Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finally--I'm a Grandma!

If you have followed my blog, you know that I've been a mentor to a young woman who has been in prison. As of Tuesday, she is finally out of prison! I picked her up and she stayed at my house on Tuesday night. Then Wednesday, I took her to the place where she is staying for now, which is a transitional house for women coming out of prison.

We also had several things to accomplish that day: interview with her parole officer; register for parole at the Justice Center; went to a thrift store (and Wal-Mart) to get her some clothes; visited with her grandma; ate lunch. It was a busy day. We called the father of her kids, to see if she could come visit them. So she and grandma went and had the first visit with her kids late Wednesday afternoon.

It went amazingly well! We had no idea how they would respond to her. She'd only seen them twice in the last 3 years. However, one of the ladies who helped with their care while she was in prison would regularly show them a picture of her and tell them that is their mommy.

When she first saw them she asked her son, R.J., the oldest, "Do you know who I am?" He said "Yes, you're my mommy!" The Nyla immediately said "You're MY mommy too!" They both responded very positively, Nyla wanting her to hold her a lot. They said they wanted to go home with her. So she asked their dad if she could take them for a couple days, and he said yes.

On Thursday morning, Nichole and I checked on a couple places for employment. We went to the library, and she actually applied online for a job at Wal-Mart. Then we went to Goodwill, and several stores to get some things for the kids. She told me that she felt Ramon would send them with her and not send much of anything with them. So we got p.j.'s, toothbrushes, socks, underwear, a pair of shoes for R.J. (she said all he had was some flip-flops that were too big for him), and a couple outfits for each of them.

The above pictures are at Wendy's--after we picked them up (and she was right--he sent them with the clothes on their backs!)--we went to eat, and then I took them to the house where Nichole stays; she is allowed to have her kids there.

I wasn't going to spend any time with them on Friday; Nichole's grandma Colleen was going to take them to the park for a picnic. Also, Nichole was going to do laundry at her grandma's house. The kids did not have booster seats for the car, so I borrowed 2 of them and took them to grandma's on Friday morning. When I got there, everything was in a crisis! Grandma was dizzy and not feeling good--having blood sugar problems. And Nichole had just called her and said Nyla had vomited twice.

So-o-o, I went down and picked up Nichole and the kids and brought them to my house. Nyla was sleeping when I got there, and she didn't have any more vomiting episodes. So everything was good--except that I have no experience being a grandma!

I put a sheet on the floor, gave them some coloring pages and some markers, and put on a Veggie tales movie that I had. (they didn't seem to pay much attention to the movie--too young?) Well, they each colored a picture for their mommy; then Nyla said she was going to make one for my dog--and she gave it to me. Then she made another one and told her mommy it was for grandma. Nichole said, "you mean grandma Colleen?" Nyla said "No, I mean this grandma--and pointed to me! Well let me tell you, I have apparently become an instant grandma! So now, I too, have a picture from a grandchild on my fridge.

While I was entertaining the kids--we also had crackers and cheese at the kitchen table--Nichole was checking on jobs and did another application online.

They were there about 2 1/2 hours and then we called grandma Colleen; she said she was feeling OK, and for me to bring them to her house. They did not end up going on a picnic, but had sandwiches, etc at grandma C's while Nichole did laundry.

I'm sure I will have more opportunities to love on these kids. However I discovered something: This grandma stuff is sort of hard work! I had to take a rest!