Happy Thanksgiving

Quite frankly, the holiday season and I have never gotten along.  I can only stand so much of the holly jolly-ness of it all before I start to lose whatever spirit I had.  By the time they are all said and done, I pretty much am just ready to pack up all that wrapping papers, ribbon and bows – stuff it all in a bag and move on.  Because lets face it – the holidays, they never seem to end.  Until they do.  And then they are gone.

I have been called scrooge more than once, simply because I just don’t like to spend money on impulse items that never make it past the weekend.  I hate gathering around, forcing a smile, while eating food that I really don’t like.  I can take the songs and the movies – for a day or two, but after that its turn back on the loud and wild stuff that makes people cringe.  What can I say?

This year I have made a conscious effort to try and go out of my way to HOPEFULLY make this a good year for the kids.  Or, kid.  As it is in our case this year.  But today, I woke up, and felt like all of whatever holiday spirit HAD been there, was completely drained.

But its too late to back out.  I have already agreed to a hundred and one things I really do not want to do.  I have to make a ham.  I have to drive a billion and one miles to spend the day with people I don’t know, and am not even sure I want to know.  I have to force a smile.  I have to pretend I like everyone’s cooking.  That I like the house.  The people.  The smells.

And when its all said and done, I have to say thank you and drive another billion miles to share the rest of the day with the other kid who is locked up with his peers, awaiting the flight out of here.  Which is all a story for another day.  And yet another thing that takes the holiday spirit down about a hundred notches.  Because the stark contrast of the day will be just that.

Me.  And them.

Us.  And the others.

A few hours spent forcing smiles, laughing, eating and drinking until we roll ourselves out of the house vowing to never eat so much food again…before walking up the steps to a house filled with kids who have done something stupid in their young lives, and been placed in a home because no one really knows what or how to deal with them.

There will be families I don’t know, yet am connected with an invisible cord because we are all walking down this road of many different paths together.  There will be fake smiles, for sure.  But there will also be the stark reality of what is truly happening.  The underlying, no denying – we are spending thanksgiving with our kids, who are wandering the dangerous edges of life.

Sure.  We are thankful.  Thankful that he was found when he was found.  Thankful for hospitals, and doctors.  Thankful for therapist.  Thankful for medications, and people who know so much more than me.  Thankful for another chance that seems so utterly terrifying.  Thankful.  That I didn’t have to say good-bye, yet again.  Thankful for the terrifying chance to do it all over again.  Thankful, yet scared.  Petrified.  Terrified.

I will spend the day with people I do not know, because I want that sense of normalcy.  That slice of happiness.  That “this could have been.”  Because I like to torture myself with all such things impractical.  I will spend the day with them because back when the holiday spirit was alive and well, I agreed to come.  To cook what I was asked, and arrive at the time suggested.

I will avoid questions that make me cringe, and drive the conversation towards others.  I will smile, a lot.  And laugh, at the most inappropriate times – because that’s how I roll in awkward social settings.  I will hold my breath and hope with everything in me that someone doesn’t have a melt down.  And then, when the time is right and we have over stayed our visit – we will leave.

And spend the rest of our time in a home.  With one boy who I thought I knew, but really don’t.

And then we will go home, cook our own turkey, turn out the lights and go to bed early.  And be thankful.  That for at least another day – we have the chance to fake it, until we make it.

The Latest in Therapy

He grumps his way through the morning, obviously something is a miss, but with the way things have been going lately, I can’t really blame him.  I try to help him avoid conflict, but at some point during the day, be it the socks, the cereal, the position of the rain – its inevitable.  He’s going to have himself a break down.  A full blown break down.  The ones that come when everything has just been piled on, higher and higher – until the smallest of things can break it.

I understand these kinds of break downs, and so I carefully navigate the confusion of the day with him.  Trying to give him the tools he might need to combat it himself, not wanting to overwhelm or smother him, but not wanting to leave him at it alone either.

Sometimes, I tell myself, it can work both ways.  The small things can help, and they can also break the entire day.  In today’s case, the small things broke the day.  The pressure of having to not only get dressed this morning, but go out of the house was too much, and by the time we made it to school – I knew it wouldn’t be long until I got called back.  That gut feeling, they call it.  I suppose.

