Isn't it funny, how the strangest things can upend your world, completely turning it inside out and upside down? I mean, when my daughter first got involved with drugs, that was pretty bad. It seems so very long ago now, although it was only 11 years or so ago. A virtual lifetime though.
It's almost as though someone ELSE lived through those very very weird times. Gardening at 3 a.m. to relieve the stress. Working full time and trying to deal with my other kids, new babies in the house and a junkie daughter. I honestly don't know how I did it. Not a clue. Can't even imagine how I got through a day, much less several years of those days!
Now, it's even weirder. All my friends are out doing things. FUN THINGS.
I, am not.
I wouldn't trade it for the world, mind you. But I do occasionally think about it.
See the not so funny thing about custodial grandparenting is that, well, the usual reasons for getting custody of the grandchildren mean that those grandchildren usually come with a certain amount of baggage. Either emotional, physiological, or both. And, it's usually pretty labor intensive to parent them.
Most of us have kids who have occasional issues. We have gone through teen-age angst. We have gone through teen-age mishaps. We have learned a good bit about parenting.
Now THIS time around, we are doing it again, with about a million new things to learn, and with the added burden of children born addicted to drugs, neglected, ignored, abused, malnutrioned, or even worse.
The bad bad bad part is that it is OUR child who did this to them, or at the very least, allowed it to happen.
And the REALLY bad bad bad thing is that we can't say a damn word about it to the kidlets we are now raising. We can't badmouth Mommy or Daddy, no matter how bad of a F*%^ up they were. We can't say to the wee little baby who asks us "Granny WHY do I have to be different", or WHY do I have to have ADHD, or WHY don't I get to go to the store with Mommy, or WHY can't I stay the night at Mommy's house....
We can't say, WELL darling, It's because your mother would rather shoot heroin up her veins than take care of you, sweetkins.
No, we have to snuggle them, and tell them that it's just one of those adult things.
It was easier when they were 2 or 4. Now, at almost 9 and almost 12, not so much. They ask PERTINENT questions, hard questions. And it takes real skill and intelligence to carefully construct an answer which is non judgmental, won't scar them for life, won't break their little hearts and souls, and STILL manage not to LIE to them. Because see, their Mommy's and Daddy's lied to them and that is the one thing we can't ever do.
And, because their idiot parents are in some way biologically related to us, and waaaaay back when, when we didn't KNOW any better, we very stupidly allowed their idiot parents visitation, and now can't just shut it off without hurting the kids, WE have to put up with them being in and out of our lives, in and out of the kids lives.
We don't live normal, whatever that is anyway. My kids counselor calls their mother the "Ghost who didn't have the decency to die". She's not a major player in their lives, but she still impacts their lives. She comes and goes as she pleases, in and out of their lives. They never get the chance to just grieve for her and be done with that. It is rather like a wound that won't heal. Just when you think it is ALMOST better, it breaks open and starts ooozing again.
It's a constant state of flux, limbo, not being emotionally settled.
It's MUCH harder than raising your own child was. Much.
My day? Starts at 5:30, to get up, get kids up, fed, dressed, out of door to school bus on time, (2 different times this year), clean, pick up one of the three who have a counseling/doctor/case manager/dentist/eye doctor appt, take them to the whatever, drop by grocery store, run any errands I had, be home by 2 for the first load to get off bus, homework, second bus arrives, more homework that I don' t understand, get them to clean their rooms, pick up after themselves, answer landline, cell phone, texts from my own kids, figure out dinner, make dinner, get showers started, convince them that brushing your teeth is NOT child abuse, order ProActive for the one hitting puberty, organize the one who is ADHD, medicate the one who's entire digestive system doesn't work without medications, calm the one with a brain cyst who is F.A.S. (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), get the 2 younger ones to bed, start the oldest one to wind down, convince her that turning off her TV at 9:30 is not abuse, get up six or seven times to see what she is yelling at me from the basement for (her bedroom is down there), and finally, remembering to take MY meds to keep my heart from exploding, my thyroid in check, my nerves from taking one look at me and running away from my body, MAYBE get to watch an hour of TV that I thankfully can DVR or I would never get to watch....and go to bed myself at hopefully 11:30 or so. On a good night.
Yeah, those Sandcastle vacations that my friends are taking look pretty damn good. It's -10 F out there right now. I'm cold, and old. LOL.
But, when I go tuck the kids in at night, and I kiss their sweet little cheeks, and I know that they are safe, that drugs will never again impact their lives, that their parents will never again have the opportunity to ignore them, or hurt them, or trade their food for drugs, when I know they are loved, and (spoiled) and okay, well, I don't mind never going to the spa. I have a paraffin wax thingy. I guess that's enough.
Custodial Grandparenting is not for the faint of heart. Nope. Not at all. But for us tough old birds, ::::nodding my head:::: it's just the way we roll.