Two stories on news yesterday and today have my heart beating just a little faster/harder at the thoughts of what could have been....
First, the news broke about a baby (two year old) found drunk and staggering by police when they went to the home. At the hospital, it was learned that he had a blood alcohol level of
The question on the news at first was if the parents, who were at the hospital giving birth to their third child would be held accountable. Later, the police said that they had no intention of charging the parents. However, today, I read that the father has been issued a restraining order to stay away from his children, his wife and their home.
The mother is said to be angry about everything.
I would be also.
But I also understand living with alcoholism, and the denial that one can be in that leads to this sort of thing happening. There are many mothers/fathers world wide who have at times had their children in the care of one afflicted -- often the children's own parent.
Sadly, I can count a few times when I did something almost equally as stupid without understanding the enabling and dangerous consequences. (Including going to work with him sober, knowing that by the time I got home, he would not be, calling frequently to 'check' on how things were. That was when I had just begun the road out of denial into the realm of honesty with myself, a slow process...).
I spent a lot of time angry back then myself.
Angry at the craziness.
Angry at the one who was 'to blame' for the craziness.
Angry mostly at myself for the craziness.
But I did not understand any of it.
I did not drink much, yet I let the one who did, drive. In fact, one of the 'hidden shames' of my own fourth and fifth step was one of many times that I had had nothing to drink at all
We did not make it even a half mile from the wedding reception of my sister in an ice storm, when the car began to slowly spin, caused by the sudden movement to correct a slow drift toward the ditch that began when dh had reached for something and looked away from the road for a second... he had been drinking a lot.
I prayed for safety. Out loud. LOUDLY asking God to PLEASE keep us safe and to protect not only us, but also the car from hitting the deep sections with poles... as we spun around and around, and then ... backed in..... to a family's yard...slowly.
We ended up in the ditch, in the ONLY safe place on that part of the road, backing in between two driveways on a sloped and manicured lawn, narrowly missing culverts, and two trees, in fact -- parked right in between them.
DH got out, as the two children screamed and cried, and said "I did pretty good, didn't I?" meaning, he 'steered' the car to where it landed!
WHAT??? Sober, I had driven to the reception at 15-20 miles per hour. Drunk, he was now leaving, under almost the same conditions, driving 25 mph. Sober, I had remained vigilant constantly. Drunk, he looked away and in doing so, the car 'followed' him in the direction he was looking. Quietly, I said his first name... and he looked up, and over corrected, causing us to spin out of control...and he thought that he had been the One to keep us safe???
Sadly, after others helped us to get out of the yard and back on the road, I actually yelled at my daughters, and told them to sit back down, and when the second became hysterical not wanting to go in our car, I forcibly put her into the car seat...and let dh drive again.
It took me a very long time to admit my stupidity to another human being (fourth and fifth step of Alanon). The fear I felt the rest of the way home (including going over a bridge and picturing us going OVER the edge... on the icy bridge itself) caused my anger. And that anger was mostly self-directed, but also misdirected.
The guilt and shame I felt for being "responsible" for the possible deaths of my two girls, and my unborn son, myself and dh was more than I could cope with, even though it had not happened.. and because I did not face the reality of the situation, other things like it happened again.
DH drove, because he was the man of the house... in my mind, and probably in his.
And, because, when I finally got honest with myself and another human being....because I was afraid of the resulting anger if I insisted on taking the keys and the car away from him.
The second story on the news involves a teenager.
(Oh how grateful I am that none of mine pulled THIS one! The ones that each did was enough, but this one would have done me in... for sure... )
I can hear me. I bet if my kids read this THEY can hear me... Scared to death when the kid isn't HOME, I read in an email where he IS????
I would have been crying, screaming, praying, shaking, threatening what I would do to him when I got him home... pleading with God to keep him safe, calling anyone I could get ahold of for both help and prayers, calling the airlines, the police, my Senators/Congressmen... anyone who may be able to get my kid HOME.... NOW....
And when he got home? Grounded? Yes. Money taken away? Yes, and that passport, and the visa, and EVERYTHING else that could be used for ID to try something so dumb again... and his 'buddies' who knew and did not tell me? They probably would not want to come over for awhile, because as my kids always said... when Mom gets quiet... look out. And I would have NO idea what to say to them....
Eventually, there would be just a glimmer of pride in the fact that he was able to find his way around, etc... but that would take a VERY long time for me to get to that point.
Pictures of him being kidnapped, murdered, or a bomb, or... whatever.. would be playing too loudly and too clearly for me to hear the 'good' for some time...
.... a mother's heart....