Rose and Me had a sticky but loving relationship. Any mother-daughter relationship can be tricky but gaining an adult daughter is more challenging. I have to admit Rose was my daughter in all the ways a person is a daughter who is not your natural-born child. When she talked, it was apparent that people would assume I was her mother, or if I mentioned her or saw us together, they would believe we were mother-daughter. Her father and my son would tell everyone, “no, she is not her mother!”
We loved, laughed, cried, and fought. We depended on each other for support and comfort.
She took care of me as a daughter would- she visited when she had a minute, invited me to dinner, did my dishes, and took care of my needs.
I was the primary caretaker for Scott. I lived across the parking lot from her when he was born. She would come over and talk when he was not at my home. She would call when she was frightened, uncertain, and questioned anything.
We could have a cup of tea and enjoy each other’s company.
Now, I want to make it clear it was not perfect. She was a daughter the Lord had given me. He placed her in our lives for a time and season. She had issues, and we were building a relationship at this point.
As time went on, we became a family and had family issues.
She struggled with addiction and tried so hard after Scott was born. She was in a relationship that was good for her and her children. I am not saying she did not party, but she tried to stay away from drugs.
Her self-esteem was low but building as she began to build herself up. She was able to find and job and keep it for years. During this time, she built her family and finances. She moved from a one-bedroom with four people to a two-bedroom with a bonus room and a large two-bedroom with a finished basement duplex. She worked hard and began to build herself up.
I watched her learn to be a mother to Scott. She tried to understand what he needed and how to give him that. I remember her asking for books to learn about his delays and struggles. She knew something was different with him but never understood it was SPD (sensory processing disorder). She feared it was something she did while pregnant. She smoked, and her appetite was nonexistent while carrying him. She used substances for a while but stopped when she realized she would keep the baby.
I am not saying she did everything right because she had many problems and her thoughts were not what others would consider ‘normal.’ She did not see her way of life as a problem, which means that drugs, dealing drugs, and the people in that world were not ‘bad’ for her son to be around. These thoughts and life choices were her downfall and the reason children’s division took her child from her.
Looking back over the years, especially the early years, I can see she tried to do all the right things. She worked overtime to pay for the extras and put money into her savings. She built her career, finances, and a life where he son was happy and cared for.
While starting at minimum wage, she worked her way up to a supervisor. She finished her GED and thought about going to college. While working at a factory, she suffered pain and injury, which resulted in a lawsuit. She would get knocked down and fight to get back up.
She loved her son and wanted what was best for him. She mentioned she knew he would grow away from her because of her lifestyle and activities. These lifestyles she tried to break away from but was never wholly successful.
When Scott was an infant, he was sick a lot- more than most children. He was at the doctor at least twice a month and often ran fevers; he did not eat and struggled with noise and touch. She would become anxious about his needs and often concerned he was not developing on target. Her anxiety multiplied when she compared Scott to other children. I would reassure her he was slow but on target and not compare him to others because his delivery was not easy or normal.
She loved to make the holidays fun for him when he was young. There would be surprises and letters from Santa, the Easter Bunny, or a special Valentine. These little extras were always fun and kept the magic alive.
She knew her limitations, so she would talk to me and ask me to step in to ensure Scott had all he needed. for example, her finances were tight, so I taught her how to shop sales, thrift stores, and end-of-season sales. I would lend her my car when hers was broken or in the shop. She used my phone, washer, and food when running low. She was truly like a daughter, and I tried to be there for my adult daughter and grandson.
We discussed insecurity, her past trauma, and her current needs. I knew her dreams, fears, and nightmares. I will never forget the smile and concern when she took a real vacation with Scott, a vacation she never forgot and talked about for a long time.
The pride when she received her GED and made plans for further education. The pain when family services removed her son from her care. She was many things, but the one thing she loved to be called was mom.
She lost her mother at an early age – six and always searched for that void to be filled. I am not sure I filled it for her, but I tried. We enjoyed many holidays together as well as outings, events, and ordinary days. One Christmas morning, she came to the house at 5 am to get the gifts under the tree for Scott and fill his stocking; she said, ” You know me better than my family does, and you get me.”
My yard was her yard, meaning she loved to be in the backyard planting, pruning, and planning. She sat on the patio and watched Scott play and grow. She planted flowers, mowed the lawn, and set out a garden. She took care of all the outside needs, including power washing my house, cleaning gutters, and digging ditches. I did pay her for the work. However, she would have me put half the money into an account for Scott. This account was for what he wanted that she could not buy, like a new bike or violin.
She would make me dinner, cakes, and teas and just drop them off. She was scattered and had her own time, never on time or during regular hours. It could be very frustrating and annoying, and this became worse toward the end.
When she was not using substances, she was very good; however, she was scattered, unhappy and angry when she was using. Knowing her was knowing someone who looked to the positive and tried to keep moving forward. Scott gave her a new reason to keep moving forward. After he was removed from the home, she seemed to lose her will to stay clean for. She and her fiance broke up and spiraled, which led to her pairing up with someone who pulled her into a hole she could not get out of. This led to the Children’s Division taking her son, her being a drug mule, and the tragic end of her life.