November someday, 2011…Hubby was in rehab in Beau Bridge, Louisiana…(story for another day)…We were about to move (back) in to our home after a few brief months in an apartment (and another story still). I had gone to the little girls’ school to get the paperwork done to transfer them back to their old school. And to see how my youngest was doing, the one who wears her heart on her sleeve.
I walked in to talk with her guidance counselor and asked how Savannah was doing, if she had talked with her about what was going on. She had no idea what I meant. Before I could stop myself, I said, “My husband is in rehab and I think she’s having a hard time understanding what’s going on.” Then, my 3rd grade child’s elementary school guidance counselor looked at me. Then she looked down and started writing. And she said, “She hasn’t mentioned it, I’ll try to talk with her this week.” She never looked back up. I was dismissed. I was THAT mom.
I walked out of the school with my head hung even lower than usual. My mind was frozen. All I could think was, I’m That mom…the one who just told her 3rd grade child’s guidance counselor that her dad is in rehab. That mom…whose 3rd grader now probably has the term “alcoholic dad” on her “permanent record”. That mom…who put her girls through years of living with an acoholic dad…and a co-dependent, enabling mom. That mom…who said she would never put her kids through what she went through growing up…and even though it is a totally different childhood than I had, it is still a painful one I put them through.
That mom…the one who others look down on…some with pity, but most with disgust…because they don’t understand why a mom would stay with a man like “that”…and not all of the “others” are mere acquaintances…some of the “others” are the daughters of That mom…and they say, “I will never let anyone treat me this way. I will never be like you.”
Oh, girls, how I pray that for you every night, that you never go through what I have gone through…that your children never know the pain you have known. How I pray that you never have to be That mom…the one who makes excuses to her girls for their dad…Or that mom…the one who feels pressured to go to the recovery meetings with her husband and makes her kids go too…and is so angry that THIS is what her family’s life is going to be like from now on…
And how I pray that you someday realize I am also That mom…the one who stayed with her husband when it was really hard…That mom…the one who tried so hard to never speak harshly of her girls’ daddy, even when those girls didn’t like him…That mom…the one who spent two days calling every rehab place in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Louisiana, until she found a place that would take him…because when the detox center said he had to leave, her girls said, “Mommy, we’re not ready for him to come home. Please find him some place else to go.” Yes, I’m That mom.
9 months in to recovery, I’m a different kind of That mom…I’m That mom who not only goes to recovery groups with her husband and daughters willingly, but who goes thankfully…I’m That mom…the one who realizes we all need recovery…not just my husband. I’m That mom…the one who stayed with her husband when it was really hard…and now has a marriage…a real one…with a husband who would do anything for his girls – all of us. And I’m That mom…the one who knows that God had a plan for us all along…and that for Him to put my precious girls through years of pain, He must have great plans for them.
Yes, I’m That mom…and I wouldn’t trade her for the world.