…to discuss something that I have quickly realized is an epidemic in my community. I have been aware of it, heard some talk here-and-there about it, but when it begins to affect my personal life, I feel I must take action.
It is children being raised by their Grandparents. I do not see this as a bad thing, and am grateful for every single grandparent who has taken on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren, because their own children are unable or unwilling to.
My 13 year old daughter has two best friends, one who lives with her Granny, and another who lives with her Grandma and Grandpa. These girls are always at my house. I feed them, I take them to church, and one of them spends at least 4 nights out of 7 at my house. I am okay with that. I know the grandparents of this one girl, and they are also raising one of her brothers. They send food over, take the girls places, etc. It is a group effort, and I am glad to be a part of it.
So what happened yesterday was my 13 year old shows up with a boy from school. He doesn’t have his house key, and no one is home right now.
Okay, fair enough. I ask him where he lives, and he says he is going to walk home. No problem. I told him he will be leaving by 7:30.
Feeling under the weather all week, congested and with sinus headache, I fell asleep while sitting up in my bed reading a book. I wake up at 11:45 pm. I go in the living room, and there sits said boy, watching television.
“What are you still doing here?!?!?!” (my daughter is sound asleep).
“I don’t know.”
“Who exactly do you live with?”
He gets his coat on, grabs his backpack, and starts heading out the door.
“What are you doing?!?!?!?”
“Uh, the hell you are, it’s freaking midnight.”
Anyhow, to make a long story short; I know; too late: I drop him off at a home with 3 cars in the driveway, lights on, front door is locked, he walks around the back, not to be seen again. Now I don’t know if he got in the house, and this isn’t a great neighborhood. I am not about to knock on the front door, walk around the back, or continue to sit in my vehicle in the middle of the road.
I was so stressed and upset about the well-being of this boy when I got back home that I had to take a Xanax just to calm the hell down and try to get back to sleep. I barely slept, and woke up still worrying.
I cannot imagine what kind of life this 13 year old boy has that he can be gone from his home at midnight, and there is not one single person who cares enough about him to be looking for him, texting him, anything.
It absolutely breaks my heart. What the hell have we become as a society? There are parents who don’t care about their kids any longer, and can’t be bothered to take care of them. We are failing our children. The responsibility falls on the grandparents so very often, and they lack the resources, room, energy, and likely knowledge of this new digital social media world we are in now.
This one incident has pushed me in the direction of seeing what kind of resources are available in my community, and what I can do to help.