I recently heard that the highest volume of calls to addiction crisis hot lines is on Mother’s Day. I’ve not heard a reason why, but looking at the complicated meaning of Mother’s Day at Blue Monarch, I can only imagine.
Let’s face it. Some of the mothers who come to Blue Monarch are not always the ones people want to celebrate. After all, they may have lost custody of their children at some point because of something they shouldn’t have done. They may have pawned them off on family members or friends so they could pursue what was more important – drugs. Their children may have ended up in the foster care system because the state had to step in to take care of them.
Because of that, a huge focus of our program is helping women who have not been very good parents in the past, gain the tools to become healthier mothers. And thankfully, through the love and grace of Jesus Christ, nearly 200 children through Blue Monarch have been able to reestablish a relationship with their mothers who had previously lost custody. But how can we possibly celebrate mothers like that?
We often receive tearful calls from concerned mothers who are desperate to find help for their grown daughters. They are very distraught and sometimes just need someone to listen.
But sadly, we also see countless cases where the mother has been perhaps the worst influence in a woman’s life. We’ve heard over and over from our residents, heartbreaking stories of their mothers trading them out for sex as young girls in order to support their own drug addictions. We’ve had a number of women at Blue Monarch who were arrested with their own mothers and were even court ordered to have no more communication with them. I remember the mother of one of our residents trying to justify why she taught her daughter to use meth at the age of 14. “Well, if I had known it was her first time I wouldn’t have done it!”
Much of what we see at Blue Monarch is generations of drug use and abuse. It’s a known fact that one’s social development stops when drug use begins. And since most begin using between the ages of 11 and 13, that means we see grown women who arrive acting like preteens even though they have children of their own. It actually takes re-parenting at Blue Monarch to help them grow up and become parents, themselves.
But the shocking fact is that sometimes their own mothers, and perhaps even grandmothers, began using drugs at the same age so their social maturity never developed either. So look what you have - an entire family tree where no one has matured beyond the age of 13. Imagine the level of dysfunction and chaos that creates. And consider what it would take to break that cycle.
For a woman to step out of that vicious, familiar cycle and come to Blue Monarch where everything is completely new takes tremendous courage! She may have left behind family members who are angry with her for wanting to get better, who may even try to sabotage her recovery. We recently had one resident’s mother who planted drug paraphernalia in her daughter’s room, hoping she would get discharged from our program. After all, when one person gets better, it throws off the entire family dynamics.
We had a young woman here one time who had been sold for drugs by her own mother as a young girl. When she arrived she easily lost patience with her toddlers and struggled to be a nurturing parent. But something happened in her tenth month here that showed me that terrible cycle had been broken.
Her girls were playing with word magnets on the refrigerator door and yelling, "Mommy, Mommy, what is this word?!" I expected her to get irritated but much to my surprise, she carefully examined one of the word magnets in her hand and said, "That word is 'beautiful' and that's what you are." Then I knew it. That cycle had been broken because her own mother probably never said something like that to her.
The amazing and courageous women we see who take that uncertain step to come out of their homes where everyone uses drugs, and bring their children to Blue Monarch where they can begin a new and completely unfamiliar life, possibly with no family support, are the women I want to salute. They are, without a doubt, the unsung heroes in my eyes.
It’s easy to judge women who haven’t been good to their children. But thank God, when they decide they want to become loving and nurturing mothers, there is a place they can go to learn how. Here.
This month when we focus on mothers, I’d like to celebrate the brave and remarkable mothers at Blue Monarch! Hold your heads up high. After all, because of your courageous and steadfast determination, your children will now have a chance at the childhood you always wanted. And guess what. So will your grandchildren one day…and their children…and their children… And that’s something to celebrate.
Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6