Maybe I should have just taken him home and let him have the day off.  After all it has been a hectic, crazy few weeks and I know he too, is struggling.  With way more than anyone else knows.  I know he is trying to process things, and his mind is working overtime to try and make sense of the confusing, complicated world that he lives in.  And sometimes – it just doesn’t make sense.  But not wanting to give him a “way out” and wanting him to “face things” and hopefully be able to work through, I walked him in.

I filled his teachers in, and walked off as he pleaded with his eyes – for me not to leave.  I whispered that it would be ok, to have a good day.  Then slipped out while mentally begging for his day to just go ok.  I didn’t need his day to be stellar, or fantastic.  Just ok.  For my words to actually come through.  That by telling him it would be ok, that maybe, for once – it would be.

A few hours later, when I got the call that I was already expecting – I picked him up.  Tears staining his face, hair ruffled, fidgety and panicking.  Obviously…his day was not ok.  Because sometimes, the day just ends up not going good.  And the small things – his classmate said hello, someone sat too close, it was too loud, too bright, too itchy, too hot, and too cold -become too much.

I took him home, helped him out of his pants, and watched as he scurried for his bed.  He didn’t climb in, but instead under.

It’s the life we live.

It’s the way we are.

It’s how we roll.

When the day is just too much, the comforting things are in the dark, cool corners of the room – under the bed away from the world.  Pants are optional, but not preferred.

I called a babysitter, gave some last minute advice on not trying to coax him out, to give him space and when or if he came out – to just take it easy.  He’s had a long week.

When I came home, he had found his way out from under his bed, but hadn’t ventured far.  Feet up the wall, lying on his back, humming to himself as he traced imaginary figures in the air with one hand, and the other firmly planted in his mouth.  He didn’t look up when I came in.  He didn’t seem to notice, or have a care in the world.  He was in his world.

His world, where everything I assume, is just how it should be.  There aren’t too many people, too many noises, too much light, too much color.  His world is just the way it should be, how it should be, with everything just right.

As I look at him, pressed against the wall, I had a hundred and one thoughts flood through my mind.  Instinctively I wanted to feel sorry for him, for myself, for this life.  For everything that has gone wrong.  Instinctively, I wanted to scream and yell, and throw myself down there with him and yell that I just wanted it to be ok – nothing more, nothing less.

But instead I took another look.

He was calm.  He was happy.  He was peaceful.  He was content.

No, he didn’t have pants on.  At ten years old, he still occasionally sucks his fingers for comfort.  He pressed himself hard against the wall and hummed a tune only he knows.  His mind was probably running a million different ways.  He probably ran out of tears hours before, and most likely was exhausted from chasing away the millions of thoughts and emotions that flood him day in and day out – but he was happily tracing imaginary figures in the air.

He wasn’t scared.  Wasn’t fighting.  Wasn’t stressing.  Wasn’t in a panic.  He may just be onto something, this kid.

So if you happen to come over, and see me – laying on the floor tracing imaginary shapes in the air with no pants on – just know, I’m ok.

We’re ok.

It’s all just about how you look at it, I suppose.

The Reason Why

I understand the pain. The immense soul sucking sadness that will not leave. The kind that leaves you crying for death itself to take you in the night, and leaves you cursing the morning sun. I get it. I understand it. I know it. And perhaps that is what scares me the most. The knowing. The understanding of just how far and how deep, and how intense the pain is. That knowing that there is nothing I can do to ease it, or take it away, or change the minds of the ones dealing with it.

Not that many years ago, I too, was on the receiving end. The end that said death seemed welcoming. But death itself was too kind, and instead it was hell on earth until I figured out a way to fight back. And continue fighting. Because lets face it – this kind of pain, this wicked evil feeling of wanting nothing more than death, doesn’t just go away. Its there, no matter how long it has been – willing its way back into your life.

But seeing it in someone you love? Is perhaps harder than dealing with it yourself. Because you know.

You know that there is no way out except through. And you know that through is a journey you wouldn’t wish on anyone. You know that while the other side is better than where you were, the journey often closes in around you and there seems to be no way out. That when darkness is all that surrounds you, and there is no light of day to warm that terrible chill that settles somewhere way beyond your bones, you begin to seek those thoughts that you thought you left at the beginning.

Except you haven’t. And they will follow you all the way to the bitter end.

