This post has been a long time coming, and I'm not just talking about my delay in writing it. I also mean that our Punkin's latest incident has become the final straw. They've been building and building, and now, finally, the camel's back is broken.
I'm sure no parent ever thinks that at some point in raising your child, there would come a time when a representative from a government agency would recommend to you, that you present your child to the Department of Juvenile Justice, and ask a judge to declare them "undisciplined" (which basically means "un-discipline-able"). And then to have that recommendation seconded by a representative of yet another state agency. And then to have nearly everyone who knows you and your child, sadly agree.
I have hinted about the fact that our Punkin has been more than quite the challenge throughout the years. The almost pathological lying. Constant disobedience, and outright disrespect. Sneaking out at night. Violent tendencies toward her peers. Cutting classes and failing grades. Repetitive theft. Setting fires. Committing acts of self harm. Since her second grade year... the endless parade of therapists and doctors. A steady stream of medications. An assortment of tests with no diagnoses. School conferences, investigations, and a judge.
Finally, it had come to this: almost two months ago, we found ourselves caught between a rock and that proverbial hard place. On one side, we love our baby girl. From the moment she was born, our heads filled with dreams and hopes for her future... and our future, with her. On the other hand, loving her is now killing us. Hubs and I are both now on medications to calm the anxiety and depression that these long years of worry, fear, frustration, and heartbreak. Not to mention the crashing of our hopes for her, and the guilt and embarrassment she invokes. Recently, after she once again attempted to have us investigated by child protective services, I even began to see symptoms of emotional instability, that I learned to control years ago, trying to rear their ugly heads in my mind. By the way, I say "attempted" because the agency declined to take the case. You see, she's already had us investigated, and our home was found to be a safe and loving environment for all of our children. I believe their file also indicates that Punkin uses the threat of CPS, as an act of vengeance against our authority when she's unhappy with the outcome of her own decisions. She is an unruly child.
So, what do we do? Take her a judge and wash our hands clean of it all? The court will terminate our parental responsibility, and declare her a ward of the state, and she will then be sent to a foster or group home until she's eighteen. The very thought of it takes me to the edge of those "symptoms" I mentioned earlier. I confess, I toy with the idea. I imagine the peace our household could experience. A future, where I don't have to cringe when the phone rings, and Hubsy will never miss another day of work to deal with the aftermath of one of her impulsive moments. Yes, I fantasize about it, but I just can't see it through. Our family must stay together. We're a team. Family is an institution that is greater than the sum of it's parts. We must be consistent, and reliable, even in times of torment. Right?
So, maybe you're wondering what's been happening since this bomb went off nearly two months ago. Well, Punkin has shaped up a bit. Her plan to have us chastised by the state for our parenting has backfired, and the idea that the state has offered to take her off of our hands has scared her straight... I think. She's been taking her schoolwork more seriously, and has improved some of her grades. She's lowered her level of attitude to an acceptable degree. Things are looking up. So, after searching and finding no reasonable or affordable alternative placement for her, that is also therapeutic and temporary, as opposed to the Juvenile Justice Center... we've decided to just keep on keeping on. Hubsy says "we've done it for all these years, what's two more?" I was happy to hear him say that, but just between us, I'm still hoping for the apocalypse.