Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by New Leaf, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    OK. I will be there too. I am tenacious and relentless in these meetings. And adversarial if need be. It is almost the only situation in which I am like this. I will try very hard to mind my manners. I am right now going to look at the time difference, so that I am on time. We will be strong together. I can't wait. I will pack. Two bathing suits. (I have never been to Hawaii. I'm excited.)

    Wow. 3 hours difference. Sometimes you post early in the morning. What? Don't you sleep?

    That's 5pm my time.
  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thanks Copa, I will channel your presence. I will also channel my surfer mode, (okay a bit calmer). Waiting in the lineup, it is a territorial claim to sit in the right spot at the peak. Those who know, will not try to paddle in front of you for the wave. Those who don’t, will, that’s very obnoxious and rude, theft, really. I would skillfully zig and zag around them (picture Zoro carving his “z” with his sword), leaving the perpetrator surfers to wonder what just happened. That’s going to be me tomorrow, but in stealth mode, with a pleasant smile.
    Truth be told, I also realize that I may cry, too.
    I wake up around 3:30 am. Early to bed, early to rise. Okay another confession, my arthritis wakes me up, sometimes my bladder.
    I love the cool of the early morning with the moon and stars out.
    Thanks Copa.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear New Leaf

    You should be coming home about now. How did it go? You must be exhausted. I will look for you later and tomorrow morning.
  4. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Morning Copa and all, sorry to keep you in suspense. The meeting went well thoughts were shared and a plan was set. Dad did show up looking a bit rough around the edges. The situation was explained and the reality that drugs are an issue talked about. If he wants to have custody of the kids he has to take steps within 30 days to get clean. He expressed that he wasn’t ready, which is sad.
    Paternal grandma was upset and when we had a break and counselors left the room she questioned why we were here and restated that the arrangement was for the kids to be with me for the summer then return back to them. I explained that the hospital raised the red flag due to her husbands outburst. She defended him. I think that has been going on for some time.
    From the get go it was clear that the kids would stay with me for the time being, if Dad cleans up he has a chance to do right by them. If not, we go to court for guardianship.
    With that comes the task of finding therapy for the kids, dentist, doctors as well as being a referee between the brothers, and teaching my grands kinder ways to interact.
    God help us all as we try to transition to peaceable living.
    Thank you all for your kindness and support.
    We have a big canoe race today, so a bit of respite from the drama.
    Have a wonderful 4th of July.
  5. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    It sounds like it all went as well as it could have, Leafy.

    How sad for their father, but at least he showed up. Maybe possibly his blunt honesty is all he has left at this point to do what little he is able for the good of his children? Or maybe he just doesn't want the responsibility that comes with them, and the kids never entered his mind.

    I am so happy for your grandchildren, Leafy. We are all nourished by your virtual presence -- having you in real time makes them very, very fortunate. Enjoy the race and the holiday.
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear New Leaf

    Have a fun, great day today. Are the kids with you at the event? Some logistical questions: Are any of your children living with you right now? Will son return home after this summer program? If it is decided your grandkids stay with you will they be in the same schools? That is, do you live close enough by to the other grandparents where they would not have to move to new scholls? How will it work out when you are working? Do they have a way to get to school?

    I have not turned into Child Protective Services. I am wanting to get the routine into my head so that I can anticipate and visual it. What a beautiful thing.

    How are the kids responding to how yesterday went?

    New leaf. Our prayers were answered.
  7. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I agree with Albatross, it does sound like it went as well as it could. I'm glad the bio father was honest enough to admit that he's not ready to become clean and sober. Saves time and heartache there. I too am glad that the children are with you--they now have a chance to heal and to thrive. God's grace be on you and may He guide you and give you great discernment and wisdom. I will continue to follow as you post updates.
  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Albie, you are too kind.
    I can’t imagine what is going through their father’s mind. Years of drug use have hardened both parents. Maybe he is just being realistic about his situation. It is sad, but I wonder if he is thinking for the kids, that they deserve stability and peace. It would be quite a challenge for him to clean up and take responsibility for the kids. He still has a chance to try.

    The kids did come with me, I enrolled them in paddling when they came for the summer. Hoku moved out just this week. She will be coming by to lend a hand. Son is living at school for the next five weeks. He will be coming home afterwards, but I imagine he will want to spread his wings. We shall see. The grands will have to switch schools. The eldest wants to, the younger siblings didn’t, but want to stay with me and we have discussed the pros and cons. I do not live close to the other grandparents, not by island standards. We have some intense traffic that is a factor. It’s about a 40 minute drive without traffic. So, it would not be feasible.

    lol, Copa. The grands schools will be right down the road and on my way to work.