The internets lately, are seething with pain. And maybe its because I am in a place where the only the saddest of stories appeal to me, because I can relate. Because when you are in an area in life where everything seems to hurt, you don’t actively seek out those who are happy – but rather those who are in the trenches, slinging slime just like you. Because at least then, you aren’t alone. I haven’t had to look far. My reader oozes with pain and sadness from around the world and often leaves me wondering if there IS any good left in the world.

Or maybe its simply because I am looking for someone to say what I am feeling, with better words. Because words seem to fail me. As they always do. When I need them most.

It’s not ever a place in life I thought I would be. And its not really a place in life I care to be now. But as I have learned, so many, many times – it doesn’t matter what you want. It doesn’t matter where you wish to be, how you wish to live, who you wish to be like – you just are.

It’s hard, to find the words that I want, to sum up what I don’t want. It’s hard to verbalize just what is going on. In one sense, I think that if maybe I ignore it, don’t acknowledge it, it wont get a foot hold again. Yet on the other hand, I know that if I don’t acknowledge it, my mind will run miles before it comes home again. I’m not writing tonight, to make sense. I’m not writing to tell a story, or document an event. I’m just writing because I don’t know what else to do, and writing has always been that thing for me.

I’m writing to keep myself from that place, while trying to help others in that place, and somehow get us through these terrible bone chilling winters that seem to come all too early, and all too frequent.

Someone once told me to never ask the reason why. To not attempt to find the answer. And while I have always believed there is an answer, to the question why…I’m beginning to think, that perhaps, for once, there really isn’t.

There Just Isn’t

Maybe it’s the time of year, maybe it’s the stress, the time of day, lack of sleep, constant needs or road blocks that seem to be up at every turn I make.  But this morning, long after the kid woke me up, way after I should have been up, I turned the alarm clock off -for the third time, and rolled over.  My get up and go, has got up and left without me.  And today there was nothing more that I wanted to do than pull the blankets over my head and just forget that the world out there existed.

I calculated how long I could actually stay in bed, without being noticed, and the thoughts made me cringe.  I had until lunch time, before someone would actually start complaining.  I had until about 3 before someone started calling.  I had until dinner time before someone would come looking.  Looking for food, for help, for comfort, for answers.  My mind flipped between two very dark places – either getting up, or staying in bed.

The former won.

As it always does.  And always will.  Because giving up just never seems to be an option for me.

I’ll be the fool still standing here as the world crumbles around and no one else exists.

I didn’t push any issues that I normally would.  Didn’t argue with the fact that someone would only eat at a snails pace, putting us out the door ten minutes late.  I didn’t argue when the same someone didn’t want to wear a coat, and didn’t want to wear shoes, and really didn’t want to wear clothes in general.  I didn’t try and convince him -like most mornings, that clothes were needed, shoes important, and a coat would be for his benefit.  Instead I listened to his whining, and did it anyways.

He was late to school, and while I got an ear full about being on time, I watched as he dropped his items, one by one, as he made his way down the hall, wondering how long the pants would stay on today.  Because with comfort, comes problems.  And in his situation -when he is comfortable, the pants come off.  Its been a while since we have had the public inspect his underwear, but its coming.

My mind didn’t even argue with myself when I realized I was out of good coffee, and had to settle on cheap, pre-ground, expired coffee that sits unused in the back cupboard for days like today.  Days when: it just doesn’t seem to matter.  Days when one more thing will break it.  Days when the blankets seem like the only thing keeping me from loosing whatever mind I have left.  Days where getting up is harder than giving up.

But for reasons unknown: perhaps the looming deadlines, the dinner interruptions, the homework helps, the nagging presence of dirty dishes -I get up.  For just one more day.  I push the dark thoughts aside, and reason with myself that one more day wont make or break it.  I decide that instead of wondering how I got here, maybe I should ask how am I going to get out of here, even though that thought sends chills down my spine because I DO NOT KNOW, at least it’s a thought that will be productive, and lead me towards the future, instead of to the past.

The past that seems oh so inviting and comforting.  The past that yells from the dark shadows.  Taunting, teasing, testing.

