Here it is a Sunday night and this Preacher’s Kid, now a middle age mama of 39 children ages 5-34, needs to put her children to bed, get that old Preacher and his wife (Grandma and Grandpa) to combine forces with a married couple to babysit my sleeping kids while I slip off to the county jail to check on my 26 year old son who ought to know better.
Why two couples babysitting? Well why not? I’m not leaving them some very easy-going children to tend to, rather I have ragers and oppositional kids who’ll resent me for not being home, even though they won’t even know I’m gone.
Our home is a family compound; both of those couples live here while another couple and my 31 year old daughter are also on our property. We have built in family levels of stability and security for my children.
They don’t think they’ve ever had a babysitter as I rarely leave and when I do so, my grown family members babysit. My nearly 19 year old daughter lives here also.
Visiting hours are late tonight; all my kids at home will be in bed, figuring I’m down in the family room or the kitchen. I’ll tell them tomorrow that I went, reminding them that they survived my absence for an hour.
I rarely visit my kids whose behavior sends them to jail. My thinking is, if they want to see me, then stay out of jail and come visit me.
But there are a couple of extenuating circumstances tonight, two older kids in two separate situations who need me. One will be embarrassed to see me, the other glad and grateful.
My 16 year old son will accompany me, part of his own Scared Straight Program, partly because I want to continue to lecture him about bad choices, to remind him – no to show him what happens when one screws up.
He himself has knocked heads with juvenile authorities, been in several confinements and an outdoor wilderness camp, home now on shaky ground.
I’d obviously rather stay home tonight with my young children and my grandchildren, with those who crave my time and attention, but I’m daily reminded how much so my older children also still need me, through the good and the bad.
Photo Credit Anya Rice