your mom because you aren’t living with me?? Really? Because when you were living with me you still weren’t letting me be your mom – you always thought you could do so much better. Apparently my rules didn’t count for much – you hate the rules anyway right. You say that I LET you do whatever you wanted?? I never LET you start roaming the town until you started refusing to come home – that would have been when you were in 9th grade by the way. Because in 8th grade I did my absolute best to keep you on the straight and narrow. 

You want to know what I remember? I remember not being able to wait to have a baby. I remember being so excited that I was going to have a little girl. I remember you being a stubborn little girl from the beginning. I remember you being a smart little girl. I remember all the smiles. I remember being proud of you. That’s what I remember.

I remember the horrible summer when we had a babysitter named Molly. I remember her being mean to you girls and stealing from our family. I remember that I didn’t have a choice because I needed someone there to watch you three and I couldn’t afford anyone. 

I remember moving you to Kansas because I could not take care of you. I remember dad and me both working full time and still losing the house and car. I remember making a choice to send the two little ones to mom’s in September so H could go to school (she was behind and only in kindergarten) and Lil D could have a caregiver. I remember keeping you with us until February – when the school called me and said they were going to call child services if I did not find a sitter or be home when you returned from school. I remember wanting to quit my job to be with you but couldn’t afford that choice. You were in 2nd grade. That’s what I remember. I remember sending you to Aunt and Uncle’s because they offered and they could afford to give you what you needed (and wanted if I remember correctly). 

You know what I remember? I remember working until 5:00 p.m. on Friday night and driving all night to get to Kansas at 3:00 in the morning just so I could spend Saturday with you. Driving all day on Sunday so I could be back at work on Monday. I remember that I did that once, sometimes twice a month. That’s what I remember. 

 I remember seeing pictures of you, H, and Lil D and crying my eyes out because I couldn’t be there with you. Because we couldn’t be together. I remember your last soccer game of the season. You were adorable with your hair in a pony tail and your uniform. You didn’t play much but you sure looked cute. That’s what I remember.  I remember talking to you on the phone and hearing about the Valentine’s Day party at school, how Uncle helped you with your cool bird house, how Aspen (the dog) would sleep with you at night, how Aunt would take you shopping, and I remember how much I always missed you. That’s what I remember. 

I remember picking you up on the last day of school. I remember driving you to Nana’s to see the other kids. I remember you and H spending several weeks at Nana’s and a few weeks with me in Colorado. I remember making the decision to move to Kansas. I remember the heartbreak when I had to take you back to Aunt and Uncle because school was starting the following Monday. You were starting 3rd grade. I remember crying almost the whole way back home. I remember your dad leaving in the end of September to go live with you and get a job. I remember staying in Colorado so Lil D could have another eye surgery. I remember needing to stay to have money to move – I had to keep a paycheck until Dad had a job and an apartment. I remember that I gave my notice in October because I wanted to move out to be with all of you. I remember that I left Colorado on February 2 and drove straight through because I didn’t want to miss you for another day. That’s what I remember. 

I remember that apartment where we made our first long lasting friendship with the family downstairs. I remember that I drove you and H to Goddard every day just so you could stay in the same school. I remember waiting for you at the corner when you’d ride the bus back. You were in 4th grade then. I remember that you drove your teacher crazy and we found out that you worked better with ADHD medicine. I remember that we had to either move to Goddard or put you in Maize for school. I remember that we were afraid you would fall through the cracks of the school system if we kept you in Maize. I remember moving to Valley Center because it was a small town and would be wonderful to raise you kids. That's what I remember.

You know what I remember?  I remember you girls walking and riding your bikes all over town during the summer. I remember you spending hours at the swimming pool. I remember telling you that we would not move again until you all graduated so you wouldn’t have to leave your friends again. That was 5th grade. I remember staying home, getting you off the bus, volunteering at your school, going on field trips (though there were only a few before funding was stopped), going to your music programs, trying to be a good mom. That’s what I remember. 

I remember your 13th birthday party – a slumber party that I will never forget (and goldfish crackers in the toilet)! :) I remember your 14th birthday party – a party downstairs in the community center (lights out and music turned up). I remember the wax museum and how we looked everywhere for your outfit. I remember that you didn’t come home with me that night because you spent the night with your friend but I came to school for you the next day – as soon as you called me. I remember trying to be there for you. I remember you starting to push me away. I remember you dating E. That was 9th grade. I remember the cuts on your arms and my feeling of helplessness because I didn’t know what to do to help you. I remember taking you to therapy because you said it was helping. I remember the phone call at midnight on New Year’s Eve saying you were in an accident. I remember you dating Q and being so rebellious that I couldn’t control you or what you did. I remember the sleepless nights crying and worrying about what you were doing. I remember crying and praying that you were okay. That’s what I remember. 

I remember telling you, yelling at you, begging you to just stay in the house… please don’t leave! I remember the feeling of pure disappointment when I realized that you stole from me (repeatedly). I remember the police officers knocking on my door at 2 in the morning. I remember the phone calls from JIAC at midnight. I remember coming to get you no matter what time it was. I remember spending hours looking for you when you didn’t come home. I remember dragging you from Q’s time and time again. I remember you smoking until you puked – and still asking for more. I remember the sheer terror when you disappeared for days at a time. I remember thinking that the police officers were going to knock on my door and ask me to identify your body. That’s what I remember. 

I remember all the apologies, all the tears, all the “I’ll never do it again’s” that you’ve told me… I remember it all. I remember saying that I believed you – even though you looked me in the eye and lied right to my face. I remember defending you to the school, even when I knew you were wrong. I remember the tears in the court room when I couldn’t tell the judge what I wanted… I remember wanting to tell the judge that he couldn’t give me what I wanted… I just want my daughter back, to be a good person. Not just a good person but a truly good person, someone that only wanted to do the right thing and someone that would only think of others… something no one can give to me but you, Kodi. I remember the tears when I left the court room the day they said they were keeping you in custody. I remember the tears after I left you in JDF [juvenile detention facility], when I realized that you still blame me for all the bad choices you’ve made. I remember the tears and disappointment when I left JRF [juvenile residential facility], when I realized that you don’t want to change. You enjoy being the bad girl. I remember the tears when you called me and yelled at me for being a mom and turning you in – AGAIN – because all I want is for you to do the right thing. I remember the tears when you said I am not your mom. I remember the tears when you said that I can’t start being your mom after not being a mom all those years. I remember the pain that I go through every time I wonder if we did the right thing – we did what we thought was best for you and for H and for Lil D. I remember being a family in Kansas. I remember all of you (even you) being happy in Kansas. And I remember that you hate me for every choice I’ve made to help you.

I remember, Kodi – I remember because I am your mom. I will never forget that I tried to help you make good choices or that I had to be more than a mom on some days, or that I had to make the tough love choices and turn you in, or that you spent days hating me and blaming me. I remember… because I can never forget. You are my daughter. 


No comments: