Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Hardest Parts of Being a Prodigal Mom

The hardest parts of being the prodigals' mom change from day to day.  But today, these are the hardest things to me.

1.  Each morning when I wake up, I check my cell phone to see if there are any missed calls or texts from Courtney.  I check to see if maybe she emailed me.  Usually the only thing I see is a automatic tweet she scheduled  months ago.  Then I pray that God will put his arms around her and keep her safe all day.

2.  When we sit down for dinner, I wonder what Courtney had to eat that day.  When I'm at the grocery store, my eyes still notice and hesitate over her favorite foods.  But I don't buy them because we have plenty of ramen noodles and cottage cheese now that no one eats them. 

3.  Sometimes if our family doesn't hear from Courtney for a few days, I look on line at the county jail website to see if she has been incarcerated.

4.  The last time Courtney was gone from home, I would ask the police to do a Wellness check if we didn't hear from her in a week.  They would go to where she stayed and make sure she was OK.  This time we don't know where she is staying.  Maybe she hasn't told any of us on purpose.  Or maybe she was trying to live a "normal life" before.  I'm not sure that is still the case.

5.  It is hard to sit in church on Sunday morning and look down our pew to see Courtney's empty seat.

6.  I pray each day more than once, that Christian, believing, good and kind people will be in contact with Courtney.  I pray that her heart will be soft, and she will turn around her life and get on her feet.

7.  I remember when Courtney spoke out in a Sunday afternoon church service a few months before she left again.  With tears in her eyes, she said she and her friend were struggling with alcohol and "other things", and were trying to get their lives right but were struggling to find their way.  No one there contacted either of them after that service.  No one.  No one sent a card or note, and phoned to offer word of encouragement.  And now she is gone again.  It's not their fault, I know.  But I wonder if maybe someone had shown some concern,...

8.  I think about how Courtney told me she lost her faith when she was 18.  I don't know why I can't find a way to help her.

9.  Courtney struggles with depression quite a bit, and cries a lot.  My heart hurts for her, but somehow I couldn't find a way to make a difference for her.

10.  The hardest thing of all is thinking back to when we had three beautiful little girls who were best friends and loved God.  I wish somehow I could go back to that time and try something different so we wouldn't be on this prodigal path.  I wish we'd never learned about this way of life.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Daughter May Be Moving

Tuesday our youngest daughter told me that Courtney may be moving to California.  She has a female friend in the Marines who said she would buy her a ticket to come there.  Courtney is fighting with the people she lives with.  It is getting close to time to pay the rent, and since Courtney is not working, they are ready for her to get out.  Molly told her sister that she just needs to come home.  But Courtney said no, she would not be coming home.  The guy in the house she is suppose to be a "couple" with, told her he doesn't want to be with her anymore and she needs to go.  I don't know what she is going to do.  The friend in California may not realize that Courtney plans to stay indefinitely, or that she may have problems the friend isn't aware of.  I guess we'll see how this goes.

Someone emailed me and asked why I just don't talk to Courtney.  I think they thought I was shunning her.  She doesn't want to talk to us.  She left home, and didn't tell us she was leaving.  She hasn't given me her phone number.  She only texts me from other peoples' phones.  I guess she wants to prove she is right, but it isn't working out that way.

I read something tonight that made a lot of sense.  It said that many things can contribute to the way a child turns out, but in the end, it is their choice.  It also said that we can't let the devil tear apart what we have worked so hard for in our family.  That is so true.  Hard, but true.

It is hard for me to let go and take a chance on losing her.  But I just have to remember that the Lord loves Courtney more than I do, and He takes care of His children.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Joined the Wrong Groups

I heard back from some more of the groups I joined yesterday.  I must have really been distracted when I did this.  I don't think I could read the whole descriptions until I joined.  So I was searching for key words.  Like prodigal, lost child, etc. Well, today I heard from two more.  One is for LDS, and one is for parents of gay children.  Neither of those categories match me.  I guess I am the only mother in the country just worried about the adult daughter living a bad life and probably being on drugs.

