I know what you’re thinking. What kind of mother can abandon her child? How can you create something so beautiful and perfect and just leave them? How can you be so selfish? For those who knew me before drugs, they can tell you that I was a perfect mother.
My son was hands down the most important thing in my life. I went above and beyond to fulfill my role his mother. He made me so happy, he filled parts of my heart that I did not know could be filled. His hair was curly and red. He had little squinty blue eyes and pale skin. I was afraid to even have more kids because there’s no way anyone could compare to him.
I always said that anyone that chose drugs over their child was disgusting. And then later I would say that I got my karma for being judgmental by turning into the addict that I hated.
His dad was there but then again he wasn’t. He would get up and leave for work as soon as the store opened and stay until they closed whether he had to work or not. But I didn’t care. I was made for motherhood. I eventually grew lonely, and craved male attention. I felt it was unfair to my ex husband to keep him around when I knew I had no love for him anymore. He left and moved on very quickly, completely dropping my son. I had a really hard time understanding how anyone could not love my baby. He was only a year old, he was the sweetest baby he never did anything to anyone.
Newly single, I was exploring adult life. I drank almost daily. I didn’t drink to have fun I drank to get drunk. I would take shot after shot until I was black out drunk. One time I started drinking at 11am and the only thing I remember is sitting at the kitchen table drinking and then waking up hours later on my living room floor with a house full of people having a party all around me.
I dragged my son through so many drunken nights and never thought I was doing anything wrong because he stayed consistently on a sleep and eat schedule. Drinking was legal so in my mind I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
I started wanting some free time, I would send my son with his grandparents but the time away was never enough. I needed a break, I needed a release from the world. Everyone around me was having fun, free of responsibility and I wanted in on it.
Fast forward to my meth addiction not too long later, once my grandmother takes my son in to live with her I go completely wild. There’s nothing keeping me in line, I can go balls to the wall insane.
I thought of him every second of everyday. I craved his skin, I craved his smell.
They wouldn’t let me see him because I was on drugs but I couldn’t quit using long enough because the pain of missing him was so unbearable I would rather die then feel it.
They would tell me that he would go into my room and look under my blanket as if he was looking for me. I remember when my dad told me that; we were in his car and he was driving me back to my ex. When he told me, I considered jumping out of the car and ending it all then. We were on the highway, I looked at the door handle for the longest time. But there was meth waiting for me, my urge for that high outweighed my urge to die by a long shot.
Have you ever missed your lunch break and had to wait til late at night to eat all day? And you’re also a cigarette smoker and hadn’t been able to smoke on the most stressful day of your life? Combine those constant nagging feelings with crippling depression and anxiety, now imagine punching yourself in the face over and over and ripping your hair out because you need it that bad. Welcome to addiction.
Your chest hurts, your whole body hurts. Your tongue hurts from chewing on it, your heart hurts because you’re remembering all the things the drugs had numbed, you’re internally screaming and drowning and you can’t breathe. Panic sets in, have you ever swam too deep and it taken longer than you’re comfortable with trying to get back to the surface? Your lungs are about to explode and the urge to take a breath is so severe but you can’t. And all you want is to take a breathe, your body is screaming for that breathe. This is what a craving is like.
And then you get it, that first hit. Your body relaxes, your lungs full with air finally. The muscles that had been clenched are softening and your mind is now on a million other things. When everything in life fails you, that drug is there. That drug loves you, it’ll do you no wrong. You can’t see that it’s the drug ruining your life. In that moment, it’s everyone else. You blame everyone else around you for mistreating you and not being understanding.
I thought for sure my family was sabotaging me by keeping my son away from me. I thought they were evil and manipulative and they wanted him all for themselves.
My dad would let me stay with him but I never stayed for long because he doesn’t live within walking distance to town and I couldn’t get high there. So anytime I would leave, my son would stand in front of the door and cry. I laughed once, thinking how cute it was that he loved me so much.
I’m crying writing this, this is the first time I’ve cried writing anything I’ve written. I remember how bad I hurt him. I remember all the times he asked me why I didn’t like him. He asked why I wouldn’t come play with him. I thought I was doing him a favor staying away from him, I didn’t want to expose him to drugs. I didn’t want him to see me strung out.
I always intended to see him every week. But the weeks turned into months so fasts. Time was an illusion. It wasn’t real. There’s no way it’s been 6 months is what I would think.
Sometimes I would show up so that I could sleep off a binge, and my son would quietly sit next to me. I always felt like he just knew I wasn’t right. He saw me at my worst and he loved me anyways.
One time I let some other addicts convince me that I needed to go pick him up and raise him myself. So I did. I picked him up, we went out to eat. And I took him straight back. I never tried to take him again, I may have been completely wasted but I knew he wasn’t safe with me. I knew I couldn’t feed him or take care of him. I knew he was where he belonged.
I signed over my rights completely. My grandma adopted him. It doesn’t matter how well I do in life, it doesn’t matter how great I become. He will never be mine again.
I’m currently learning how to cope with my feelings towards him. I feel as if I’m mourning the loss of a child that is still here but unobtainable. I’ve asked him before if he wants to spend time with us and the answer is no, so I don’t push it.
I can’t explain to you the emotional torture I feel about him. I will pay for my mistakes abandoning him for the rest of my life and I deserve nothing less.
I like to say he pulled me out of the fire. On the days where I couldn’t stand it anymore I just thought of him and how I had to make it through for him. I had to keep fighting for him. I couldn’t let his last memory of me be me leaving him. I had to get better so that he knew me as good.
Today he is a happy, normal, nerdy 9 year old. He is adventurous, he loves video games and legos. He is so smart and friendly. He has never known a truly bad day. And that was the point, for him to stay innocent.
He will always know I abandoned him. He’ll always know I chose drugs over him and that I couldn’t get sober for him. He’ll know that I had more kids after him and that I was able to stay sober and good for them but I failed for him. He’ll always wonder why he wasn’t good enough for me.
But he’ll never know that I was saving him from myself. He’ll never know the abuse and torture I felt from my ex. I firmly believe my ex would have killed him. I will go to my grave believing that he would have died at his hands had I kept him there.
My son will never know the life I was protecting him from. He’ll only know that I failed him and that’s ok. I can confidently take on that role and I can be at peace with it all because he doesn’t know that evil world of drugs and abuse exists.
I hated my grandmother. I hated my dad. I felt they robbed me. Sometimes I still feel that way. But now I say.. thank you. Thank you for keeping him away from me. Thank you for taking him in when you didn’t have to. Thank you for loving him and spoiling him. Thank you for raising him and protecting him. Thank you for giving him the best life imaginable.
Sometimes being a mother means protecting your child, even if that means protecting them against yourself.
In a perfect life I would have never used drugs, I would have been his mommy forever. But this isn’t a perfect life. And now I look at the relationship he and my grandma have and I can’t help but think maybe he was meant to be hers all along.