Have I mentioned that parenting blows? I mean there are some days when I’d rather have lunch with Casey Anthony than feel my heart crack within my chest over and over and over again.
It’s not all about being a parent…it’s about being an adult too.
Let me try to explain.
Last night my 12 year old, Watermelon, texted me to ask me if her and her friend M could come over because M needed to talk to me.
Warning bells started ringing. Loudly. When a child says they “need to talk”…it’s usually never good. The last time I heard that it ended with a call to CPS and it changed who I am forever.
So M comes over and we’re talking and I ask her how school is going and I see tears start to well up in her eyes. She starts telling me about how rumors are going around that she had sex with a boy in the bathroom or something. She was crying at school. She said Watermelon stuck up for her and told everyone it wasn’t true. Her other friends did the same.
I did the best I could. I told her it sounds like there were many kids who stuck up for her and know it’s not true. I told her even if every kid in the school had believed the rumor – that in her heart – she knows what she did and did not do. I told her to focus on and stay around the kids who have her back. Her and Watermelon and other girls went to the guidance counselor and talked with her about it too. They got through the day but it just sucked.
The whole time I wanted to scream, “Have you talked to your own mother about this??” But I already knew the answer. She wouldn’t have been in my house if she had.
I also told her that this will not be the last time rumors will start. It happens. It’s part of school, in my opinion. I told her that I dated Rambo since I was 15 and the whole school assumed and always said I was having sex with him – and I wasn’t. I told M that my own brother started most of those rumors and continued them because back then my brother hated me. There was nothing I could do except know the truth in my own heart. I told her I continually told everyone I wasn’t doing that and eventually people believed me. I told her that some people just suck and are assholes. There will always be those who start rumors….all throughout life.
She seemed to be comforted by the fact that it happens to everyone and that we survive it.
Did I say the right thing? The wrong thing? Help or hinder? I HAVE NO EVER LOVING IDEA! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I want a damn kid/parenting/adult manual. Like yesterday.
I thought that was it until Watermelon whispered something in M’s ear and said, “Do you want to tell her?” Oh shit. I told myself - brace yourself Mama – more shit is coming your way.
M shakes her head yes – that she wants to tell me more. She starts to tell me that her mom is always drunk. That when she is drunk she says things like she never cared about M, that she doesn’t care if M goes to live somewhere else, that M never does anything she is supposed to, that M is always gone, that M is a liar. The usual things drunks say. M’s step-dad is never home (working) so he’s not really a factor. And he’s a step-dad…and she misses her real dad…who has no contact or relationship with her.
She’s hurting. Badly. She’s begging some adult to just be consistent and love her. She’s barely holding back tears. She said “I don’t know what to do.”
I asked if she tried talking to her mom about it and she said, “I’m scared to.” I told her I’d do it with her if that would help….all the while secretly hoping she wouldn’t actually want me to do that.
I just started pulling shit out of my ass then. I considered yelling for Rambo to come in and rescue me but instead I said things like:
Your mom does love you. When she says she doesn’t care – that’s the beer talking. None of this is your fault. Ever. Addiction is strong and she doesn’t want to say those things and she doesn’t mean them…it’s the addiction talking. Tell her you’ll help her get help and you don’t want to grow up like this. Tell her you know it’s wrong and you’re scared for your little brother. I know she loves you. She doesn’t want to be doing any of this or hurting you – but the addiction is stronger than she is right now.
She said, “Can I stay here tonight? I don’t want to go back there when she’s drunk.”
I told her it was fine with me. Meanwhile Watermelon pipes up and says, “Mom, can M come live here with us? Her Mom said she didn’t care where M lived.”
Ugh. I tried to say the words but I couldn’t look my kid in the eye and tell her I can’t just take someone else’s kid. It’s never as simple as that.
I told M not to tell her mom she’d told me about this because her mom may get mad and embarrassed. She agreed.
Her mom ended up saying M had to come home but she could stay and watch a movie with us. I will tell you that for the first time in a long time – as the night went on normally – I felt guilty for having a happy family. How shitty is that? I gave some mother with an addiction the power to make me feel guilty for being happy.
We ate supper. Warmed up leftover pizza. Laughed. Talked about the day. Got on PJs and got out the big fluffy blankets and put in a movie. We all snuggled.
And I watched M watch us and be a part of us and I knew it hurt her to see a normal family night. She was happy to be with us but I know she was sad…and I felt guilty for that.
Before she left, I hugged her. Though she’s not used to it and I felt her want to pull away quickly – I held on. She let me hold her and I felt her hold on to me. As I held her I said again that this is not her fault ever. That her mom loves her. That she just needs help. That she has people who love her and she is always welcome here and I’m always here to talk. That she’s not alone. That we’ll fix this somehow…knowing the whole time I could be lying. It may never get fixed. It may never get better. *sigh*
As I talked I could hear her start to cry and feel her shake.
I wanted to walk my ass over to her mom’s house and rip the beer from her hands and shake her. I want to scream at her and tell her to look at her daughter and the pain in her eyes and the beauty in her face that is marred by tears.
But I have no right. I don’t know the back story or the mother’s past pain or reasons. The only thing I know is the pain I saw in M. And the fear I feel for her and the absolute feeling of helplessness I feel in this situation.
I don’t really want to know her mom’s reasons. I’m pretty sure if she told me that I’d be nothing but a judgemental, sanctimonious, asshole and stand there and think that no reason on earth is good enough. And that wouldn’t help anyone.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Part of me knows there’s nothing I can do. It’s not my fight. Not my daughter’s fight. None of my business.
I had to fight every urge in my body not to scoop M up and say that’s it – you’re never going home again – you’ll stay right here and I’ll love you back to believing in the good in life.
I went to bed plotting in my head about how I could move things around in my house to give her her own bedroom. It’s poppycock. Crap. It ain’t happening.
God, how I wish I could fix this. Watermelon and M also told me they talked with another girl classmate about this.
Wanna know what that little girl said?
She said, “I know how you feel. That’s how it is every night at my house too.”
I know that girl’s mom too and I know she’s telling the truth too.
I also know both of these mothers would walk through fire for their kids. I know they love their daughters dearly.
It’s just not the message they are sending.
And it’s heartbreaking to watch.
I’m trying to just remain grateful that M let me in and wanted to talk about it with me. I’m happy she trusts me and knows she has somewhere to go on bad nights.
I’m grateful she let me hold her while my Watermelon could only sit and watch.
It’s all I can literally do. And that just sucks.
Like outright blows.
What I really want to know is - is there any parent, mom, dad, man or woman on Earth - who instantly knows the right answers in situations like these? I just feel....useless, you know?