"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Friday, August 28, 2009

Memory Lane

While in court, today, I saw a number of folks from closed cases that I haven't seen in awhile. Brought me smiles even when things aren't going as well as I'd like.

One little eight year old girl - she is just darling - saw me and raced over to give me a hug. Her dad had brought her to court because he didn't have a babysitter and is fighting with the mother for custody. The child's dad just moved, again - the fifth time in two years - and although she is an "A student, she is a little worried about having to start at another school on Monday. She is going into third grade and this is her fourth school. And she's shy. She confided that she wants to be a veterinarian. If her dad ever gets his junk together long enough to let her get a good education, she'd have a good shot at it. She was very sad that I wasn't going to be her guardian ad litem, this time. I was, too.

Next I saw a nineteen year old skinny minnie who just about drove her parents out of their minds for the three years that I was her GAL. She was completely incorrigible. Lie? OMG, even if the truth would do. Manipulate? You betcha. She used to threaten to kill herself and make her mother go into an absolute tizzy, then just grin at me -sometimes I wondered if she had a conscience, at all.

She was famous for saying rude things to other kids. At fourteen and fifteen, they couldn't even take her to the grocery store because she'd tell people standing in line that they sure were fat, or ask women if they were menstruating because they stunk. The same sort of things happened at family outings to the point where her own grandparents refused to let her come to their house.

And this is the God's own truth - she actually was a prostitute for about a year FOR THE FUN OF IT! She'd go to parties and was apparently quite the freak. And took pride in it. She lived at home and they kept catching her.

No self esteem problems that anyone could tell. She was just, incorrigible. Not mentally ill. Just full of the devil.

Yes, she got sent to a residential facility - and managed to completely disrupt it. Next, we sent her to bootcamp and they sent her back. She used to threaten to jump off cliffs and after she put laxatives in the campers' food, they said, no more.

Another time, she went missing for three weeks. During that time, her mother was convinced the child was dead in a ditch because it was like the house was haunted. Things would be moved in the night and sometimes she'd hear things. But no. Turns out, the little monster was hiding under her bed during the day and sneaking in and out of the house at night. She laughed and admitted that she'd deliberately moved things like a poltergeist just to mess with them. Her little brother, who was actively grieving because he was convinced she'd been killed, discovered her when he looked under her bed for a suitcase. So the story goes, he looked under the bed and she was there and just grinned a big toothy grin at him. He screamed and ran out of the room. I suspect he is still in therapy, over that. I never saw parents so grateful for the day that child turned eighteen. They kept asking me if they'd still be responsible for her after that.

So today, I saw her at court and I said, "OH, NO! Why are you here???" She grinned and said, "Just paying some fines." She looked as skinny as ever. "Wanna see my baby?" she asked, and pulled back the blanket on a gorgeous little seven week old baby boy. She looked so proud but NO WAY could she have given birth seven weeks ago! "So you are going to get some of your own back?" I grin, and she grins back. "I hope not." I asked her if she was going without sleep and she grinned again and said, "I sure am." But he looked healthy and she was PAYING fines and we actually had a regular conversation so who knows, maybe she turned it around.

Can you tell that despite the fact that she is/was a complete hellion that I got a kick out of her? I am just that twisted, I guess.

I saw another woman who gave up custody of her son some years ago because she is a heroin addict and had been using. She was back in court trying to regain custody and I sat down next to her to ask how she's been. She looked radiant and healthy. She said she'd voluntarily put herself into rehab over a year ago. She said that two weeks after she got out she relapsed and ended up in the hospital when she tried to shoot up and nicked an artery. "It messed me up," she said, clearly embarrassed. And she hid her hands. I reached out and took them to see for myself. Oh Lord, what a horrible mess. Raised scar tissue was all over her hand, front and back. Big debits, looked ghastly. She tried to take her hand back but I didn't let go. "Did you manage to shoot up, that day?" I asked. She said, "No. But I nearly died and I haven't touched it, since, and now I have a reminder everytime I look at my hand. They had to do skin grafts. It helps me to keep straight."

I held onto her hand for a moment, looked her in the eye and told her that she had an angel with her, that day. Her eyes teared up.

I sure hope she makes it.

So when I got home, the same weather system that is threatening to disrupt the Kennedy funeral had dropped off rain. Pearl and Evelyn were muddy messes.

I just had to hose them off, it was so bad. But you know, I've got no real problems, do I?

Glad the weekend has arrived.


Shogun said...

I do enjoy reading your posts, it is the social worker in me. Had a long, hard week at the hospital.

I love the muddy dogs!! We just got back from the fair and it has been raining heavily the entire day and night, so I pretty much look like a muddy dog myself.

Phyllis said...

Happy dogs.

Yes, hearing these stories always makes other problems sound easier to deal with.

Tootles said...

I love reading your blog - thanks for sharing. You've got such a knack for the presentation (not so positive stories running concurrently with adorable pictures - neutralizes the whole post, eh?)

Stephanie D. said...

I like closure--even if everything doesn't always turn out as I want it to. It's just nice knowing what happens after.