I know the bad days don’t last forever, but I am also very aware that the good days are even shorter lived.  I know that the bad days are right around the corner from the good days, and that thought is enough to drive me back.  Back as far as I can go to somehow untangle this mad mess of confusion I have landed myself in.  To somehow undo everything that has caused today to be like it is.  To somehow get me away from where I am today.

To keep me from signing papers, and ignoring the words, and doing what I HOPE is best.

Because at the end of the day, there really is nothing.

There is no hope.

There is no concrete answer that going through ALL of this, will lead to the best results.  There are no proven facts that anything I do, will be worth anything, ever.  There is no one saying that I have to be out of bed in the morning, and there is no one that will come looking until dinner time -if only for their own needs.

There is no solid answer.  There just.  Isn’t.

Dylan -

I don’t even know…what to say or where to start. As if I’m writing to the future, I want to beg that it doesn’t go where its heading. That by some small miracle, things will turn around. As if writing from my past – I want to scream to STOP. I see the problem, I see the trouble, but I don’t know how to turn it around and go the other way. I yell but no one hears, I cant get the words to come out like I want, to say what I want, to mean what I want – because I don’t even know what I am trying to say except STOP. Just. Stop.

This isn’t about me. And as often as I remind myself of that, I still find my selfish thoughts and wants getting in the way. I see much of the people I don’t want to become, coming out of me. And as much as I just want to STOP it all – I cant. I see the pain, and the frustration, and the anger and as much as I want to just slap it out – I cant. Because it isn’t about me. It isn’t about me fixing this, or making it ok. It isn’t about me making the choice, or not. It isn’t about me. Yet I cant seem to remove that from the equation.

Everywhere I turn, someone has the answers. The fool proof solution. The “This is it!” about everything. But I cant seem to put my faith in them. I cant trust them with this. I have trusted people before – and have come up empty handed. But once again…its not about me.

I don’t know what to say, or how to say it. I understand, to an extent but not enough to know what to do or how to help. I’m left staring stupidly waiting for the punch line, because I really just don’t see it. I mean I do? But I don’t. I cant. I cant get myself to accept it.

There are the things I want to say – the things that are supposed to be the right things. Things like “its ok” and “it will all work out” and “this will help.” Open ended answers that leave room for wiggle. But they just don’t seem like the right things to say. How can they be? If it were ok – we wouldn’t be here. If it would work out – this wouldn’t be happening. And if that would help? Then why am I sitting here trying hopelessly to find some answers.

I never claimed to understand it all, I never said I had all the answers. Never said I knew what I was doing, or where we were going. I never claimed it would be ok. I just hoped. Hoped that this would be the right answer to everything, and jumped in with everything because there was nothing left to do. I threw myself at the problem because there was nothing left TO throw and I hoped with everything I had left to hope with that it would be the right answer.

And there for a while – it seemed like it was.

For a while – it seemed like it was working.

And it seemed like everything would be ok.

How blind hope can be. Underneath the pretense of hope, and everything being ok – there was this. This problem, this doubt, this frustration, this anger. And not wanting to believe that it was there, I blindly accepted the hope and moved on. In hindsight I can see this now. But seeing a problem, knowing how to fix it, and actually fixing it – are completely different things. And I am not skilled in any of the areas.

We are back to square one. Left with two options, each holding a bag of pros and cons themselves. And while neither one looks very promising, I have to do the only thing I know how to do. And that is fight. And never stop. Because while it might not be the right thing, while it may end up going south, and while I may be met with a lot of hesitation, argument and “I told you so’s” at least I will be able to rest in the fact that I didn’t give up.

You might be wanting me to. Everyone seems to think that this is the best option. Let you learn to sink or float, make you realize some hard truths for yourself, stop bailing you out, and walk away. But I cant. And while I know this isn’t about me, I made a promise to never walk away. To never give up. And to never stop fighting, until there was nothing left to fight for. And while you might not realize it at this moment, while your mind me just be too full to completely understand this – you ARE worth fighting for.

I don’t mind if you are mad at me, I don’t even mind if you hate me. I don’t care if you resent me for the rest of your life for this. But I will never stop fighting for you, and I will never give up on you. I hope that someday you are able to take the fight over – that long after these hard days of uncertain circumstances have passed, you are able to pick up and carry on yourself.

