I went to see August on December 21st. The prison system allows for visits every two weeks. His brother was coming to visit on Sunday and I wanted to get to see him as close to Christmas as possible. His father and I had sent him some extra food and clothing items from the ordering system that we can order from back in the middle of November and they still had just arrived. He was excited to show me the new shoes we had gotten him. He said he wasn’t going to wear them until our visit. It was so cute.
I got there a little later than I planned because the traffic was really bad. Families traveling to visit for the holidays since school had just gotten out the day before. I imagined I was the only one on the way to the prison to visit my son. Since he’s been moved it’s over a 90-minute drive to get there. And remembering in the morning to take off all the jewelry I always wear, don’t put on the underwire bra, bring the $20 in quarters and the driver’s license–all the things that will be necessary to get admitted in–is a nerve-racking ordeal.
He was in a pretty good mood when we finally got in the room together. He’s been on a tattooing frenzy recently. Apparently there are some talented artists in there and August has bartered for quite a bit of work all over his body. He has asked for pictures to use as examples for additional work and our visits always include updates about the latest additions to the canvas that is him. I know it could always be worse but the idea of that sweet baby skin getting permanently covered with black ink drives me nuts.
There’s also always some arguing when we visit. His anger and frustration at his situation lives just below the surface. And his solution is far from rational. He wants revenge on anyone he thinks has wronged him and in a violent and impulsive way. He doesn’t care about consequences. And he thinks he could beat someone up and get away with it. His psychopathology lives that deep. He sees no value in not wasting that much energy on those negative feelings. Its the side of him that scares me.
Ending the visits are always sad. This one moreso because of the holidays. I knew I was going home and the next day his brother was coming and we’d have a happy Christmas together. And this past Saturday, my extended family gathered together in Cincinnati. August knew we were going to be together that day.
We talked to August on Christmas Day and he remarked that he was spending another Christmas in prison. It’s been so long since he was home for a Christmas I can’t remember when. The sadness in his voice was so hard to hear. I talked about how it was up to him to make sure it didn’t happen again. He knows. I just don’t know if he can do the work to make the changes he has to make. Reactive attachment disorder runs his brain. I always hate what it’s done to August’s life but this time of the year more than ever.
Maybe next year he’ll be home. Maybe next year I’ll wake up with both of my boys under my roof. I don’t know. Some of that is up to August. And some is up to the powers that be in the justice system of the State of Indiana. But we mark another holiday this way. And I am thankful he is safe and warm and not hungry. Happy New Year to all of you.
Until Next Time,