Thursday, August 18, 2016

To Samantha, As My Heart Breaks

So, yesterday morning I discovered you have blocked me on Facebook, and today I discovered that you are referring to me as toxic to you and your children. You have no idea how much both of those things hurt me, or how much I've cried--not just the last two days, but the last week since you and Annamea left here.

I hope that you will read this letter and tell me exactly which of these things were so toxic, and which of them justify my no longer having contact with you or Annamea.

From the time I found out you were on the way, you were loved---and since we'd spent over a year trying to have you by then, you were definitely wanted, as well. I know that your childhood was never an easy one, but you and I both know that there was always one person who fought for you no matter the situation, who was always on your side....and that person was your mother.

No matter how often your father disappointed you with broken promises, I refused to say anything against him to you. I told you that I was sure he loved you, in his way, and that having a different relationship was something the two of you would have to work out for yourselves. I never kept you from spending time with him, or talking to him on the phone, no matter how many times he tried to convince you and your brother otherwise.

When you went through several years of traumatic experiences during your visits with your father, which you weren't able to fully disclose until you were six years old, I was the adult in your life who believed you without question, the adult who made sure you got all the help you needed to deal with it, the adult who defended you when others in your life called you a "fucking little liar" or told others that you had made similar claims about other people doing the same things to you. And I was the one who had to comfort you when your father hired a lawyer to defend your stepsister AND sent a letter from his attorney that he was going to suspend visitation with you and your brother, which he did for an entire year.

When your father and stepmother insisted you needed to be held back in second grade because you weren't "socially ready" to move on, even though you had all As and Bs and were academically amazing, I was the person who contacted a child psychologist and had her list all the reasons why holding you back would be detrimental to your future in school, and who tried to stop your father and stepmother from going through with it. And when you basically gave up on school after that, I was the one who kept trying to encourage you, to remind you of how smart you were (and still are), and who always believed that you could do it.

When you were diagnosed with ADHD, I was the one who tried everything the doctors suggested to try to keep you off medication. I made behavior charts, bought you prizes when you reached your sticker goals, changed the entire family's diet for nearly a year, made sure you got lots of time outside to "work off" your excess energy, etc. And when we finally went the medication route, and I saw a change in your behavior the very first day, I was the one who felt GUILTY for not putting you on it immediately after the diagnosis.

When you started telling stories that weren't true, and got CPS called on me several times, I took it in stride and put it down to you having trouble dealing with your father's inattention. Even when you lied about your sister doing something to you, claiming you had to spend a week in the hospital because of it, I was easier on you than I probably should have been, because I felt bad about all the things you'd had to go through in life.

When you reached your eighteenth birthday and decided you didn't want to live in our house and follow our rules, I let you go, even though it broke my heart, because you were an adult. When you decided to drop out of high school, I didn't make a big deal of it, as I knew you were fabulous at test taking (after all, you had scored an 18 on the ACT in junior high) and presumed you would take the GED shortly after dropping out, pass with flying colors and be able to go on to college and take the courses you were looking forward to rather than the ones you were being forced into in high school.

Over the next few months, how many times did I let you come back home--and how many times did you walk out again just because you didn't want to follow the house rules of a decent curfew, getting a job, and taking your GED?  You burned bridges with nearly everyone else you knew, but you always had a safe place to fall with me, time and time again.

Even when you moved to South Carolina, and started referring to virtual strangers as your family, I was always there when you called to vent, or when you needed advice. I missed you like crazy, but I was hopeful that you would find yourself and create a life that made you happy.

When you, Andy and Micheal came to Ohio and needed a place to stay, we never hesitated to take you in....even though we had to support all three of you for the next several months as neither you nor Andy made any real effort to get a job or contribute to the household. When we finally asked for money from you, you packed up the next day and moved to Michigan rather than act like responsible adults.

In spite of that, when you and Andy were having marital problems, and you wanted to leave, it was our house that was open to you yet again. We asked only that get a job, get your driver's license, and get your GED--and I was willing to watch Micheal for free while you worked toward all those goals.  You put in very little effort toward any of them, and after a few months decided it would be easier just to go back to Michigan.

All of which brings us to your relationship with Terrance and his family. From the very beginning, he has been mean to Micheal, yelling at him, hitting him, and behaving like a child when dealing with Micheal's toys--taking toys away from him and then playing with them himself in front of Micheal, or breaking his favorite toys as a form of "discipline."  Instead of sticking up for Micheal and putting a stop to it, you ignored it, made excuses for it, or denied it even happened. And he has never treated you much better, throwing ridiculous tantrums (threatening to throw out every dish in the house because he found a dirty spoon in the dish drainer), hitting you, trying to hook up with other girls right under your nose, doing dumb things to get put in jail so that you had to take care of yourself, the kids, and his financial responsibilities on your own, etc.

Let's not forget that you've let him and his mother treat me like garbage all this time as well. How many times have you and I been talking on Facebook, joking like we always do with each other, and the two of them have jumped into the conversation, cursing me, telling me what a horrible mother I've been, accusing me of throwing you out of my house and never being on  your side, etc?  And where would they get those ideas unless YOU were telling them those things about me?

Yet, a week and a half ago, when Terrance slapped you and then punched you in the eye, and when they were threatening to take Annamea away from you, who did you again turn to for help? Yep, your "horrible mother." So your best friend and I made the trip up there, got the two of you, and brought you back here---and I don't know about Sarah, but I never even heard a "Thank you."

If you would have stayed here, you would have had generous visits with Micheal whenever he was out of school, you would have had a job by now that would have at least been something to help out with expenses until you could get something better, you would have been in a GED class, you would have been learning to drive, you would have been free to make any and all decisions for yourself and Annamea---and most importantly, you would never have had to worry again about Terrance or his mother putting their hands on your or either one of your children.

But less than 48 hours after you got here, you started talking about wanting to go "home" to the your "family" and your "real friends." Even when you were told that going back would result in you losing any and all custody of Micheal, your only response was "I know."  Is that really all having him in your life means to you?

Last Thursday afternoon, Terrance and his father showed up to take the two of you back to Michigan. This "man" who supposedly loves you two so much, and is supposedly willing to change to make you happy, sat on his butt in the truck while you carried out all the bags and boxes of your belongings and loaded them into the truck.

I've cried for you and your children ever since and Annamea because I know you're both in a dangerous situation, and I am scared that they will find a way to take her from you and toss you out on the street, and Micheal because he's going to lose his mother and his baby sister, and he's going to feel like he doesn't matter to you anymore.

I know, deep in my heart, that someday you're going to need to come home again.....right now, though, I don't know if I'll ever be able to open my heart to this sort of pain again, or if this time you've finally burned the last little rope bridge you had left.

No matter what, though, know that I love you. I always have, I always will.


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