    Yes, our prayers were answered. The kids are relieved but still shell shocked. They are anxious about changing schools yet again. They know they will be going to doctors, dentist and counseling. It’s a lot to fathom. They will receive a clothing voucher(a small amount for the year) and are looking forward to going shopping.

    I am glad as well. I imagine his family will try to persuade him to go to rehab, so there is a chance he might try. If that is the case, I hope he would make a real effort and that the state would give it time before placing the kids under his care. That would be tough on them, the challenges of recovery.
    Thank you for your well wishes and prayers, Beta, Albie, Copa and anyone else following along. I shall be quite busy the next few days rearranging the house and making appointments. I will update when I can.
  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hello all, so sorry for the long hiatus, thank you Copa for your message and loving concern. Hoo boy, where to start. It’s been one heck of a summer.
    Son completed his college prep program and came home for a week or so then felt that dorming would be much better for him. He received some more scholarship funds that paid for it (phew!) and met with the school and despite the late decision was able to get a room. Yay son! He had a scare experimenting with vaping marijuana, had shortness of breath, and decided that it was not for him. It was hard for me not to go into lecture mode and is extremely scary considering his sisters track record. I asked him to go see a doctor, with all of the recent news on vaping pot and severe lung damage, even death, I hope he learned his lesson. GULP.
    He seems to be enjoying school. I miss him. He asked to go to lunch this weekend so hopefully we can catch up.
    The grands are settling down a bit. Counseling is helping, but is also traumatic as they purge and process memories, it effects them all over again. At first there was some complaining, but I explained to them that holding in all of the things they went through is like having a bad stomachache and needing to vomit, but trying not to.
    Those memories come out in bits and pieces when we have one on one time, and it is hard for me to hear. They have gone through so much in their young lives.
    We had our second conference and Dad did not show. So, to court we go. Sigh.
    Tornado made an appearance at the house, the kids saw someone outside and were saying “Who is that just walking in the yard?” I looked out and after a bit, realized it was their mother. She was dressed like a gang member, red bandana hanging from her back pocket, hair dyed pink, wearing a beanie in 90 degree heat. She walked into the house nonchalantly, the kids have not seen her but for Instagram selfie posts, for three years...... She was distracted as I explained to her the situation and that the goal was still for parents to take steps to get well enough to be reunified with the kids. That otherwise they may be looking at terminating parental rights. No reaction. Just “I need time to digest all of this.”
    Of course, the weekend was hell, as the kids acted out after the encounter.
    Rinse, repeat.
    Next week, I go for training classes for my foster license. Been fingerprinted, background checked, home inspected, interviewed, Hoku commented that if only the kids parents were so intensely reviewed and examined years ago.
    My hope is that my grands can recover and grab their lives back. I keep telling them that they don’t have to repeat the cycle. They don’t have to yell and scream, we discuss. It is a Herculean effort at times to keep up my invisible force shield and not absorb the angst that comes out of their pores.
    The interviewer asked me “And how do you discuss finances with the children?” I told her that that hasn’t happened yet, the immediate goal is to get them to live peaceably, be kind to one another. It’s hard to discuss allowance when putting out fires, settling multiple conflicts daily. Identifying triggers, the whole nine yards, I mean this is not regular sibling rivalry we are dealing with.
    The last question was, “In one sentence explain why you are doing this.”
    Because I love them.
    I hope that is enough.
    Thank you all for your support.
    One day at a time.
    Hugs and love,
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  10. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Good to hear from you again. You have a lot on your plate. Wow.
  11. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Leafy! How wonderful to "see" you! I have been wondering how you and Son and grands are doing.

    I'm sorry, Leafy.

    Of course they did. It makes my heart hurt.

    How blessed they are, Leafy. Other than the fallout from seeing their mother, do you see some improvement?

    REALLY?!? With all that's going on, that's what she asked? Sheesh. Good answer, Leafy.

    It is, Leafy. It is the only answer.

