Today is Mother's Day. Did you know I am a mom? Most people don't. I don't talk much about my son. He is an "adult"--I use the term loosely. He has spent more time on the streets and living with nothing than most.
I was a single mom until Joe turned 5, and then his biological father (The Sperm Donor, BS) decided he was going to be a part of his life and started visitation. It wasn't court ordered; It was only every-other-weekend, and Joe seemed to enjoy himself and look forward to the visits. BS never asked for joint custody--until I started dating and subsequently marrying my hubby. Then all Hell broke loose.
It was miserable for all of us, and most of all, for Joe. We battled in court twice. The second time, I lost physical custody of Joe. You may ask, "How in the Hell did you lose custody of the child you raised?" It wasn't pretty, that is for sure. It was heartbreaking, and it was ugly. And it meant that my relationship with my son would forever be changed.
We aren't close. I used to worry about him constantly, feel guilty constantly. To this day, I am sure I am going to get a call that he has been killed or has killed himself. He is mentally ill, and does not take his medication regularly. It is either when he has to be admitted to stabilize himself, or when he has enough money to pay for his meds. Most times, he foregoes getting his meds and buys cigarettes instead.
We get infrequent calls, and he is never in the same place twice. He has had more "homes"--again, using a term lightly--than most people have in a lifetime. He always seeks approval, so desparate for love and positive attention.
He has made some aweful choices for himself in the past. He is so naive, so trusting of people. Inevitably, he gets his heart broken, or is taken advantage of and is left on the streets with no money. He is drawn to those like himself--he meets most of his so-called friends in treatment centers. That goes ditto for his girlfriends. Most of the women he meets are homeless, no source of income, and single mothers. I think every last one of the women he has been with have been older. I think in some ways, he is looking for a maternal figure, someone to take care of him. In his mind, it is he that is going to take care of them, however.
The relationships are short lived, and it always leaves Joe spiralling into a deep depression with suicidal thoughts. I know what must be going through his head: "I am not good enough for anyone. No one loves me. I am disposible."
He of course would feel that way. That is my dark secret: I gave my son away to the devil himself. I sacrificed motherhood in an attempt to keep the peace with everyone. I desparately wanted to keep my husband; I didn't want to keep fighting with BS; I was sick of court battles where I inevitably came out looking like an over-emotional basket case. Hell, even hubby said I was not fit to be a mom. So I got what I deserved. But Joe didn't deserve this. He really didn't.
We have rescued Joe twice. Once it was in Birmingham. He was in the hospital after cutting himself dozens of times. He had been living on the streets, and we hadn't heard from him in ages. We tried to help him, but he didn't want to follow rules. He was 19, and didn't want any responsibility.
The next time was after he got kicked out of his girlfriend's house. She took his money, and kicked him out. He stayed with us about a month that time. He really was doing a good job (for Joe), but my sisterwife couldn't stand him. She called him "a worthless excuse of a human being". That cut my heart to pieces. She despised him, and wanted him gone. For his own safety, both physical and mental, I let him go. That was the last time I saw him...4 years ago.
I know he wants to come home. He is weary and homesick. He hasn't seen family in about two years. I can't help him--we are technically homeless ourselves, save for living with the people we are taking care of.
So that is the ugly burden I carry. I am not much of a mom. I crave calls from Joe, but when he does, I can't stand talking to him. It is too painful. I deserve the pain. I deserve to have it crammed down my throat. But I avoid it. I am a coward.
Happy Mother's Day.