No, it might not be the right decision. It might not be what you want, it might not even be what is recommended for you. But right now, its all we have. And while I cant promise you that everything will be ok, that life will go as planned and that you will succeed in everything you ever try – I can promise that with some hard work, and a little luck – it might just be worth it.

You may have given up, you may not see anything worth seeing right now but until you can you need to know that I will never give up on you, and I will never stop fighting for you even if you don’t see that. I know that right now you are looking for whatever you can to argue your case. That you will use whatever you can. And that’s ok. Get mad, but realize that by getting mad – you aren’t dead inside, there is still something there that cares and wants to fight.

Just because you have given up, does not mean everyone else ready for you to give up too. Hang in there kiddo, one day I promise you will look back and say that I might not be right, but I told you so.

It Just Has To Be

This afternoon we assembled in court. Normally I would have a few weeks to panic about it. Rehearse my lines, and hash out the what ifs. I had a few days to try and remember the day and not miss the time. I didn’t have time to panic this morning, didn’t have time to rehearse or hash. It just was.

He looked tired. Defeated. Flattened. His eyes were dull, there was no smile, no spunk, no life.

Court was to determine if he would have a place to stay in town, or if he would be sent out of town for help that would be more fitting.

It’s not a place in life I ever expected to see, and seeing him flattened and so tired looking was not something I was prepared for. Even if I had time to rehearse, panic and prepare – that wouldn’t have been on the list. Seeing him completely give up on life, not just mentally but physically and emotionally, was harder than I would have expected, if I would have been expecting it.

Few words were exchanged. The atmosphere was more solemn than I am used to in regards to him. Even the last visit that ended with him yelling and screaming –gave some hope. At least he was fighting. At least he had something in him that made him want to fight –even if it was to fight against the help. Fighting. Is good. And today, there was none of that.

I busied myself this evening with everything I could. I told myself that as long as he was there –he was safe, and I didn’t need to worry. And it worked. Until I sat down, and the reality of everything came rushing in.

For once, I want to grab him and run off to some magical land where everything is just ok. I want to tell him to fight, dammit. I want to intentionally make him mad –just to see something. Anything. I want to tell him that he HAS to fight. I don’t know why, he just does. Because it’s not fair. It’s not fair that he gets to give up. As selfish as that sounds, it’s just not.

I want to tell him that he doesn’t GET to give up. That he HAS to fight, for reasons I just can’t explain. I want to tell him that it will be ok –even though I don’t know for sure how, I just know it will be because it has to be. Because it just does.

I want to make him realize that while life does suck – it can get better. It will get better. It has to. I don’t know how, it just does. Because this isn’t fair. To him. To anyone. I hate to see anyone suffer, but to watch someone so close to you, someone that means so much to you – struggle to the point where they simply cannot fight anymore, is just hard.

It has to be ok. For no reason other than it simply just has to be.

One of Those Weeks

It’s been a difficult kind of week.  One that makes you want to roll it up, shove it out the window and forget it even happened.  Simply slice the week off the calendar and move along.  Right along.  But you can’t.  Because the decisions and happenings of this week – won’t just stay in this week alone.  They change the direction of life, and head us down a different road.

This week, it has seemed that life has hung us off the edge of a cliff while yelling “How do you like me now?” The answer to that is, and will always be: Not very much.

On Monday on my way to drop Josh off at school, I glanced out the window to ensure that Dylan was waiting for the bus.  It was going to be just another Monday.  Nothing special.  Nothing good.  Nothing bad.  Just another ordinary day.  Ordinary week.  Except it would be the last time I would see him until Wednesday.

Because few hours later I got a phone call asking why Dylan wasn’t attending school.  Since he has played hooky more than once, I dismissed their questions, rolled my internal eyes, prepared the speech and headed home to kick him on his way to school.

Except that he wasn’t at home.  And no one was sure where he was, just that he had ridden the bus to school – and walked away.

Which is when my heart sunk, -just a little bit more.  Because while everyone else seemed to pass it off as “He’s just hiding out from you and school” approach, it didn’t seem that way to me.  It wasn’t until the late hours of the day did I return home.  Empty handed, ½ expecting ½ hoping that he had found his way home.  Except that he hadn’t.

Tuesday proved to be more of the same with some added panic and anxiety tossed in because one can never have enough of that.   Early Wednesday morning, found me pacing the halls of the hospital after an early morning phone call that he had been brought in.  It wasn’t until much later in the day did they finally tell me what had went on, which can be loosely translated into “He did it good this time.”

