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Mother's day highs and lows, God's mysterious ways

Yesterday. Was a lovely mother's day. I spent time with my mama and my boy. Later, my husband and my boy, but first thing in the morning, around 6:30 a.m. I received a disturbing phone call.

C. and I had spent some time together before I moved last October. I hadn't moved far, just changed neighborhoods a few miles away. But she was rather homebound without a car (that was one of several mysteries - I was never sure if she did or did not have a car). Something was a little off with C. - she was fine - her son was a year older than mine and it was through him that I initially saw that something was just "off" if you know what I mean. Something just didn't mesh with the mother and son's personalities. She was sweet, friendly, easy to talk to and I enjoyed being with her. Her son was a little terror. He would be fine for awhile, then do something just mean to my son. My boy would end up crying and after this happened two or three times, I determined that this other boy's behavior was purposeful and we stopped spending time with the two of them almost altogether. I was sad about this because I enjoyed C's company so much, but I had other priorities - mainly my son's well-being. So.

When I moved I gave her my number, and she gave me hers. I didn't expect to really see her, but I thought maybe after some time had passed her son would change and become nicer. A few days ago I called her out of the blue when I was visiting the old neighborhood. No answer. Weird outgoing message left by her husband. I left a message and called again, just to hear that outgoing message - to be sure I heard right. It was just "off" -again. I mentioned it to my husband. "I don't think her husband is a nice person," I said.

Then, at 6:30 a.m. yesterday I happen to be up and my phone happens to be nearby. She calls out of the blue. I see her name on the screen and think, "That's strange...it's so early." Of course you know all the phone calls you get after 10 at night or before 7 in the morning are probably bad news. Don't you just brace yourself when you hear the phone ring at odd times? At first she didn't know who she was calling. She was calling me because she had seen the phone number on her phone and didn't recognize the number (her husband hadn't relayed my message). She wanted to see who it was. Her voice was steely and sad until she realized who I was (I had to explain three different ways until she realized). Then she was happy to hear from me - she just needed to talk to someone and I was the only person that had answered. Her circumstances were very sad. 

On this mother's day, she caught her husband with another woman asleep in their bed alongside their son. This was not the first time he was caught and now I find out what I felt was just "off" - he was abusive (physically, she mentioned one episode, but mainly it sounded like very mentally/emotionally abusive) to her and their relationship was not a good one (that perhaps helped explain her son's behavior toward mine). The police had been there when he had been pounding on the door and their little boy was a witness to all of this. It sounded as though her husband was a mean drunk (as opposed to a thoughtful drunk?) - I had a brief experience of this with my first husband and relived an episode or two while I spoke to her. At the moment I was talking to her, she was in the bath trying to decide what to do as her son slept. I asked her to call WEAVE or another such center and she said she had all the numbers. "That's a great idea I'm so glad I talked to you." She was obviously not thinking clearly - I thought I just told her what was obvious. After talking with her for about 20 minutes she decided to call WEAVE and told me she would call me later to let me know how she was and what her plan was.

We talked throughout the day and at some point early on she decided she would call her father and go there on lightrail and stay there for awhile. In one conversation with her later on in the morning, she said her husband was at work, but already starting with the "honeymoon phase," (the lovey-dovey make up period after a period of abuse) asking her if he should get off work early to go out to dinner for mother's day. We sent a few text messages throughout the day as well, and at some point I offered to drive her and her son to her father's house since she was packing a bag to take, plus, I hoped that seeing a friend would do her some good. Domestic situations are ugly though, and I was a little nervous. I thought I'd meet her around the corner, just in case her husband happened to come home early.

In the middle of the day though, I said to my husband, "You know, when you are going through this in the middle of the night, things seem hopeless and you get desperate and you're not thinking clearly. But in the clear light of day, when the sky is blue and the birds are chirping like they are right now, you think, 'maybe it's not that bad...how can it be that bad when the day is this beautiful and families are out celebrating mother's day...'  I'm thinking I probably won't hear from her. I think she'll stay with him. As mad as she was with him last night, she's been doubting herself all day." She had said to me in some conversation, "Can I do this? Can I be a single mom?" Yes, I told her. You can be a better mom as a single mom than you can being married to him." She had a B.A. from a prestigious university - she was not a "stereotypical" battered woman (whatever that is), this was an educated girl. When it comes to matters of the heart though, I think most of us gals leave logic at the wayside, and feel our way through a situation. 

When I was with my first husband, miserable, at one point I said to myself, "Is this me? Is this who I am and how I want to live? I didn't envision this for myself. I hate this life." It was at that moment that I knew I would leave. I just needed the opportunity to do so. I asked for it. It was dramatic, but I received it and I left.

People always seem to ask, 'why didn't God help me?' but the truth is, he does - maybe he doesn't snap his fingers and change things, but he gives us opportunities. It's up to us to take them. I told her yesterday that this was an opportunity for her to leave this awful relationship, and that she had to think about her son and his environment. 

But I didn't hear back from her. I didn't get that call to come pick her up. I'd had a feeling she was changing her mind. I text'd her to see if she was o.k. and she wrote back that she was, and "thanks." And that is it. And I imagine she is still with him, and maybe they made up. All you can give is what people are willing to receive. I hope she seeks another opportunity and finds her way out.

For her son, at least.


jenny woods said...

Wow, what a powerful story. You are so right about matters of the heart and unfortunately no matter how educated or intelligent, those crazy emotions can totally dominate. Having been in an abusive relationship in my 20's, I know what it is like to be caught in the cycle. However, as you said, opportunities do arrive and good choices can be made in terrible times-- I will pray for this mother, sister, friend. Thank you for your post, it was insightful as usual! Happy belated Mother's Day.

nicola said...

man, makes me realize what a gift i have in a stable, loving family.

Anonymous said...

Genny, you have your head on straight and you are really a good support for your friend. Even if she doesn't choose to take the opportunity this time to leave, your words of advice will seep in and plant themselves like little seeds. Hopefully she will gain the strength to leave in the future.

Launi said...

So many women in the same situation. Wise words about the Lord giving us opportunities to change things. That is exactly how it happened for me as well. Single with safe, happy children is a wonderful life.
What a good friend you are.

Mimi said...

Unfortunately I've been there...

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