Wednesday, June 4, 2008
It Takes a Village - And Then Some
Caity Baby and Penelope!
To say that I was surprised when Laura called me to tattle on her sister's behavior is not exactly the truth. Laura is part of the overall village that it takes to raise the kid - in this case the kid being Caity. I expect and even respect Laura's decision to call me when I was 2,000 miles away from the world at hand to tell me that her sister was doing something bad, needed to be controlled, and that no matter what happened, no matter what I thought of the situation, I was (in Laura's kind words) to love Caity through this. "We're going to get through this Mom", was her last thing to reiterate to me before telling me what she REALLY thought my littlest was into - it wasn't good.
Oh, I tease about Caity, and I love to joke with you the world, and say that she's a monster, or that she's my little brat, but in the end - the truth is - Caity is as normal as the teen living right next door to you, maybe she's as normal as the kid living right inside your house and under your very nose. She's brilliant, talented, and daring - one of the things that keeps me positive about the way I've raised my kids is that one of them, Caity, has been able to push me to limits I didn't know I had. For me to say that you, the reader, need to wake up in the mornings and go to bed praying that you didn't have to deal with my Caity Baby, that it was MY job - is sort of true, but I can't do this alone. I use anyone and everyone I can to help me - sort of like; no it was exactly like the time that one of my favorite stars, a hero in my eyes, Carol Burnett, admitted publicly that she and her daughter had been going through challenges - it made Carol a human. Hello world, I'm human.
I have a fantastic kid, but she screws up. I listened to my baby as she traveled through a trip that could have ended her life this week - one that she should not have been taking, one that I couldn't reach in and pull her out of. Even if I hadn't been 2,000 miles away I couldn't have brought my little girl back down the same road she had taken to go so very far away - thank God for tattle-tells. This time it may have saved a little sister's life.
Listening to my little one I understood that she was doing absolutely everything possible to scream for help - she was wanting me to hold her, she was wanting me to discipline her, she was just wanting me to be there. I almost thought I had failed her - almost. I asked her, because I really did want to know, if I needed to stop traveling and stay closer to home to be with her - she couldn't answer right away. I'm staying a bit closer for a little while - that's all the answer I needed. One thing that really helped me this time was the fact that I had a faith base, a foundation of belief that God watches my kids 24/7 and there is NO WAY He didn't see what Caity had just been a party to (heavy on the word "party"). He knew exactly where she had been, what she had done, who she had been with, and what to expect - wish I had that omnipresent thing going on, but at this point it was more appropriate for me to trust Him again, and to call one of my best friends, a spiritual advisor actually, to literally go and babysit a nearly 18 year old baby who was curling in the corner - having pushed all the furniture to the doors to stop the "bad things" from getting in.
The fact that my kid thought she was melting - thought she had a hole in her chest and that someone had taken her heart out - told me exactly what she had been taking. I called poison control, it was actually the only thing I could do from Spokane! Water, time, love, and protection was the answer I got not only from the CDC but also from the doctors on staff at the Sacred Heart Memorial in Spokane. I called them just to ask....so the village, if you think about it, was quite large at this point. Then there were the people who live in my complex. Don't get me started on a few who could slip into the duck pond and I wouldn't notice - maybe I'd celebrate, but I wouldn't notice. I found some to be very helpful - prayerful, even inquisitive because they had no idea that one of my kids would be so normal as to give into such an overtly terrible temptation - we all do somethings we're not proud of. I was certainly quite relieved in 1983 when I found myself strung out on No-Dose driving over 120 mph from Flagstaff to Needles and got pulled over - that village ended up being a cop with a kid sister named Judy, I was also introduced to the county jailer for a few hours of non-stop water forcing and a little too little toilet paper. I made the man cross the street to buy the good stuff! (a "friend" had slipped me the drug to keep me awake while I drove her to California...some friend!)
So - my baby lives to see another day; and her brother (in the Army, but with extremely long arms) grounded her, placing her under house arrest making me the governor, jailer, police-chief, nurse, and taxi driver for the next 8 weeks until the little one is legal enough to have some sort of say in her life again. Here's the good part - she let him! That's what keeps me waking up every morning, and going to bed praying every night thanking God that I was blessed to be able to raise such a beautiful soul, such an amazing kid, as the explosive fire bomb that I named Caity. She's just one hell of a brilliant show! One I enjoy being a ring leader of, and certainly one I am thrilled to say I am on the creative team that literally made her. She screws up...and she called me right after her big sister did to tattle on herself - that was something I didn't expect!
What a village I live in. I couldn't always say I love the scenery, but I am apt to tell you that the people here are pretty damn caring - nosy as heck at times, but that's a good thing too now, isn't it? Thank you - you know who you are. I love you Caity, and no, you can't drive to the mall or anywhere else thank you, 8 weeks is 8 weeks. (This could turn out to be a really long summer!)