My grandparents loved me unconditionally with words, most importantly their actions. They saw the effects of abuse and neglect from a distance, I never said anything or make accusations. Granny spent extra time with me, giving me a long bath, washing my hair, scrubbing dirty feet, knees and elbows. She pampered me with few words spoken. She had the ritual, after drying off and hair not dripping she would wrap me in the towel, carry me to the bed, put baby powder on me then tell what a cute and funny/beautiful/any compliment I could comprehend at the age.
Granny knew I was dead inside from years of abuse, she never spoke bad of my mother even though tormented by my pain My grandparents made sacrifices until God deemed the time was right. My music teacher called me into the hall and would not accept my explanation for the bruises all over the my face. She asked me go to the Counselors office, I begged you don’t understand saying anything only makes it worse for me. I arrive in Counselor’s office, asking to call my Granny. I told her everything, she had seen the bruises, my underarms bruised and bleeding from my mothers stabbed finger nails.
Some of the most traumatic years followed. God knew when the time was right, at 12 yrs old my grandparents received full custody. It came with one condition, giving the Sate of Texas custody for one year for punishment by placing me in a reform school.
At 12 yrs old I was probation for carrying a gun, skipping 45 days of school, underage drinking, disturbing the police, resisting arrest and distribution of marijuana. I meet with the probation officer monthly, never saying a word until the seven month. The State of Texas wanted me committed to a reform boot camp style facility. My thug behavior had to change before I could function in a positive environment. I had visions of my behavior getting violent, kill before being killed, I had no fear of dying.
My grandparents knew I would not reform or make it out alive with other violent girls. Granny worked with the probation officer to come up with another solution. She remembered a girl when she was younger who went to a Convent School for bad girls. As it happened, the Convent had converted to a school again for girls with severe behavioral problems. At first glance it was the perfect solution until expenses were laid out. This was the mid 1970’s and cost $2000 per month, a strict lengthy list of uniforms, every detail down to how many towels and the money in an account to buy a soda and candy bar.
Unconditional love, my future and not having the money clashed. The probation officer called back with an option. Give custody to the State of Texas for a year and the state would cover the $2000 a month.
My grandparents put their faith in my probation officer, they wanted me to turn the right direction. I needed discipline in a strict structured environment. The Convent boarding school taught me about positive affirmations, I wanted so much more, it was missing in my bones. Responsibility, leadership and controlling my mouth. A year later, without a single disciplinary action, I left a better person. The lessons learned have served me well in life.
Children are precious, require proper discipline, parents must make decisions out of love not revenge. Most important is a child’s mental health, safety and happiness.