Today we celebrate my oldest son's birthday - he'll be 19 on Monday. That's the sweet part of the post and I'll followup on that topic on Monday.
The bitter part is that the party is also a farewell to my wonderful nephew who came home to roost for a short period of time and is now returning to his "homeland". He flys out tomorrow morning at 7:45 am. His clothes and other items have already been shipped.
My insane, addicted to every mood altering substance ever, narcissist sister gave birth to two children. My niece who will turn 30 this year (or is it 29?) and my nephew who just turned 21 last September.
I cared for these children (they are two of my six) as much as I possibly could. This included a custody fight for the nephew that had him living with us almost 3 years...until he didn't. The state we resided in at the time thought it would be best for him to return to his mother's care. In spite of the fact that she was still using (everything) and hadn't complied with even one of the court ordered actions. So at age 11 we turned him back over to her and she moved him to another state thousands of miles away to start a new life. Some were hopeful - I was terrified. Not for her...but for him. It broke my heart.
During the time my nephew lived with us, he was...let's say a challenge. He was angry - as the child of an alcoholic he resented being with us because he wanted to be home where he could take care of her...he was 8 almost 9 at the time. He felt he had lost control and acted out...a lot. Add to this his ADHD and his severe dyslexia and it was difficult. In addition, my sister hates me with a passion I believe is unparelled in the universe. She spends a great deal of time and effort trying to convince her children (to this day - if they were speaking to her - which they are not) that I, in fact, do NOT love them and that I think my children are better in every way than hers. This created a mindset for the nephew that only added to his anger. Have I mentioned that he was only 8 going on 9 when this was going on? Um...yeah.
Let me pause to say that we never bad-mouthed my sister to her children. We always treated her with respect and as much love as we could stomach. We treated her addiction as an illness rather than a character (or mental) defect. I never wanted her children to feel the need to defend her or that she was under attack. I just wanted to love them.
Anyway, while he was with us we found therapists and psychiatrists who would provide him with the right diagnosis and medications so that he would have a fighting chance in school. We also sent him to a private school who had a teacher that specialized in dyslexia. I like to believe that it gave him a foundation that carried him through his schooling in later years but he was so young...I'll probably never know. I DO know that we planted a seed in his heart that told him that we loved him UNCONDITIONALLY - something he never experienced anywhere else.
After she moved him she made his life a living hell. Abuse abounded, some physical but mostly emotional. She, convinced he was a "bad seed" because he fought against her abuse, sent him away to a "boot camp" where, on the first fucking day (excuse the language) some of the other "inmates" broke his arm! He was 14 years old for God's sake!
(Pausing now to take a break and calm down..I only recently became aware of most of this and it still upsets me...a lot.)
After he returned (stronger and better equipped to fight - can you say BACKFIRED), he continued to rebel against the abusive conditions so that, at 16, she put him out on the street. Fortunately it's a very small town and so he found a place to stay and a job in rather short order. He worked and tried to go to school but finally it was too much and he had to quit so that he could pay rent and buy food.
Sometime during all of this, he deleted my phone numbers and addresses from his mother's phones and records so that she wouldn't be able to call and harrass us...thereby cutting off all form of contact. He believed he would never see us again but it was worth it if he could protect us from her. The seed we planted all those years ago had indeed bloomed, like a rose in the sidewalk of a vacant lot. Beautiful even when surrounded by chaos and ugliness.
However, he had no idea what lengths this mama bear would go to track him down and bring him home. Eventually I found him (thank you Google) and reconnected. We remained in close contact for a couple of more years and we supported him, sometimes financially but mostly emotionally until, FINALLY, last August he agreed to come "home". The day he arrived I was out of town on business but thanks to Steve Jobs and "Facetime", I was able to see his beautiful face in my home. I cried for two hours in that hotel room from shear relief.
During his stay he has gotten his GED (yay!), saved some money from his full time job and tried to start a new life. Unfortunately, we live in a rather urban area and he misses dirt roads, pick up trucks and farm land. So tomorrow, he's going back.
So now I have to say goodbye...again...and let him continue to grow into the wonderful man he is. He has managed to grow into a smart, warm, loving and wonderful human being (which he denies fiercely but can't help) and he has done it mostly alone. I am so proud of him I can't stand it.
I can let him go now because I know that HE knows where his home and his heart will always be welcome. He knows how to be loved unconditionally and he knows, miraculously, how to return that love. He knows who his true parents and siblings are and where he can find them any time - 24/7.
I can let him go because I know HE knows how much I love him. I can let him go but it doesn't mean my heart isn't breaking...again. And it doesn't mean I have to like it.
There is not so much comfort in having children as there is sorrow in parting with them. ~Proverb