The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. People use pictures to add cute captions, and then spread them around the internet like very soft peanut butter. And, like peanut butter, some of them stick.
Some pictures are used for keepsakes, frames, scrapbooks, and mementoes. Others are used for sales, promos, attention, and education.
Some pictures simply reside in our own head, and we hope we never forget the moments that created them.
The first time I saw each of my children. Their respective faces on various Christmas mornings. The giggles of either of them when they got puppy kisses. The look of happy resignation on the faces of my grandchildren when they remember that the price of a peek in Granny’s cookie jar is a great big hug. Youngest’s face when she finally got her driver’s license. Youngest with her long-awaited High School diploma. Oldest’s reaction when she learned she had been accepted into her nursing program early. The look of adoration when Oldest talks about her man. My own husband’s face when he looks at me that way.
Some pictures we just can’t ever get out of our head no matter how hard we try.
My mother’s hands when they bled from the rope that drew water out of the well. The hurt and anger the last time I saw my father before he turned and vanished from my childhood. My grandmother in her casket at the funeral home. Oldest in a hospital bed after a severe trauma. The look of hatred hurled at me through teenage eyes.
Youngest in handcuffs when the police came to the house and arrested her a few days ago.
Writing this post is difficult, but in order to both heal and update, I’m doing it anyway, so if you’ve gotten to this point, know that here is where I take a deep breath and plunge forward. To do so, I may have to back up a little.
Youngest needed a car after a drunk driver wiped hers out while it was parked. You might remember that story. Husband, in an effort to both help provide the car and establish her credit, put Youngest’s car (and the loan to pay for it) in both their names. She loaned her car to The Boy while she was at work. Boy had hit another car and left the scene. He picked Youngest up at work like nothing had happened and she took him to drop him off wherever he’d been staying, which wasn’t here like she’d spent the last few weeks insisting.
That ongoing battle was the subject of my last post. When I wrote it, I didn’t have a clue how prophetic it would prove to be.
After she dropped off The Boy, she came home. I was surprised to see her here, especially so early in the evening. I was even more surprised to see that the police were right behind her.
The ensuing confusion in the driveway had the police about to arrest Husband. They had a picture of the car and license plate of the hit and run vehicle, and they knew a man had been driving. The assumption was logical that it was Husband, except that it wasn’t. It took a few more minutes to get it out of Youngest what had happened. She didn’t want to get The Boy in trouble. The handcuffs and an arrest for Obstruction of Justice is what started to convince her to cooperate. Being put in the back of the police car and hauled off to jail finished her conviction.
Her car was searched for drugs. Thankfully there was nothing to find, but I’ll admit I expected the outcome to be far different.
The events in the driveway that day play in my head like snapshots in a flip book, stuttering repeatedly from start to finish. Those images will never leave me. Seeing one of your children being arrested and placed in handcuffs will do something to a mother that before now I never thought I would have occasion to understand. It was almost a week ago, and sitting on the porch now, looking out at an empty driveway, gives me flashbacks of the ordeal that day.
Hearing Youngest talk about it yesterday made my chest hurt.
I stayed put while the cops arrested her. It was the hardest, single-most heartbreaking thing I’d ever forced myself to do. It was for the best. I wanted to run to her, to firmly place myself between her and them, and to protect her. She had to go through this alone and finally face the fact that she was not in a good place, that this is what happens when you surround yourself with trash. She alone had to realize for herself that she wouldn’t be in this position if not for The Boy.
So I stayed put.
She called me a couple of hours later and said that she was being released and that we could come to the police station to pick her up. She texted me a few times while husband drove, and I sat in the passenger seat alternately fighting back tears of hurt and tears of anger. I wasn’t very successful with either.
Her first text said that I was right, and that Boy was just dragging her down. Her second text said that she was done, this was it, and it was finally over. When we got there, all I could do was hold her while we stood in the parking lot of the police station. Tears of gratitude that she was unharmed replaced the tears of hurt and worry on my face. In the car, the anger took up residence and pushed everything else aside.
I learned later that The Boy had also been arrested and that Youngest’s cooperation leading to that arrest had earned her a lesser charge.
She talked to me that day, and confessed recent sins. She admitted to some of the things she knew about The Boy and his activities. She explained some of the gaps in her whereabouts and apologized for how she’d been acting lately. She said that for quite some time she’d had the feeling that something horrible was about to happen, and she thinks that this event, and her arrest, had halted whatever the bad thing was. She explained that when she saw The Boy being arrested and put into another police car, a tremendous weight had lifted, that it had just completely dissipated. She didn’t even realize she’d been carrying it.
She believes that there was a supernatural intervention, and that it took this incident to prevent whatever the other, more disastrous event, might have been.
And she hugged me. The look of hatred isn’t in her eyes anymore when she looks at me. And she’s talking to me again. She’s spent the last few days between home and work, and reconnecting with friends she’d given up for Boy. They didn’t approve, and expressing their feelings and concerns had earned them the same banishment as it had me.
She learned later that The Boy knew of her arrest, prior to his own, and instead of coming forward, he left her to handle it alone.
For her sake, I hope it’s really over between them. But she’s young. I worry that someday The Boy will enter her life again, drag her down even further, and that it might be far too late for redemption by the time she realizes just how far she’s fallen. My only hope here is that the next time he reappears, she’s a little wiser about the effects of being involved with him, and that saying ‘no’ to him becomes a little easier to do.
I guess the photo album isn’t complete yet. As much as she might believe that it’s over, and as much as I want to share that belief, this is not the end of the story. There are two ways she could go here, and all I can do is hope for the best. I’m not sure I’m equipped to handle it if her chosen direction is backward. It took all my strength to refrain from interfering with the police that day.
When I pull out this mental photo album in the years to come, only then will I know whether or not she had moved forward and really put this behind her.
Her court date for the lesser charge that was levied against her is in another four weeks.
Sometimes we’re given advance notice of a picture in our head that we know, without doubt, we’ll never be able to forget.