I came to a conclusion today.  I decided that I can't trust God to handle this situation, and struggle with it at the same time.  So I need to give my daughter to God, daily.  And I need to let Him take care of it.  I don't know where she is.  I could call a cell phone number she called me from, but I haven't because I feel like she is playing games.  She has not talk to me in several weeks.  She is punishing me for not letting her live the life she wants, in my home where it would all be easier.  I can't support her in this lifestyle mistake she has chosen for herself.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Trying Some Internet Support Groups

Well, our daughter, Courtney has been gone over a month now.  Previous times when she has left, we knew where she was staying.  This time we do not.  I asked her youngest sister today if she knew where Courtney was staying.  She said no.  I told her that someone needs to find out where she is staying so if something happens to her, we know where to look for her.  Courtney speaks to her sisters on the phone, I think.  But she is not speaking to us.  The last time she left, she acted like it was normal that she left, and she was living a normal life.  We were just strange because we didn't like her friends.  This time I don't think she cares what we think.

I have been reading a lot.  I am currently reading "When Your Child Breaks Your Heart" by Barbara Johnson.  I love to read her books.  I can really relate to the way Barbara feels.  Her child was a homosexual (he has since left that lifestyle).  This is not the problem with our daughter, but I can relate to Barbara's feelings of loss when her son leaves home and she doesn't know where he is.  Of her wanting to find another mother to talk to, who has lived through this and can explain it to her.  I feel exactly the same way.   I just want to meet someone who's child has come back to everyday normal life.  I want them to tell me that everything will be fine, and how I can fix this.  So far that is not happening.

Another thing I have done this week is to join some Internet support groups.  Once again, I don't seem to find anyone whose situation is like mine.  One group is for mothers of incarcerated adult children.  That is not my situation, but I found them because their title is about prodigals.  They have been very welcoming to me and seem to be kind, caring women. 
I feel God pulling me to do something here.  I really believe there are other mothers like me somewhere, who need support and answers.  I just can't seem to find them.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

No News This Week

I don't really have any news this week.  I don't believe I've heard from Courtney.  She was planning to come by the house last Thursday, but that didn't happen.  I texted her that some of us had been sick and she probably shouldn't come.  She has a tendency to get things that turn into pneumonia, and she doesn't have insurance.  She texted her dad on his birthday.  She said Happy Birthday and she loved him.  She emailed me, and asked me to email her resume to her.

So that about covers updates about here.  No progress has been made.  I have contacted some prodigal parent groups on the Internet, to see how they operate and check out their resources.  I just want to know that in the end, it will all be OK.  I hope one day I feel comfortable believing that.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

You just don't know until you've lived it!

Other parents don't understand, I don't think.  And I believe maybe we'd feel and act differently is our daughter was a boy.  People don't understand why we want her to come home.  I feel like they think we should "divorce" her.  We don't approve of her lifestyle choices.  They break our heart.  Even family doesn't understand.  My parents think we shouldn't let her come back, because she will never change if she can come back any time she wants, "if that door always swings open".  Our siblings think that she is "mean" to us when she is here.  We want to take her out of the "danger" that is her everyday life.  We want to save her before it is too late.  Isn't that what all parents want?  We never thought this would happen to us.

There are so many things that can happen to her in the life she is living.  She could overdose.  Someone could give her drugs she is not aware of.  She could be raped, mugged, killed.  She could be beat up, shot in a drug incident as an "Innocent" bystander.  So many things that we can't even think of them all.  We really don't want to thing of them.  She could turn to prostitution and living on the street.  These are very real possibilities.

We have to do something to get her off these drugs, if we get the opportunity again.  She has to make a complete break from these people she is attracted to.

Just two months ago, she was talking about going in the military and leaving in February.  That would have been the best thing for her.  She said, in the end, that she was afraid of being homesick, and couldn't go. 