The official report would go something along the lines of attempted suicide, blood loss and possible nerve damage.

It’s been one of those weeks.

Friday the reality of what he had done, was beginning to sink in.  At least for him it was.  The reality of what he had done had already sunk in for me on Monday, when I realized he wasn’t where he should be.  And he wasn’t going to be.

It’s been one of those weeks.

That have been filled with visits from doctors, and therapist, well knowing and well meaning people alike.

One of those weeks…

That could have been very much ordinary, and very much tragic, yet instead went somewhere right down the middle.  Not ending as bad as it could -but definitely not as good as it could either.

I am trying to focus on the fact that we have another chance.  To do this all over right.  To make different decisions, to take that different road.  But so far, it just seems like we are spinning in hopeless circles.

Today I remind myself that he is safe.  If for only one more day.

Tonight I will recall all the hurtful things I have ever said, and all the things he has said that could be classified as “warnings.”

Tomorrow I will see him one last time, before he is taken to a different hospital to hopefully get the help he needs.

For now, we will continue this one day at a time.  And not look for any ordinary days for a long time.

And everything else?  Will just have to wait.

It’s been one of those weeks.

The Crossing of The Lines

Quite a few years ago, I was given some of the best advice I could have ever been given when it comes to writing.  It was given as a random tidbit of information, without much meaning, sandwiched in-between other pieces of information.  “Wait a few days, or years before writing about your circumstances.”  The advice started.  “That way you will be sure to steer clear of everyone’s dirty laundry, and your stories will be told with a more powerful approach – with time in between, the ugly fades away, and only the beauty remains.”

I’m pretty sure this led to another diversion on the absence of ugly being beauty, but I couldn’t honestly tell you.

But sometimes.  The ugly is needed too.  Without the ugly, I find, that life just runs together.  You forget so many important things, and begin to assume that life is supposed to be kind, all the time, when quite frankly, it isn’t.  This combined with the fact that so much of life lately isn’t up for grabs, isn’t mine to write about, and is really too much of the ‘dirty laundry’ I was so carefully advised against messing with, has started to wear on me.

Somewhere there is a line.  A line that was not ever explained to me.  My family does not hail from a long line of literate folks.  Writing is what you do to pay bills.  Talking is what happens when you need to argue.  Words are those funny things that you may yell at each other.  The line about one persons life, crossing into yours – thus giving you the freedom to write about it, was never explained to me.  And as I walk along it, trying ever so carefully trying to avoid the pitfalls of mentioning something that isn’t mine to mention, I find myself losing out on what is important.

That line, has always caused me grief.  I have never been good at understanding what is mine to tell, and what isn’t mine to tell.  Which is a problem when it comes to writing, especially.

And then there is the waiting period.  The one you are supposed to allow in between the event, and the writing of the event.  But the problem there is that I need to write before, during AND after, just to process everything.  But my mind gets tangled up with all the rules and should haves shouldn’t haves, do’s and don’ts that sometimes I don’t know what to write.

This week has been a long, daunting one, full of lines that I should not cross, angles I should not take, and advice I should not be giving.  Its been filled with caution, threats and so much of that hard stuff that no one likes to think about.  And yesterday in the midst of a midday, midweek freak out I had to stop.  Remind myself that taking things one day at a time was just going to have to be ok.  Crossing lines would just have to work.  Tangling thoughts would just have to happen.  And somehow, things would end up ok.  Because laying on the floor throwing myself a fit isn’t going to get us anywhere.

We are far from the finish line, far from this being off the horizon.  Far from finding answers that satisfy us all.  We are somewhere in the knee deep, only going to get deeper area.  Where you grab a life vest and hang on, because you know by the time its over there isn’t going to be much left.  A scary sink or swim, do or die situation that may or may not be mine to tell.  And while one day, perhaps, the other side of the story will get told – for now, it has landed in my court, and been directly given to me to handle.

I don’t know when to not cross lines, and how to keep things separated.  But for now it seems pretty clear that while it might not be mine personally – its mine to deal with.  And this.  Is how I deal with it.  So forgive me, if in the coming days I cross lines, screw things up, tell things that aren’t mine, and desperately try and find a way to get us all through this.

