February 26th is a bitter sweet day for me. A day for celebrating – but I didn’t get to participate.
Nine years ago, my daughter was missing. We were all heartbroken and scared beyond words for her safety. A year earlier, I had contemplated calling the Children’s Aid because I was worried about her and her son, thought drugs might be involved, but my husband said “If you call them and he ends up living with us, I will leave you”. He put me in an untenable position.
When she actually did disappear, she and her son were living with her father. When she had been gone 2 or 3 days I said to him “you have to report her missing to the police”. He did and that started the process that led to her son coming to live with me. He was 5 years old. The husband didn’t leave but made no bones about how much he resented my grandson.
Two years later, on February 26th, 2011 my daughter “came in” and started the new journey that she is on. Today she is 7 years clean and sober – a feat that many will never accomplish. More will die.
Today, she was awarded final custody of her son.
Two reasons to celebrate.
But I was not included in those celebrations.
For 9 years, I put my life on hold to make sure that her son didn’t go into the “system”. I endured an abusive marriage that I was already planning to leave 9 years ago, to try to give my grandson as normal a life as I could. I lied to the Children’s Aid to keep him out of the system. I found him the best school opportunities I could and got him involved in soccer and baseball. His maternal grandfather got him involved in hockey. Found him counselling, tutoring and gave him all the love I could. He was a very frightened, anxious boy 9 years ago and now he’s a confident young man and fabulous soccer player.
I didn’t do any of this for me. I did it for them.
He was my boy for many years and now I have lost him. And I have also lost her. I can’t even congratulate her on Facebook. She has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with me and it breaks my heart.
But I want to say – even if no one will see it – how proud I am of you my dear girl. You have come so far in the last 7 years, you deserve all the happiness in the world.
UPDATE 2021: It was pointed out to me that this was a very sad way to leave this story. So here’s an update. Siobhan welcomed the birth of her absolutely beautiful (I’m not biased at all) daughter, Jaz in November of 2018 and all has been better than well since. We speak every day and I get to see Siobhan and Jaz in person as often as possible.