Tag Archives: worry


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.





Filed under Daily Life


I don’t know if the obsession she’s experiencing at the moment is about getting her own way or whether it’s really about the boy.  Maybe it’s a combination of both.

She has issues, to put it mildly.  While her obsessions tended to change over time, fulfilling them was always genuinely necessary to preserve her sanity.

I remember when she was little and she just had to have all the shoes in the house paired up and lined against the baseboard of one wall with the toes pointed toward it.  There was no pattern in the shoes, just that they had to be lined up.

She was four years old.

I explained that it would probably be better if everyone’s shoes were in her own closet, that way Mommy could get ready for work and Oldest could get ready for school.  I asked her if she’d help me put them all back.  She did help me, and easily enough.  But then a few hours later they’d all be lined up against the wall again.  The explanation was repeated, the agreement reached, and the shoes returned.  This whole repetitive process lasted several days.  Slowly, the obsession with the shoes evolved until she was only lining her own shoes in her own closet.  Eventually she forgot about them altogether, and they wound up in a tangled mess like every other young girl’s shoes on the floors of closets everywhere.

Once, for a really long time, she had an obsession with pencils.  She just had to have them.  One entire dresser drawer was eventually devoted to housing nothing but the slender, graphite filled, and cylindrical slivers of wood.  Most were yellow because those were the easiest to collect.  But trips to the store and most small gifts for her usually involved at least one.   They became outlandish in both color and size.  Erasers were never an issue at all.

She was eight years old before we were finally able to empty that drawer and dispose of them all.

I’ve read that Attention Deficit Disorder is a little bit hereditary, and I do remember occasions when I’ve become obsessed with something, but mostly I think I just have an addictive personality.  I’ve been addicted to cigarettes since I was fourteen years old, I can get addicted to a computer game like nobody’s business, and activities for me have to be entered into lightly.  I once thought it would be neat to make a scrapbook.  Hundreds of dollars later I had every imaginable tool used by the most devoted scrap bookers everywhere, and made lots of scrapbooks and mementos.  Then the thrill of it quickly waned until I crashed all at once and just stopped doing it.  That ride took me through three or four years of constant snapshots and diligently collected pretty paper and ribbon.

I’ve suspected once or twice that I might be bi-polar.

When I stopped smoking for a year I was using an electronic cigarette and collected every flavor that sounded remotely interesting.  The interest in the collection wore off when I found the perfect flavor, but eventually I started smoking again.  Now I both smoke and vape.  I think I’m addicted to both.  I’m not smoking three packs a day anymore, but I’m still struggling to keep it under one.

Youngest’s dad was an alcoholic.  I’ve cautioned her about the lethal combination of ADD, Alcoholism, and Addictive Personalities.  I’ve talked to her about how careful she has to be to avoid self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.  I think so far she’s done okay.  I know she drinks some, and I’d be stupid to think there wasn’t any pot smoldering in her vicinity.  And I can only hope that she’s being careful.

But she’s almost nineteen, so she’s probably not.  Nothing I’ve said to her thus far has fallen on receptive ears, so I have no meaningful reason to believe that my wise words of advice will have any positive affect whatsoever.

She was about thirteen when she met the boy.  Everyone who knew him said he was bad news.  She wouldn’t believe them.  She eventually lost friends because of him.  He’s also the reason she started shutting me out.

He’s come and gone, weaving himself into and out of her life one crisis at a time, leaving her heartbroken and crushed, only to come back to her and assure her that this time it’s for real.  Loving him has left her closed to any good opportunity that might ever come her way.

I thought that it was finally over, that even though she had feelings for him that might never go away, he had at least moved on.  He’d found someone else to play with, torture, and maim.  But then he reappeared.  I didn’t have a clue.   I learned after the fact that he was the reason Youngest had packed up and moved out two weeks ago.

She’s insisting that he has to stay with us.  She finally told me that through circumstances beyond his control, circumstances that are none of my business, he has nowhere to be.  She’s demanding that we give him a place to stay.

We said no.

She doesn’t come home now at night after work, and I’m a little uncertain whether or not she is even still working.  I do know that whatever this boy wants, he will manipulate her into providing.  I tried to tell her that if he loved her, he wouldn’t want her to give up her home for his sake.

Yesterday she threatened sleeping in her car, with him, in order to provide him shelter, and that if we didn’t let him stay with us, then she wouldn’t come home either.  I told her I wouldn’t be harassed, bullied, or manipulated.  I reminded her that she could come home any time she wanted, but that where Boy is concerned, the answer is no.

She thinks she’s proving herself to him at all costs so that he’ll finally get it and never leave her again.

Love conquers all, etc.

The only time I hear from her is with an occasional text that demands we let him stay here, and promises that she’ll come home, too, if only we allow him to come with her.  Our response has been firm, and her insistence increasingly more hostile.  I don’t know why he has no place to go, and apparently I’m not supposed to.  Which means it’s probably a pretty grave situation that now involves Youngest.

I don’t think I want to know.

What makes this mother’s heart even more filled with angst is the idea that she might really be sleeping in her car, in parts of town unknown, surrounded by evil and ill will.  I have no hope that the boy will protect her.  Boy is the reason for all her current troubles.  And instead of encouraging her to come home and leaving her alone, he is dragging her down with him.

I talked to a gentlemen I highly admire and respect about a similar situation in his own life.  He told me about a son with whom he does not speak.  The son had gotten involved with a woman who pulled him into drugs, and the dad told me that it was more than he could bear to watch his son neglect his own children in favor of a drug addict and her children.  To be involved with his son meant that the rest of the family, and the quality of his own life, suffered.  So while he hated to do it, he felt like he had no choice but to cut the ties.

I don’t know if I’m in the same situation, or if this is the choice I will soon have to make.  I hope not.  I hope Youngest hasn’t gotten herself involved in something from which she will not be easily extracted.  While all the signs are there that she is experiencing an obsession, I’m still not clear on whether the obsession is with the boy or with her own efforts to get us to let him stay here.  I’m hoping the fixation is not with something more sinister.

She never did like being told ‘no’.  It comforts me to think that this might just be a simple power struggle between two stubborn people.  Youngest did inherit my unwillingness to budge.

She may have also inherited my addictive personality, which does provide some room for concern.

Right now she’s addicted to this fight, and while I’m determined to win it, dwelling in my own obsessions over it, I worry about the price of the victory.  That boy will not spend one night in my home.

I might just lose my daughter in the process of proving it.

Part of me knows I already have.



Filed under Daily Life