Happy Birthday

I remember the day she was born, but not with the same fond memories that most have.  The day was tainted, and quickly went from what could have been one of the best days ever, to the worst.  Instead of becoming a family, we became separated – by death.  Instead of having ‘two’ I was walking away and left with one.  One, I had no idea what to do with.  For once, I was left alone – perhaps for the first time in my life.

She scared me.  All less than 10 pounds of her.  Everything about her scared me.  Her cry, her size, her eyes.  They terrified me.  Which was funny, considering I’m not scared of heights, the dark or even spiders -some of the most common fears around.  But being left alone with my infant daughter?  More than scared me.  It terrified me.

I don’t remember the day we went home.  Don’t recall that first night.  I don’t know when, or if really, the terror left.  I remember the crying.  I remember the weight of her and the combined responsibility being more than I could handle at times.  There was no “Its your turn, I just fed her/changed her/dealt with her.  There was only the crying.  The screaming.  The simply not knowing.  The pure TERROR of raising this tiny, helpless human.

I don’t remember when exactly, but somewhere between, the crying became less frequent, and the smiles more frequent and I became someone’s daddy for the first time.  While it’s true, that she probably stole my heart from the moment I saw her, the reality of what I was now in for – didn’t set in for a few months.  Or maybe it was years.

We won’t ever know what her 12th year of life will look like.  Won’t ever know what she would say, or do, or even be.  But I do know, that 12 years ago, even though I didn’t know it then, my life would forever be changed.  In a small room where a tiny girl held more than just my last name.  She held a piece of my heart, and she never did give it back.


Happy Birthday, baby girl.

- Your dad

I Don’t Know

The terrible twos, they tell you, are the worst years.  Yet still some others beg to differ, and claim that no, three is the worst year ever.  I’m beginning to realize that every age, is hard.

Late this morning I walked into the police station, and sat on the cold hard chairs rehearsing my story.  Its not so much a story, as it is the truth.  But rehearsing is needed when it comes to situations like these.  Situations that combine fears, and kids, and cops all in one.  I needed something solid to lean back on, and thus the rehearsing began.

He’s 16.  Stands a few inches shorter than me.  He has brown hair, brown eyes.  And I’m sorry I don’t remember what he was wearing, because I have failed at this whole parenting thing.  I didn’t take his picture that morning on the off chance he decided not to come home.  I didn’t memorize him as I drove by.  I glanced to the side, made a mental note that he was at the bus stop, and continued on my way.  Like I do every morning.

I took the other one to school, ran through the mental to do list for the day, and pulled into work a few minutes later than usual thanks to traffic that can hardly be called traffic.  And a few hours later my phone rang.  I don’t usually answer it, but yesterday I did.  “Dylan is absent again today.” the caller stated.  “Do you want to give a reason or stop in later today….” she trailed off while I mentally flipped through what had happened.  I sighed, told her I would get back to her, and, assuming he had decided to play hooky, went home to confront him.

Except he wasn’t there.

And he hasn’t been there since.

I spent the day knocking on doors, driving up and down the same roads, over and over hoping that by some small miracle – he would be there, and I could drive him nuts with the questions.  Where were you?  What were you thinking?  Why did you leave?  I continued to drive until the darkness gave way, and even then I stalked any random figure I saw walking down the street.

While he hasn’t ever been in trouble with the law, he has teetered on the edge of self harm more than once, and come dangerously close, too close, before.  The worry in the pit of my stomach grows, and hardens.  I waffle between intense anger, and nothing.  Because at this point, nothing seems to make sense.  And the things that do make sense, my mind simply refuses to entertain.

The questions they ask, I assume are routine, but cant help but shift nervously in my chair, wondering.  Fearing.  Are they assuming?  Are they just going to mark him down as another lost case?  Will they really do their best?  Try their hardest?  Are they just shaking their heads at the irony that I couldn’t see?  The stats that continue to play out?  Are they considering CPS?  Should I run?

“Would he contact you if he were in trouble?” they ask again.  And because I have no honest answer, and because I swore I wouldn’t lie to a uniformed officer, I shake my head.  I don’t know.

I really, don’t know.

It’s the only honest answer I have for anything.

I just.  Don’t.  Know.