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I Can't Possibly Be A Mother Now

I got a text. I didn’t feel like reading it after the news I had just received. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. About anything. I read it anyways. It was from my 11 year old little sister. It said, “When will we get to see mom again?” It felt like time was frozen and I had a second to think. How? That was the question I had to answer. How do I tell that beautiful smile the horrid news? Waves of tears would flood the shore of her sandy skin. How? How could I turn her hopes into doubts, her dreams into nightmares, her trusts into fears? I put my phone in my pocket and tried to think. “I have to stay strong for her”, I told myself. “Everything she has depended on up to this point has failed. I’m all she has.” I struggle immensely to hold back my tears. “I have nowhere to run. All I need is to get away for a little while”, I think to myself. Then, I flash back to yesterday morning. I remember her words. They felt like bullets raining down on me mercilessly. Her eyes, piercing my delicate flesh like razor blades. And then, she asked a question that I had never even considered. “Why did you leave? Now I feel left out. I’m the only girl at home.” That question rang in my head over and over and over. Why did you leave? Why did you leave? Why did you leave? How could I possibly answer that? First it was mom and now me? I left her too? I tried to explain, but tears rushed to the scene faster than words. I just hugged her and managed to squeeze out an “I’m sorry”, although we’ve heard so many of those in the past month, I’m sure they mean as much to her as they do to me… Nothing. I detoured back to the question at hand. When will we see mom again? I ran over the situation in my head and tried to think of a time frame an 11 year old could understand. She doesn’t understand the situation. She doesn’t understand why we were taken. She doesn’t understand how badly drugs can alter a person’s mind. She doesn’t understand why mom left rehab this morning and took a bus to somewhere in Virginia. She doesn’t understand why I left. And frankly, neither do I. Mom says she’ll get us back. But not on this path she won’t. How do I tell that to a child when all she knows is that mommy is gone? She doesn’t know why. She just misses her as I do. The most simplistic answer I can think of is “I really don’t know.” But if I don’t know and I’m all she depends, what security will that bring her? I have to text back soon. It’s been 10 minutes. I weigh out my options and then press my shaking hands to the key and type “I really don’t know. But what I do know is that everything will be okay. I’m sure it won’t be too long.” She replies with a lie. “I know and I’m fine.” I wish I were here. Just to hold her. Just to confidently tell her everything will be okay even when I’m not sure that it will. She needs a mommy. People in my life are filling in for that position while my mom can’t. It takes 3 of them to do the job my mom did, but they do it very well. It’s just not the same. Now, it’s my turn. At 14, I need to step up and do my mother’s job. Be a parental figure in my sister’s life while hers can’t. We just have to take this moment and hope for the best. Wish me luck…





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