Shortly after my marriage ended, I became a single parent of 2 children. Their father was in and out of their lives. My son was a momma’s boy who never gave me any trouble. He grew and loved and played all sports, enjoyed school and going to church. When he was old enough he became an alter server, and at one point he said he would like to become a priest.
My son had a stuttering problem that didn’t bother him until his early teen years when his classmates started to tease him about it. That’s when he changed his group of friends, the ones that accepted him as he was.
One night when he was 12 he came home and went straight to his room, I found this to be odd, so I went to his room and as I opened the door I could smell gas. I asked him what was going on and he told me about huffing gas, he was sick and scarred. Not knowing what to do, I called city police for advice, they came to the house to talk with him.
The next day I called my doctor for advice and help and he was put on Serotonin… To me, that’s when it started.
He went from a beautiful boy to someone I did not know, his main focus was drugs, crime, stealing, lying, in and out of youth facilities.
I never really got a full night’s sleep, staying up till he came home, searching the streets, paying drug deals and so on. That’s when I had enough.
One day, while I was working, he and his drug dealers came to my work again wanting me to pay his drug debt, but I refused. I had the chance to get my son out of there and hide him and made plans for him to move off island, he agreed.
He got himself clean but could not come back to the island.
He was doing great in his new home, got a job, met a girl and they had a baby girl together. Eight months into the relationship it ended. He kept the baby, went to court and was granted sole custody.
He went back to school, kept a job and raised his daughter all on his own. He was clean and sober and did a great job raising his little girl.
He wanted to move back to PEI and raise his daughter. He went to court and was granted to do so. Got himself a job and his daughter was attending school.
Then he met up and started hanging out with some old friends and then things began to change. In my heart I know he started using again, but I did not want to believe it, I asked him and he said no.
At this point I was a nana to many grandkids and my visits with them were great – spoiling them, lots of sugar and sending them home. I am retired, enjoying my life, travelling, looking after my dog, and also had a part time job. My life was in a good place. All that was about to change…
My son met a girl and they had a little boy. On the outside I thought things were fine but they were not. They had a poor relationship with drugs and mental health issues. Shortly after the baby was born, Child Protection Services were called, and that’s when both his children were placed in my care.
Both parents worked with Child Protection. They did all the work they needed to do, cleaned up and a few months later the children were returned home.
They moved to a new home for a fresh clean start, my son started a job. I thought things were going good. Then she became pregnant again. I found out after the baby was born that the mom was using speed, marijuana and other drugs during her nine months. At one point she was even trying to have a miscarriage by using more of the drugs. As a result, this little angel was born addicted to speed and other drugs.
I noticed some odd things after the baby was born and every time I questioned them they always had a good answer. Mother did not take baby for her first needles and that’s when Child Protection Services were called again.
Now my journey begins.
I am a the primary caregiver of three grand children.
How did this happen?
I sent my granddaughter a text and asked if everything was OK and she said no.. She said her dad and girlfriend were fighting really bad and a lot of swearing was going on. I asked her if she wanted me to come and get her and she said yes, but she said don’t tell daddy I was talking to you as he will get mad at me and yell.
I told her to get ready and I will be right there.
When I went into the house my heart dropped, I knew this time it was really bad… (Now I know why they never invited me into the house, always met me at the door). I left with my granddaughter who was very upset. When I got home I could not get the other two out of my mind so I went back again and packed them up and left… Neither parent stopped me… and I left.
After a few days Child Protection Services became involved with the parents and they were given supervised visits, which were short lived as – they had a headache, tired and so on so the case was closed. Parents agreed for children to stay with me.
After about a week when I picked up my granddaughter from school she said to me, “Nana, thank you. I can now be a sister and not the mommy as I never had those babies”. I told her the only job she has to do now is be the big sister.
Their mother has not seen her children for over 2 years. Their dad was good at first for visits but now it’s every now and again. The little ones know who he is, and get excited when he does visit.
The children are thriving and growing in my care, they only know life as it is now. They go to daycare, love the outdoors, and they have little friendships.
Raising grandchildren, or great grandchildren, while challenging, it is also incredibly rewarding. Yes, we have to deal with night feedings, diapers, moods, but we also experience a much better connection to our grandchild’s world, including their daycare, school and leisure activities.
We also find ourselves rolling back the years, with constant companionship of younger people.
We get great satisfaction from providing our grandchildren with a safe, nurturing and structured home environment in which to grow and feel loved.
Love is the key word.