Shortly after Christmas, Courtney called me from Walmart.  She was being held with some friends, for shoplifting.  She was the only person that had not been shoplifting.  She said she didn't know they were doing this.  My husband said she was the lookout.  She may not have understood that was a crime, but I'm certain she knew it was wrong.  Since she was the only person not concealing, she was not arrested.  Walmart had every right to arrest her, and she could have gone to jail.  But we know a lot of people, and she was let go to our care.  That was the beginning of the trip back down old paths.  Or at least our realization of the trip.

That night she was told by the police to come home in lieu of going to jail.  She was not going to come home.  She finally came home, but did not want to stay.  We told her if she left she needed to make other arrangements of where to stay.  We told her that was not making wise choices, and she needed to think about this.  She was ruining her plans to go into a law career, by her choice of friends.  She was going to lose her chance to go into the military if she got arrested again.  She would not listen, and left.  She stayed gone about two weeks, and asked if she could return home. 

She was home this time, about six weeks, and just didn't come home one night.  Things were getting bad in her life, she had made wrong choices that were catching up with her.  I tried to tell her that God had a plan, and she needed to open her heart and wait to see what God's plan was.  She was in a dead end job.  She was running out of money to stay in school this semester.  She needed another car, or a lot of work done on the one she was driving.  She wanted to make her own rules.  That in itself was the biggest problem.  And I guess she has a bigger drug problem than I ever dreamed.

She said we were not treating her like an adult.  I said we were treating her like an adult who lives in our house.  She has to follow our rules.  She does not pay rent, utilities, buy groceries, etc.  There are a lot of perks for following a few rules.  Instead, she decided she knew best.

She has been gone now over three weeks.  She is having second thoughts about being gone, and the people she is keeping company with.  I told her they were just interested in what she had to offer.  She doesn't have a good job and doesn't make much money.  So the main attraction of having Courtney in their world is that she has a car.  No one else does.  She asked her sister if we would let her come back.  We sent word to her that she needed to come talk to us.  She hasn't done that yet.  So here we are.  Living our lives with one daughter missing.

Since she has been gone, we have found drugs in her room.  We have discovered a great deal of money missing in our home.  I'm afraid to look too closely at my jewelry and such, afraid something might be missing.  It appears our house was searched recently.  My husband discovered the money missing last night, and then I realized our room had been gone through.  Our office had been searched  I thought the baby moved some things but that was not the case.  Could have been someone else other than Courtney, I guess.  But I doubt it.

I'm just going to pray for all of us.  For God to lead my husband as he decides how we should handle this if the opportunity arises.  For us to make the best choices for everyone.  And that we will be able to save our daughter.  That God will touch her heart, and remind her of the life she has left behind.  That she will remember that unlike the people she is with now, that most people are good and will help her.  That God will show her the path He has chosen for her.  That there will be good Christian believing people in her day to day life that will help her find her way back.  That Angels will protect her from Satan and this evil life that she has involved herself in.  That her sisters will understand when we let her come back, and will be understanding and supportive of her being here.  A lot of things to pray for.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I've Been Thinking

I've been thinking a lot since I saw Courtney.  I wish I had hugged her and told her I love her.  I just didn't want to upset her any more than she already was.  Last night I saw the biggest Bama moon!  As big as a plate or something.  I wondered if my little girl was seeing the same moon, wherever she was.

Today her sister told me that Courtney got a new phone number.  I figured it was one of her friend's phones, that she had used on another occasion.  I guess she doesn't want to talk to us.  Her dad said he didn't have anything to say to her.  I don't know how we got to this stage in our life.

Today she texted me and said she needed her last-year's-tax-return so she could take off her school expenses.  She knows that we intend to take her off our taxes as a dependent because she lived here last year.  I don't know.  I felt sick all day.  Don't know if it is nerves, worry, or something left over from my gall bladder surgery a couple of months ago.  I didn't answer her text because I didn't feel like arguing with her, and if she wanted to talk she could call.  She is just avoiding me. 

I don't know if she will ever get on her feet, and cling to God.

