Coulda, woulda, shoulda

This was written in 2007, for parents on this difficult journey of transition, I want to tell you in 2013 we celebrated 4 years of sobriety and interdependence.

FASD Day 2007

If only it shoulda woulda coulda been different.
Not that I really want everything different but one thing.
If only my daughter’s mother would have abstained from drinking –
at least for a moment –
at least for enough time to allow this beautiful child
to be born whole –

I can’t put back what she was never given.
Some gifts are only given once.

In essence I have done my job, done it the best I could. Laid my life down so to say, as have so many of us. So so very many.

My daughter has the best laugh in the world – it is a laugh that can burst a rainbow out of a thunderstorm. Too many thunderstorms today I have no laughter.


I shout to the heavens, because the world is not hearing. Everynight another mom
shares a bottle with her unborn baby – somewhere – someplace – sometime…in celebration, in pain, in joy, in sorrow – there is always a reason.

Alcohol has lots of friends.

I want to run away – I want to grab myself a box of Oreo’s or Chocolates or Boston Cream pie – but instead I take my vitamins knowing that is what I truly need –
to pass another day
– another test
– of who I am
– what I am capable of giving and forgiving
– not what I want.

I want to drink a whole pot of coffee
– so I pour myself a cup of Camomile tea.

Perhaps that will ease the pain of another derailment
– another collapsed bridge
– another twin towers.

For you or I life is so simple because we can see the complex.
But what it you

I want to grab my own bottle or chemical and numb myself from the pain
– the chaos, the confusion of consequences of her trail of tears
– but I sip my tear and instead weave a word tapestry
for others to understand the pain and nonsense of FASDs.

My daughter walks on a very very narrow line to maintain a piece of normalcy.
A push or shove however slight can tip her balance.
Balance for her is still in full pendulum swing
– back and forth
– back and forth
– back and forth.

I want to cry but I know if I began I may never stop
– I have held and counseled too many other parents and friends and families as the reach out for support. And I have been strong for myself and for them. In the journey with my daughter

– I have been prepared to understand for others.
And like Alice in the rabbit hole
I fall once again into my daughters madness….

Oh if only she reached out instead of came because she needed a crew to clean up her demolition site. In a whirlpool she is sucked into things unfathomable. Mom I found a job I can be a dancer for an agency – translates to a stripper for a pimp. It was such fun and it’s very easy work. And this my dear boss sir is what I’ve found on my own to pay my bills because I used the passcode you gave me to help you out. I was only being kind. You did not tell me the passcode was a
secret – when you were busy you recited it aloud so I could type it in. I am proud of using the computer – I can do that now and I have learned new things – I even memorized your passcode. The one you now tell me is a secret and I am not to know it. But you told it to me and you had me enter it, again and again and now I don’t understand why I am fired.

I try so had to control myself – I limit what I eat, where I go, who I am with. I even limit the amount of alcohol I drink to numb my own inadequacies – a twenty ounce water bottle is now only half full – It’s half empty – I used to drink the whole bottle – but not any more – I am doing well – so well – only trouble is I need it more often now now that I don’t have a real job. I was proud of my job – I made pizza’s – I topped them and made them pretty. I liked my job. I wanted to do in my way on my own. But then I entered the passcode – on my own was what got me in trouble one more time.

My head hurt so I took a pill – mom had invited me to dinner – and we had talked during the day nicely – but the pill I took was not an aspirin
– I don’t want to die I want to live
– and at the restaurant in front of my family
– I slipped from being me to someone else
– my brain and my chemistry turning to mush – but I was not drunk
– I didn’t drink.
I tried to act grown as I became a child.
No I didn’t I maintained my composure
– but they said there would be no more dining in publics with them.

My “friends” dropped me off at my mom’s and dad’s but they weren’t home and I was cold and wrapped up in a table cloth she had on her stoop.
Stoop too low sometimes don’t I.
I want to go home
– so mom takes me home – alone – now I have no boyfriend
– we had been together for other two years – he is my best friend’s lover now.

Did I say best friend …. well maybe not anymore.
Her sister helped me get some money – dancing – dancing – it was fun.
They let me drink – I am adult – I am see I can prove it too you.
Oh I forgot – maybe I cannot prove it
– my wallet was stolen at the party
– my ID and my social security card.
I kept my SSC when I got my job
– This time I am an adult so I didn’t give it back to mom. I am 21….

I would have had money – all the money I ever needed but mom locked down the check book
I took from her office.
It had my name on it. – It was mine – she said it was ours.
I bought nice things with the checks
– things I wanted – or thought I needed.
It didn’t take long to spend a lot of money.
It didn’t matter to me there was only $15.00 in the balance.
What is a balance? The bank always has money.

My bruises – well – I have not been eating well
– I have been drinking too much
– I have not taken care of my birds
– don’t worry it was better when I was working
– when I had to be someplace on the same days
at the same time sober and looking healthy.

Do I care – no yes I mean no. I dunno.

…..I dunno —- I dunno.

As a mom I leave the groceries at the front door, with her and a friend ‘a safe friend’ to clean and repair and help her get back onto the ridge. Walking on a ridge is always hard – dips and turns and stones and crevices to jump. Those of us who raise children with FASDs understand all too well the death toll of Liberty Ridge. It is a hard climb and even with the most experienced climbers working together – few make it.

I will stand on the other side of this new crevice – looking for the next piece of gear to help her. But it has been an arduous climb and I am weary. Like so many of us no matter how well I care for myself – I need rest. I need strength and fresh water. I didn’t go to a FASD celebration yesterday – I couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t – yesterday I had nothing to celebrate.

Jkulp 9/2007 – Happy International FASD Day

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