Not very social or serviced.

18 Mar

Some of you may remember last summer. How we trusted a woman-another mother, and she broke our trust, horribly. I teetered on the trust edge, trying to push myself away from my natural state of distrust to open my heart, help her and her terribly unattached wild son, try to give some stability to their lives, a friend for Viv.

I was wrong.

One day, she took my kids, and her son, to the local amusement park. And left them there. The police called me and told me what happened, and I was shocked, but glad they were safe, also livid in my head, but outwardly calm and normal. The woman burst in my house soon after, sobbing her apologies. The kids were confused, but otherwise unaffected. I let my anger stewed, gave her the benefit of the doubt.

Soon after I learned she was a recovering addict on methadone, had a criminal record, and regularly locked my kids out of her house and made them pee in the bushes. I cringe to think what Vivian doesn’t tell me.

The final straw, the one that finally made it ok for me to say no to her, to their father who was a little more trusting, was the day she took Rosalyn without asking, just left a note, and when confronted said that she told Ros to give the note to her father as he drummed, and that we should discipline her because she didn’t do it.

We should punish a 4 year old for not telling her Dad another adult was taking her from her own house.

I was so inflamed I made him deal with it. To look at her I knew I would rip her limb from limb. She didn’t get it, and we all breathed a sigh of relief when she finally moved away.

I feel for her son, her lonely lashing son, who I worry doesn’t stand a chance.

But then a few weeks back, a knock at my door. Social services, wanting to follow up. Procedure, to check, to interview. I hate the idea, but I’ll deal with it. They’re doing their job.

Today I sat through a humiliating interview asking me about school, their personalities, how I parent, why and what things happened. When. Will I be punished if I don’t remember exactly when things happened? Will I be blamed because I went with my husband at the time, and tried to show some trust and compassion for the woman, tried to help her son, the poor lost poor?

I nearly felt my brain boil out of my ears when the social worker told me that the main reason for the visit was that I didn’t show any concern when the cop called.

I am my mother’s daughter. When things go bad, you do not show fear. You do not show emotion. You become polite and well mannered and understanding. You burn on the inside. And I knew they were safe, then. While I was frantic inside, wondering, angry and smouldering, I’m not going to freak out on the phone with the police. They were safe. I would save my ire for the woman who left my children alone for over an hour in an amusement park.

I dealt with a social worker examining my every move for 40 minutes today, questioning “do I spank? Have I hit” because someone perceived that my reaction OVER THE PHONE was not enough.

Sounds familiar. Sounds like a certain Twitter incident. The assumption, based on going off half cocked. Using a forum that does not provide enough inputs in terms of body language and context to come to an opinion.

THAT makes me angry. The fact that my lack of response, which for me, is normal, came back to haunt me. I freak out after, when I start thinking about the what ifs. But with a police officer? I’m going to be polite and calm, as I was raised to be. Keep my composure.

(The constant worry that because I can be deemed crazy they might take my kids at any time also keeps me under a tight rope with law enforcement. Which I imagine can be perceived oddly.)

So I stood today, staring at my house, the unfinished walls, the doors with no handles, the clothes and paper strewn on the floor because I cannot do it all myself, and lived for years with someone who had no desire to DO anything about it-I stood there feeling humiliated and embarrassed that having wonderful, intelligent awesome kids might not be enough-that my inability to keep a clean house might haunt my, that my honesty that yes, I’ve swatted Ros on the butt to keep her off a busy street-I’m not terrified that these thing will cause problems I can never be rid of.

And don’t get me started with how she had ZERO desire to speak with their father. Apparently this? Is all MY fault. Despite my constant assertions to him last summer that I’d prefer someone else watch the kids, even if it cost money. I didn’t throw him under the bus, but it was more than a little fucking painful to be stared at like this was all my fault when I did nothing but try and trust a woman my heart and mind told me to stay well away from.

So the what ifs start in my head again. I KNOW I’m a good mother-a little flighty, chaotic and not the neatest, but I am raising women who will roar. And I want to cry because I worry, I fucking fear in my heart, that the people I am creating, molding, will not matter half as much as someone’s half baked idea of how clean a home should be.

Why am I being punished? Why just me?

And ultimately, what if this punishes my daughters? All we did was try and cultivate a friend for Vivian, try and do the right compassionate thing in trying to give that little boy a soft place to land. We trusted.

And we were wrong.

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22 Responses to “Not very social or serviced.”

  1. Cynthia March 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    Holy crap. Unbelievable.

  2. Titanium March 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    Oh, girl.

    I have no words. I just don’t. I am thinking of you, processing THIS, and hurting for you.

  3. Cheeky Monkey March 18, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    Oh, honey. That sounds horrible. And then there’s so much actual awfulness that gets missed, too often, in neat homes with “perfect” mothers. Appearances.

    It doesn’t seem at all fair. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

  4. Maggie,dammit March 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    Jesus.

    I…

    Jesus.

  5. Kelly O March 18, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Have you ever read Albert Camus’ The Stranger? Weirdly similar.

  6. slouchy March 18, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    Oh, fuck. I’m sorry. So unfair.

  7. Bon March 18, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    just catching up. fuck.

    i have been getting an education lately, in how child services and family law work, because my boss (& friend) has an adult daughter in a situation that is breaking her heart and my SIL (who is a lawyer with child services) gave me the honest rundown on how it all works.

    and from what i can see, it works on premises that skate very very close to blame the victim, where mothers are penalized for traditionally feminine behaviours in situations with irrational people, rather than the irrational people being the ones held to account.

    i hope this goes away, Thor, and fast.

    you are raising women who will roar. my god, how grand and lovely.

