I've been visiting blogs almost daily, when I have the chance. It's been a little crazy around here, but in a good way. (It seems odd to post a good report while so many I care about are fighting the good fight while their children struggle - please know that I only mean to share that it can be done. And that I am cognizant that it could all change tomorrow. Those of you who've been reading here for a while know I've tasted both sides of this battle.)
Things for us at this time are going well. My daughter has excelled at her new job, and is enjoying the fast pace and certainly the bonuses she gets for closing out cases. Both girls have enjoyed their time together this year, and Christmas was something like a dream to me. A good dream!
One of the best parts was when my girl searched and searched online and found a Rock Band game at a discount, to give her sister to use with her Wii. This gift just blew my oldest daughter away. It was extravagant, and it was something she had wanted for a long time. She often enjoys a night of goofy karaoke with friends and she has played Rock Band at other people's houses… But as a broke 31-year-old paralegal paying off school fees, etc, it wasn't in her budget. We had given her a PlayStation many years ago that the girls enjoyed and played each other for hours and hours. That one later was stolen for drugs by L. Big sister recognizes the difference between her little sister and the "monster" (addiction) and never held it against her that the game was stolen. I'm not sure I would have been so forgiving. But then, I was too busy looking for tools and cameras and other things, to worry about a game.
Laurie brought me tips and money, a few dollars at a time, until she had enough to order this game. She couldn't stand it any longer on Christmas Eve and made her sister open her present early. They had SO much fun playing that night. My husband was a long-haired rock and roll drummer back in the day, and they even got him to play the drums. I have video to prove that he did. Once he started, he was amazing. We were just sitting there stunned and when he was done the girls were cheering for him. Little things. Things that so many families take for granted. Sitting together on Christmas Eve laughing and playing a game. I was one second from tears the whole evening.
Gifts the next day were exchanged and it is the first time in quite a long time that she has been sober, employed and happy at Christmas. She gave us all lovely gifts that were thoughtfully selected and will be treasured/used/loved. My eyeballs were about to burst, but I kept it together.
DH surprised the heck out of me yet again. L's car "took a dump" (her words) and died, and he sold her the old Acura Integra that had been his mom's. At a price way less than blue-book. She got $400 for the old heap that died, paid him $500 for Grandma's car, and for a net of $100, she was back on the road, zipping back and forth to work and loving the mileage she was getting. She popped a stereo in it and she's one happy camper. Like I say, he continues to surprise me and drive me batty - maybe that's normal!?!
At any rate, we find ourselves looking at each other when our little addict heads out the door for work in the morning, and we have occasionally said "we'll always have 2011, no matter what." I see this time as pure GRACE. A gift I never thought I'd have, and may not get to always have. I am wallowing in GRACE.
L and LeBoyfriend are getting a place of their own February 1. It is a cute little two-bedroom duplex with a garage - he is excited about the Man Cave and also having a bedroom for his 16-year-old daughter when she visits. My daughter and his daughter get along really well and they're looking forward to her visits.
A few days ago, L came down the stairs about halfway, stopped on the landing where the stairs turn, and announced: "I need everyone's undivided attention!" We all paused, turned and listened as she announced that she had just gotten off the phone with her parole officer. She had turned in her monthly write-in (she was put on write-ins, and minimal supervision, a few months ago) and didn't expect to hear from him. He came by one night not long ago and talked to us/her about her application to get off parole early for good behavior. He said it was a long shot, but he wanted her to try.
Anyway, on the phone this night, he asked how she was doing, and when she told him she was getting ready to move, he said, "you know, you don't have to give me your new address."
She was confused, and said, "really? How come?"
He said "oh, cos they discharged your parole, you're not a parolee anymore." We all burst into cheers and tears simultaneously when she told us. She ran the rest of the way down the stairs and gave me the biggest hug I'd had in months.
LeBoyfriend has been doing some odd jobs for us from time to time and is driving humongous tankers for his dad's company, to and from the refinery with acid on board. I asked him once if he'd rather do construction, or drive, and he got this sad look on his face and said, "Joy, I really love working with my hands, making something useful, or pretty, doing tile work, putting down floors, even building fences. But my dad needs me; and I owe my mom and dad so much for all these wasted years, so, I'm driving for Dad for as long as he wants me to." That made me sad, and proud of him at the same time. I hope it doesn't become a burden; does that make sense? He listens to books on tape and even young adult oriented Bible studies as he drives, and I hope that helps the time pass.
My house looks like a storage unit. I seriously expect the guys from Storage Wars (do they show that TV show nationwide?) to show up and start bidding her stuff right off the front porch. There's a sofa, a new queen mattress/box springs, a newfridge, all stashed in the living room and dining area, with about 30 boxes scattered throughout the living room, dining room, hall and den!….. they saved the money for the big stuff, and friends are donating things like silverware, a mixer, etc. About two weeks ago, I spied a "free" sign on an adjustable queen bed frame, sitting in a driveway down the street - DH and I hiked down and carried that frame home so fast! Score!
She's eyeing a tiny gas grill for LeBoyfriend for Valentine's day - will buy it and hide it in our garage til then. The next week to ten days will be chaotic as they move, but good….
Normal and age-appropriate steps. What a blessing this year has been and what a blessing to see them eagerly taking the next right steps. We look ahead to 2012 with hope and excitement, NO expectations, and lots of love for our girl and LeBoyfriend.
Prayers continue for all our beloved children....