    It's so good to hear from you.
  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Albie, my quote thingee is not working again. I do see improvement with the kids. Little by little. I am reminded of how difficult it was to adjust after hubs passed, the stages of grief I went through, struggling to find my way through a cascade of emotions while trying to get back to a routine. Their adjustment is similar, they are grieving their past and having to learn to respond with thought rather than knee jerk reactions. I have been studying up on what trauma does to a young mind, it is difficult for the brain to develop whilst in fright/flight mode. When they are steeped up in conflict, over even the smallest of things, they feed off one another and it is hard to reason with them. It seems at times that they crave for and create conflict, that is what they were raised with, it is an odd macabre comfort zone.
    Their counseling sessions are not heavy handed grief work, they are slowly sifting through memories and learning why they are so volatile at times, developing skills to slow breathing and heart rate, so they can learn to calm the impulse to explode. Yet, counseling seems to be one of their triggers and I am thinking that the interaction makes them feel vulnerable and scared. So they switch those feelings off and become angry. Much safer to be tough and snarky. Especially the boys. My granddaughter is growing to enjoy her sessions. The kids have their own counselors, the younger two work with games and whiteboards, slowly drawing out their feelings so they can purge the trauma and find healthier ways to channel the built up rage.
    It’s a no brainer that this is uncharted territory for these kids, trusting an adult and sharing emotions. When the very people who are supposed to love and protect you, hurt you so deeply, trust is hard earned and frightening.
    It will be a long road towards recovering that innocence that was ripped away from them with their parents domestic violence, drug use, moving from place to place, neglect and abandonment. Bits and pieces of their past come out in bursts of tears and frustration as the dust settles from each explosion. “You don’t know what we have been through Tutu, moving place to place, being left alone for FIVE days wondering where our parents are.” It’s awful and heart wrenching to hear, but I know they need to speak their truth. They just need to get to the space where they can do that without the crescendo of drama, yelling, swearing, brow furrowed, red faced, atomic emotion. It is as if each rage strips away at the real feelings underneath it all, buried deep down so that as young children they could survive. I understand what’s going on, but it is still unacceptable to get to that point.
    I am going to get counseling for myself to be able to cope with it all and to learn strategies to help them and me. It’s hard when things are volatile, it is so reminiscent of when their parents were in and out of our house. I don’t think they realize the roles they take on, the eldest mimicking his father, middle boy, his mother. It is easy to see how the cycle of violence perpetuates.
    I intend to try my best to stop it. Honestly, my own survival depends on it.
    Hopefully the counseling will help to purge it from them and they will learn to appreciate more peaceable ways to live.
    Only time will tell.
    And lots and lots of prayers.
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear New Leaf: I haven't had the space yet to respond to your first post but wanted to comment on this. I worked many years in maximum security prisons. And I felt comfortable there. I never ever felt this was bizarre. Until lately. That this was the environment in which I felt safe. I could settle myself inside the gates and walls. The chaos around and external to me was controlled by the cops. And with this I could rest.

    I think the kids may be like me. They may not yet have the internalized sense of safety, the internalized structure to carry with them. Which they are NOW developing. Their fallback is the comfort zone of chaos. They are now depending upon you to give them the container, the structure of safety, so that little by little they can learn to be at home inside themselves with calm. And find that place themselves. When they no longer will seek or create chaos to feel safe, or depend on others to create or enforce control for them or over them.

    I feel sad for myself that I have still yet to have this capacity. This is the gift you seek to allow these children.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  14. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    What a process, Leafy!

    It reminds me of opening a packed closet filled with some things you still need but had largely forgotten, plus a whole lot of junk you definitely DON'T need anymore. There's also some spoiled food forgotten in an old backpack, some damp corners where something spilled and festered, maybe even some spiders and silverfish. The first few times you open the closet door, it all comes out in a big crashing heap, and you sort through a little bit of it and push the door closed again. Eventually you don't have to force the door closed, then one day you finally get through it all...and look what was hiding back there! You dust off that tennis racket that used to be your passion and return to playing the game you love so much.

    It does at least sound like their counselors understand their needs and "know their stuff" about how to get their needs met, how to get them to that space where they can safely process all that's happened. And I think that once they get there, they are going to be unusually strong, compassionate and emotionally mature people for surviving as they have and coming out the other side. I'm so very happy to hear you are going to ensure that you get some counseling too, Leafy, to support yourself in all of this. How fortunate they are.

    I hope overbearing Grandpa is stepping back gracefully?
  15. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Leafy, you are an amazing warrior grandmother. I am praying that things will turn around for your grands. One breath at a time sweet Leafy.
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  16. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    Because YOU are YOU, this will indeed work out. It will be hard but I know that this is what is meant to be for you right now.

    Congratulations on how far you have already come!
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