They say it takes a village to raise a child, but what happens when those you love the most aren’t there for you? What happens when those you love choose addiction over their own grandchild? How is it possible that those you love are a phone call and a whopping thirty minute drive away, yet you rarely see them? How can you ever recover from that? I feel like I am experiencing the five stages of grief, but the person is still alive.
There are people in this world that don’t have mothers, and they grow up with a void that may never be filled. I was fortunate enough to be adopted by my mother when I was a little baby and she gave me a life my birth mother couldn’t. I will be forever grateful to her but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything she does. I will always do what’s best for MY child, even if that means making a life changing decision.
I still remember the day I told my family I was pregnant. I was so excited and looking forward to sharing the big news with them, especially my mother. Once I went to the doctor and confirmed I was actually pregnant, I was bursting to spill the beans. A few weeks after I learned I was pregnant my Dad received some devastating news. The wonderful news of a baby was just what our family needed at a time like that. I was looking forward to holidays, birthdays, and weekends together once our baby boy was born. This is far from our reality.
I will never forget our conversation when I told my mom I wasn’t bringing my son over to their house as long as she was smoking in it. I have her voice engrained in my head because she was so angry and thought I was telling her “what to do in her own house.” I still get a tight pain in my chest when I think about when she told me (in so many words) that smoking is more important than her grandson and she was going to keep doing what she’s doing.
I can’t believe addiction is so strong that it actually drove my family apart. Addiction is so strong that I only see my mother a handful of times a year. Addiction is so strong that she doesn’t believe that her smoking is the only reason we don’t come over or see her on a regular basis. Doesn’t she know second hand smoke is harmful…especially to CHILDREN? Yes, she does know this because she’s a health professional.
When I see my friends with their mothers and see the connection their children have with their grandmas, it makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t have that and I want it so bad! I pretend everything is okay when people say, “Oh, your mom must LOVE spending time with her grandchild!” I put a fake smile on my face and recite the same scripted line to everyone before I quickly change the subject. They don’t know the truth: that I cry often because I hardly see or talk to my mother anymore. That I feel almost abandoned by my mother in a time I need her most. I’m furious because she can’t see the situation from my point of view.
I sometime question if I made the right decision. In my heart, I know I did what’s best for my little guy. He is my whole world and I would never purposely put him in a situation that is life threatening and detrimental to his health.
Throughout ALL the pain I feel, the guilt I experience, I try to make the most of the time I do get to spend with her. I send her pictures of my son, I extend the invitation over to our house, and we go out to eat as one big family. She is still my mother and, despite her addiction, I will always love her.