  8. flutter March 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm #

    This breaks my fucking heart and pisses me right the fuck off. I am just so sorry

  9. raino March 19, 2010 at 12:24 am #

    ridiculous. just how fucking ridiculous this world is sometimes. u have done nothing wrong. jnothing. ust remember that.

  10. Bad Mummy March 19, 2010 at 12:50 am #

    I am awesome in a crisis. I should hope that this would never be held against me.

    I’ve been visited by Childrens’ Aid, in a follow up to an incident that required me to call the police on my then-husband. Because our daughter was in the home at the time of the incident, CAS has to follow up.

    A month later…a social worker and a nurse in my living room. I am asked to undress my daughter so that the nurse could examine her. She was 14 months old.

    Meanwhile, my then-husband sat at the dining room table with the social worker. At one point she asked for our pediatrician’s name and number. And the asshat refused b/c he thought the doctor would hold it against us. He came across like the fool that he is.

    During this process, I was calm and collected. I knew that The Mook was well cared for and happy and healthy. I had no fear that *I* would be deemed unsuitable as a parent. And I think that confidence helped.

    Later, I was asked to show the nurse and social worker where The Mook slept. And they took that opportunity to ask me what was going on, noticing that I would not make eye contact with the Former Mr. I explained that the marriage was over, but I still had to convince him of that. That I wasn’t sure of his mental state. But that I didn’t have any other options available to me. They advised me not to leave the house for any reason (b/c it was the ‘marital home’).

    And then I never heard from them again. They closed our file. I’d like to think they’ve got it somewhere, should he (or I) be investigated again. But the whole situation left me feeling out of sorts. I wished they had offered more support, given my ex’s instability and paranoia. But nope. Nothing.

    Oh, and the calm and collected you? Was she on her meds at that point? Because I find I have the ability to cope with all sorts of shit storms when I’m taking my meds.

  11. misspudding March 19, 2010 at 2:59 am #

    Bleh. No fun!

  12. bromac March 19, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    Gawd…..unbelievable.

  13. et March 19, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    So sorry that we as a society have come to this. in so many ways.

  14. natalie March 19, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    this squeezes my heart….because I’m not sure what is right and what is wrong in this type of situation…

    is is right to turn away from someone, when they appear to be trying so very hard, to give their kids something better, to give their kids something brighter….especially when you believe that they actually CAN do better …and are not aware of anything to the contrary?

    and then is it right to have to keep pretending otherwise when you learn about children being left, neglected, cast aside or ignored….

    and it is right to have be examined, under a microscope, for every single micro-judgment, of an event 9 months past and be judged upon any and all answers….

    and when does it ever become right….that despite all of these systems (which are less than perfect and which end up victimizing innocent people and putting people like you on the hotseat) that children STILL fall between the cracks….

    this is so difficult….I am sorry you are stuck in the middle of this bad situation….for a simple desire to help.

    difficult…. and NOT right.

    PS – what I DO think is right….is the way that you are consciously parenting those girls towards being responsible, bright, curious and honest women….that is SO right….on SO many levels…. and no amount of dust, doorknobs or chipped paint can ever take away from that.

    • thordora March 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

      It’s so hard, and confusing. I KNOW she’s doing her job, I get it, but it’s hard to not be terrified. It’s hard to not be angry when all we wanted to do was try and help that boy, share child care time-be the good neighbours we would want.

      I just hope they never come back.

  15. schmutzie March 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    This weblog is being featured on Five Star Friday!
    http://www.fivestarfriday.com/2010/03/five-star-fridays-edition-95.html

  16. Stephanie March 19, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    I don’t have any great words of wisdom. Just wanted to say that I feel this post so deeply. You clutch V&R. I’ll clutch you.

  17. lili March 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    I feel for you. I hope everything works out for the absolute best. You are a good mother. Child Protective Service workers can be a pain. For a lot of reasons. It is just exhausting to keep having to try to have trust in relationships and situations only to have them backfire.

    Hug your kids and watch cartoons or whatever. If you can try to rest your mind. You are doing the best you can and you have done nothing wrong.

  18. Single Mom Seeking March 20, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    As someone who has been through a crisis or two myself… please know: you really are a great mom. Please know that.

  19. Marcy March 20, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    Lord, may these interviewers have the sense and training to judge rightly in this case. May the brief time shared with that other family have been a blessing to them, a light in that boy’s life, and his mom’s, and please deliver her from the meth. Please reassure Thordora of her reasons for confidence in her parenting. And please keep those kids with her, as I am sure you will.

  20. ifbyyes March 21, 2010 at 2:15 am #

    Just remember, and chant to yourself: “They are doing this because they don’t know me, and they care about my children. They are doing this because there are mothers like that one, out there, and the only way to catch them is to interview a lot of innocents. They are here for the children. I will show them that I care, and they will be relieved.”

  21. PainInTheNeck March 25, 2010 at 12:10 am #

    I do the same thing……… react calm and while frantically my mind is thinking is everything ok, if it’s not, how do I fix it, etc…. but the other person can’t see this through a telephone line.

    Unfortunately Social Services seems to be more against the innocent lately and doesn’t protect the children that really need protection.

    Hope you’re feeling better.

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