Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Florida Trip 2021—Journal Entry Part 3

 If any of my experiences while in Florida this year broke my heart it is the one I am about to share with you.

If you've followed my blog, you probably know a little bit about my relationship with my oldest daughter Amanda.
Let me be clear ... I fucking adore her. I love her to death. Just as I do all of my kids. But, being that she is my first born, and the one I "grew up" with, for many years she was my best friend as well as my daughter so the bond was special.

(In case you are wondering who is who; I am the shorter/smaller one in all of the images. All of my kids are bigger than me. I'm not the biggest person in the world. LOL)

At any rate ... things went to shit. Dysfunction does that, always.
Dysfunction always ruins beauty, no two ways about it. What could have perhaps been the most beautiful mother/daughter bond of all time went to shit quick, fast and in a hurry.
Honestly, I wish it hadn't. Amanda means so much to me. All of my kids do, of course. In their own ways they are all so incredibly important and beautiful to me. I am not sure if anyone could ever understand what I am going to say without misconstruing it as a "playing favorite" thing, because it isn't that. It's just my truth.
When Amanda was born, I saw her soul. I saw in her, the she that she was always meant to be. And it was a glorious one. Amanda has such a gorgeous soul. Tender, caring, sweet, kind, giving, selfless ... all of the things that generally don't exist anymore. I saw all of the best parts of me in her and my hopes for her were high. So very high.
There was also a fragility there that I thought I needed to nip in the bud, or it would destroy her. I admit, I must've done it altogether incorrectly. In my attempt to toughen her up, I broke her down. The tenderness of her soul, I saw as a threat that would eventually be her inevitable demise. I was right. But my approach to fixing that was completely wrong. I see that now.

I recognized that frailty because it had come from me, and it was the very same one that led to my childhood trauma. Thus, it was the very same type of damage I was aiming to protect her from. Not knowing any better, I made things worse.

Fast forward a farrago of turmoil and many years later, many things had transpired that cannot be undone.
For more about that you can visit my previous blog HERE.

Now, time to get into what I wanted to address with this post.

One of the things I was aiming to do while I was in Florida, as I mentioned yesterday, was make amends with my two oldest kids; Phillip (26) and Amanda (28).

I was under substantial time restraints but I wanted to catch Amanda by surprise. I knew she had no clue that we'd (my bestie, my youngest son, and myself) had traveled down and that was on purpose. Having made substantial, albeit, not wonderfully put together plans, we made the trip to Miami from Vero Beach. Most of my family lives in Vero Beach, but Amanda lives in Miami. There is a three hour ride between them.

The idea was, hopefully, to catch Amanda at work and have her take up to her apartment to see my grandson Khai. That didn't pan out. Of course, those are the risks we gamble when we surprise people.

As it turned out, Amanda was with her mother-in-law, and Khai was back at Amanda's apartment being babysat. Amanda was going to go straight to work from her mother-in-law's house so I wouldn't be able to catch them together if I tried under the time restraints. The only option was to see them apart.

Thus, we made our way to Amanda's apartment first to see my grandson Khai, and once there I had the babysitter contact Amanda's mother-in-law to let her know that we were on our way there but to keep it a secret.

On the surface that all seems like great fun, right? Right.

Talk about raining on my parade.

No mother ever wants to see their child, let alone their grandchild, living in such a heinous condition. I will try to explain the best way I can.

When we arrived home after the trip there was a trash bag that we'd forgotten to put out before we left, and of course the cat litter that needed cleaning. The smell when we walked in was strong. Strong enough for me to say, "Damn, that stinks. What the fuck?" If you've ever had a similar experience then you can understand what I am alluding to.

Now, if you can image that smell, but multiply it exponentially it was be akin to the smell of an animal shelter that has not been cleaned properly for at least a week. Just imagine all of the animal feces and urine compiled and dried up everywhere, along with all of the other yuckiness that comes along with it.
I know what the latter smells like because for a time I worked at an animal clinic/shelter.

Now that you probably have a clear picture of what I am attempting to explain ... THAT is what her apartment smelled like. Exactly that.

I swear on my grandmother's grave that I wish I were exaggerating. I truly do.

To make matters worse still, the smell was all over my grandson.

My heart ached immeasurably because I wanted to coddle him, hold him, kiss him and love on him. I wanted so bad to give him so much love. And, I did to some degree. But it was so hard to get past the smell. So fucking hard!

My best friend was astounded that I could show him as much affection as I did under the circumstances.

I could not gather the nerve to go inside of the apartment so the babysitter and my grandson came outside but left the door open behind them.

And let me tell you ... Khai was dirty. Oh so dirty. As I mentioned previously, he smelled horribly. But then there was the fact that his hair looked like it was matted and hadn't been brushed in weeks. His underpants (he's been recently potty trained; he's only 3-years-old) were wet and no one had changed them yet. His 4 front teeth were decayed like no one had taken the time to show him how to properly brush his teeth, or even do it for him.

Then I peeked inside of the apartment just to get an idea of what the living space actually looked like.

If you've ever seen an episode of hoarders, you'd have an idea. Only not as much stuff, but with all of the dirt, grime and nastiness.

I left there with but one thought on mind, "Do I call CPS? Should I call CPS? Why hasn't anyone called CPS yet?"
I am still really struggling with that. I mean, deeply struggling with that to this day.

A little less than an hour later I finally got around to seeing Amanda and the reunion was incredibly bittersweet. Although, more bitter than sweet.
She too smelled horribly but covered it with large amounts of perfume. She looked sickly and unhealthy, and she looked like a shadow of the light she used to be.

A mere shadow.

That is the image I am left with of her and my grandson at this point. I don't know what I am supposed to do with that. I truly don't.

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