Many of you know my story. Corporate exec forced into the role of staying at home step dad, without the means to be near my own sons 1,300 miles away. That story is now over and a new one begins. I’m working full time again, and next week we make the big move only 13 minutes from boys. I’m overjoyed to say the least. Then why am I having second thoughts? Because of two other kids who are not mine: Chris and Katie.
I have written about them before, Katie, cute as a bashful flower, and Chris, a frustrated boy of 10. Their lives are miserable.
Katie is starved for attention from anyone, and Chris wants to know he’s a good kid. They both need to feel loved, and yet they are victims of their divorce parents own selfishness. The mother’s an alcoholic while the father reacts to every situation as anger--parents frustrated about their situations and too selfish to bother with their children.
I try not to be judgmental of other parents but then again the parents by talk with most are dads and moms whose worlds revolve around their children. They know about sacrifice and joy yet Chris and Katie’s parents know none of these things. They only know mistakes, mistakes they refuse to learn from.
The father is hooked up with a woman that isn’t allowed to see her own babies – something to do with a temper, the same temper that caused her to break an iPhone belonging to Chris and Katie’s father. “They fight a lot,” Chris told us a few nights ago over dinner. “That’s why I have my dad’s old phone. She smashed it.”
Chris goes on to tell how unsafe the apartments are where the girlfriend lives. “We jump in the bushes when cars drive by,” he explains. “A lot of kids get abducted there.” Whether this is true or not is immaterial because it’s true enough to him. There is a somberness in his tone that questions why this is the life he and his sister have to live.
The mother’s choices are worse. When we mentioned to Katie that we would be moving later in the year she announced, “Oh yeah we are moving too – with my mom’s new boyfriend.” My wife and asked if Katie liked the new boyfriend. Katie was quiet for a moment, then she shook her head no. “I don’t like the way he tickles me. He won’t stop when I tell him to.”
My wife and I exchanged nervous glances. It’s easy to jump to conclusions, but given everything else we’ve heard it doesn’t sound good.
The mom lives with her parents. Chis and Katie both say it’s a bad situation. “Mom fights with them all time.” When one of my stepdaughters said she saw blood in one of the rooms, that’s when we suggested everyone just play at our house.
At dinner I told my wife this might be the only place the Chris and Katie might feel safe to be kids. My wife agrees. We are both sad to be leaving Chris and Katie knowing the tragedies that statistically await them.
I am angered over it. I want to do something about it, but there are few options. I handed Chris a business card for my blog and told him to call me if he or his sister ever get in trouble. I don’t know what I can do from 1,300 miles away, but maybe there’s something.
Knowing that Chris and Katie’s story is not uncommon fills me with even more frustration. How people can be so selfish with their kids makes no sense to me. But it goes on.
I don’t blog much anymore – no time really. There’s work and family, this move, and a second book that dominated my time. Besides, I may have simply lost my stomach for it reading of some of the fishbowl pettiness. I don’t know.
But what I do know, though, is if I could save Chris and Katie by blogging and to give I would do it. And I would adopt them in heartbeat no questions asked. In fact I wish my blog, which is named for a superhero, really had the superpowers to rescue every kid out there like.
Clark Kent’s Lunchbox has served me and my family well as. It has taken us many places, and in one sense, it has even brought me to my boys. But I wish to God it could do something dramatic for Chris and Katie. I wish it could hug them and love them the way they both need to be, that it could pull them out of their sad circumstances and fly them off to a happy life. That it could protect long enough for them to rediscover their innocence. But blogs don’t do that. Only people can. Hence my second thoughts over their tragic lives.