The ringing phone broke through the early morning fog in Arlene’s brain and immediately every muscle tensed. What was it this time? Even though Brent was now living on his own Arlene cringed when the phone ring.
Jangled nerves weren’t anything new to Arlene. The phone was a small noise compared to waking up to a young man screaming obscenities and threats and carrying on in that vein all day long. Too many times she had endured those days. The shame of it all written on the faces of her other children was often more than she could bear and she would retreat to the woods behind the house to find some beauty to capture in a frame. She couldn’t help wondering what had been written on their hearts after what they had all endured all these years.
Shame and isolation had become commonplace in their lives, so they decided to live small. Avoid stress. Gather in the nest so to speak. Even so, there had been horrific moments when the world crashed through their door and demanded their attention because of Brent’s behaviors.
It started out as a foster care placement that turned into adoption. They were aware that FASD was going to be a factor because it had been diagnosed at an early age but it wasn’t until grade five that the behaviors made school an issue. So they decided to educate Brent at home. That was okay until he hit grade 10 and he just wouldn’t cooperate anymore and decided he didn’t need school.
Arlene poured a cup of tea and looked out over the back yard, ignoring the phone. That phone had ushered in so much hurt that she wanted to rip it off the wall most days. Irritated parents looking for items that had gone missing last time they were over. Concern over inappropriate behavior that had been witnessed.
A mirthless laugh escaped her lips. It definitely wouldn’t be someone who’d had them over recently, they hadn’t been ‘invited over’ in years. Irritated wouldn’t even begin to touch the seven times in six months that she had been confronted with the possibility of becoming a grandparent.
Maybe it was the police, if it was, she didn’t want to talk to them anymore either.
Now, she just wanted to revel in the small victories, remembering the one time where she had heard the words, “I love you.” Knowing that he actually meant it.
Picturing the day that he received his GED completion notification.
The moments of laughter and true enjoyment of each others company. These are things she would hold onto right now. Knowing that right now she wasn’t the one responsible for his actions as he studied at the training center that was equipping him to work and live on his own was enough.
She would focus on the happy days of wedding planning and bask in the pleasure of teaching something to her youngest son knowing that he would grasp the concept and maybe heal a little in the process.
In the meantime, she would enjoy her cup of tea and watch the birds outside her window.
**If you are new here you might want to know that this post is part of a series on hidden disabilities. I am going to be continuing this series for all of October as part of the 31 Days Challenge. You can see all of the amazing topics over at The Nester’s! To go back to the beginning of this series click on the Alphabet Soup tab and you can see the indexed list of chapters.