When I was little I would sit in my room and wonder why my life was not like other children’s. I would see kids with their parents, doing things that my mother would not do with me, like going to the park and shop- ping, and I would feel sad.
My mother and I did those things together when I was very young. But once I got a little older she would just come and go.
My grandmother usually looked after me when my mother wasn’t there. I often asked my grandma, “Where is Mom?” She would not answer me. It was the same thing day after day.
‘Your Mother Takes Drugs’
Then one day I saw my mother
and I asked her to stay with me. My mother said, “I have to handle some business.”
I asked, “Handle what?” She ignored me and left.
I turned to Grandma. “Grandma, what business does Mom have to handle?”
She said, “Your mother takes drugs.”
I didn’t know what to say.
She continued, “I’m tired of not say- ing nothing. You were going to find out someday.”
I always wondered why my mother was not taking care of her responsi- bility to raise me. Now I knew. But I didn’t like the information. I began to get upset. I felt that my mother didn’t want me as much as she wanted her drugs. If she did, she would not be spending more time with them than me.
My Heart Felt Complete
Soon my mother’s addiction got worse. Every night she came home
high or drunk and I could tell. She would stutter her words and be hard to understand. Then, when I was
9, my grandmother was no longer able to take care of me, so the city decided to put me in a foster home, and over the next few years I moved from home to home.
At first, I saw my mother every two weeks. I was always excited to see her at our visits. She would be at the agency first to surprise me, and would bring me lots of toys and gifts. When it was my birthday, she had a birthday party for me at the agency. She decorated the room with bal- loons and I had a big cake.
It felt so good to see her. Whenever my mother was around me, some- thing in my heart felt complete. My mother never missed a visit and she always said she loved me no matter what.
But when I was 11, she stopped coming. Later I found out that she hadn’t been attending her court dates, and she lost her rights to see me. But at the time I did not under- stand what was wrong. All I knew was that my mother stopped show- ing up. This was the hardest time for me.
Luckily, when I was 13, I moved in with my cousin, Michelle. My cousin did many wonderful things for me. She became my role model. But maybe most important, Michelle allowed me to have a relationship with my mother, even though I wasn’t supposed to visit my mother.
The first time my mother came to my cousin’s apartment, I gave her the biggest hug and kiss. It was like a part of my heart had been cut, but when I saw her it healed.
As we spent more time together, I started to tell my mother about the
problems I had to face in the foster homes. I wanted her to know what I had been through. She got upset any time I told her they mistreated me.
She said, “I am sorry you had to go through this.”
We also talked about the problems she had to deal with. I learned that what started her on drugs was that some of my brothers died in a fire before I was born. She couldn’t take the pain and turned to drugs.
My mother admitted that she had a problem with drugs and told me she struggled to get clean. I respected her for saying that and it meant a lot to me to hear. Some people who are addicted to drugs won’t admit it’s a problem. Some won’t own up to how their problem has hurt their children. My mother did both.
Willing to Fight
Since then, my mother has gone to a drug program and recovered from doing hard drugs. I know it was hard for her because getting away from drugs is not that easy for anybody, but she was willing to fight. She still smokes weed on occasion, but stays away from the rest.
Somehow I have managed to not hold a grudge against her for not being able to raise me, maybe because she seems truly apologetic that she couldn’t do it for me, and because I understand a little bit about the pain she was going through with my brother’s deaths that made it hard for her to cope.
We have a good relationship and it’s still growing. We see each other every weekend. I let her know I forgive her for what she did, even though I will ever forget what hap- pened and what I’ve been through. I believe God has given our family a second chance to start over and be close.