I know two years ago, I thought the worst thing in the world was that she was dating a Mormon.  And a year ago, she was dating a guy that was a member of the same church we are, but he was an alcoholic and had two DUIs.  Her Dad thought it would drag Courtney down, to be with someone like that when she was trying to get her own life straightened out.  The guy told Courtney, "I always said I would know when I met the right girl, when I thought she would help me get to heaven".  I told her that was the sweetest thing I'd ever heard.  She just smirked, and said that they were just friends.  I told her HE wasn't just her friend.  He came to church with us for the longest, and sat on our pew.  He was a nice guy, who had a problem.  So now she is with people who don't care about her, and she doesn't care about us.  I wish things were so different.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Friday - I Asked Her to Leave

Courtney came to my office Friday.  I work in a two-person office.  My boss, the owner, was at lunch.  I heard her car drive up and knew it was her.  She got out and came inside.  She looked awful.  Her hair was randomly pinned up on her head.  Her clothes, sweat pants, a long sleeve t-shirt, and a cardigan, did not match.  She had no makeup on.  She never looked me in the eyes the whole time she was there.  She asked me if she could borrow $20.  I could have given it to her, but I knew I didn't need to.  I really thought she was hungry, but that was not what this was about.  

I told Courtney that I had not gotten paid yet, which was true.  I asked her what she needed, already planning to tell her to wait for me at the McDonalds around the corner, and I would buy her something to eat and listen to what she had to say.  Instead, she told me that her "boyfriend" was mean to her.  She said that everyone (in the apartment where she is currently staying) got mad at her because she was $20 short on her part of the rent.  Everyone had to pay $120 and she only had $100.  She said I knew she didn't make much money, and they knew that.  She told me that every other night they get in a fight, and he is rude and talks about her and yells at her in front of everyone.  I told her that was because that was his culture and he doesn't respect her.  She said I was being racist.  I said if I had been racist, I would have mentioned his race or color, but I didn't do that.  She cried and carried on the whole time she was in my office.

She told me that nothing was working out for her.  She said they had replaced her at the dry cleaners, and she was waiting to start a new job.  I told her that when she lived at home she had food to eat, a place to sleep, insurance on her car, a cell phone, and other things.  She said that living at home was no better than living with her friends.  I told her that she needed to keep "living that good life"  then.  

I finally told her that my boss would be back in five minutes, and she would have to leave.  She looked at me, and walked out the door.  She sat in the parking lot for a while, and finally left.  I have not heard from her since.  My husband said he was very proud of me for not giving her money, and that I was the only person who can save her.  She has always been especially close to me.  We both feel she is back on drugs.  This weekend we found strattera in her room.  In a baggie with $10 written on it.  I'm afraid we are going to lose her.  I'm afraid some one is going to hurt her, or she will be involved in a drug shooting, or she will kill herself.  I need to figure out what I should do.  I've never been in this position before.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Update - Things Aren't Getting Any Better Here

A lot has happened here.  Nothing seems to be getting any better.  I'll try to fill you in. 

Last Tuesday, I got a call while I was at work, from Courtney.  I knew before she ever said a word, that she was crying, because I could hear the tears.  She said she might get fired from her job, and should she just go ahead and quit?  I asked her what had happened.  She has been at this job about a year.  She said she didn't show up for her shift at work Saturday because her friend took her car because the friend didn't think Courtney had to work Saturday.  Courtney didn't have a phone, so she couldn't call in to work.  She was a "no-show".

She said when she got to work, they took her keys.  She said the other girls were giggling and snickering.  Courtney has always been an assistant manager. I told here that is how people are, they don't want you to do better than they do, and they were glad she was getting knocked a step.  Courtney asked me is she should go ahead and quit.  I asked her what she would do if she quit, and she said she could get a job at Cracker Barrel.

Courtney said she didn't know why all this was happening.  I said it was because she wasn't living right.  She wasn't walking in the light, on the path God has chosen for her.  She got mad, and said she thought she could get some support from her mother, but she should have known better.  I told her that I had been supporting her for for 23 years.  She hung up, and I didn't talk to her again for several days.  I realized if she left the cleaners, we would have no way to get in touch with her.  I really doubted she still had a job.  I'm afraid for her.

More to come.