Until my husband’s phone rang at 9am this morning, We hadn’t heard from my stepdaughter since Mother’s Day. They chat with the dads regularly. She missed a first communion, an elementary school graduation, a birthday, the first day of school and several awards ceremonies. I emailed her the information, but never got a reply. We have kept track of her through crime reports and information relayed to us from family members who are still friends with her on her Facebook. My husband didn’t answer the phone. His anger with her and her countless lies have put him in a place where he can’t talk to her. He let the call go to voicemail as we decided if we were going to let the kids talk. I hesitated to let the kids call to her..In my heart, I want to shield them, to refuse to let her back into their lives..but I know they need to hear from her. I know they ache to hear her voice.
So, eventhough it hurt my heart, we let them talk to her. On speaker phone..together in the dining room (while i was in the kitchen, within hearing distance) she did most of the talking.. Apologizing and crying telling them how she is getting her life together and she is working and learning to be an electrician..hoping to get into a trade union soon. I listened and bit my tongue. She talked about buying them Christmas presents this year. The kids sat quietly listening munching on fruit from the fruit bowl.
I quietly offered suggestions of things to tell her..”tell her you made tenderfoot in scouts, tell her you made the jazz band at school” …it started a little conversation…but it was stilted..and it still hurt my heart. I bit my tongue when she reiterated how great she is doing…how she has been working for five months at a great job….(she didn’t mention her stint in county jail for fraud, or her drug arrest). I let her talk and promise to call more. And then the kids hung up. Nope I didn’t need/want to talk to her.
I can feel in my bones that as we get closer to Christmas, her calls will increase, her crying will increase, she may even send presents. But after the new year, the calls will die down, time will pass and we will have months in between calls.
I have played out this scene..and although I still pray for her to pull it together, to get a job, to make amends to those she has hurt, I also pray that the kids stay with us. Safe, loved, stable and fed. I know they love her, but they need us more.