Posted by: Kate | October 10, 2008

Home Again

Last night, L‘s school had Open House Night. She was all set to go: new outfit, decorated classroom, organized handouts. She had also lined up a babysitter for X, a student teacher at the school that seemed friendly and open and helpful. Everything was in place.

Then, on Monday, they were chatting over lunch, and the babysitter-to-be started talking about her weekend. About how she’d gone out on Friday night and got drunker than she’d ever gotten before. About how she drove 40 miles home afterward. About how she can’t remember a thing from the whole night. About how mad her boyfriend is that she drank until she blacked out, again.

So I got a phone call on Monday, and we watched X for the evening.

At one point, Willem was playing a semi-wrestling game with X and Jacob, holding both of them in a hug and saying, “You can’t get away!” Both were giggling, squirming, being kids. Jacob squirmed and escaped. X just stood there and hugged Willem for a full minute.

He’s probably the only adult male in her life that has never hurt her.

L and X are fully, officially moved out and into their own place now. Their room is clean and empty. L’s new job is going well, and X seems happy. It’s one of those rare situations where everything went just exactly according to plan: they stayed here for about two months, just long enough to gather a little money, save up a little time, breathe and think and feel centered. And then onto new things, independent again.

I feel bad that such bad events happened to them, that life rained sludge and misery upon their undeserving heads. But at the same time, I’m so pleased we had the chance to actually be helpful to someone. There are too many times when you want to help, but there’s really just no way to do anything.

I’m proud to know that Willem and I both, without needing to talk it through in the moment, were willing to open our home and help out a friend, and I’m glad that my kids have seen, as a natural sort of thing, that it’s OK to ask for help and it’s OK to give it, even when there’s a risk.

There are always risks. Sometimes the benefits are enough to cancel them out.



  1. My Mom had a lot of problems, being a bipolar single Mom.

    There are unhappy memories from my childhood, but there are some pretty great ones, too. Some of the best revolve around my Mom taking in people who were down and out, and giving them a place to start to rebuild. She did it four times – once with a stranger that was a friend of a friend – and each experience was good for all involved.

    L & X are lucky to have good friends like you.

  2. I’m so happy it has worked out for all of you. These things can go horribly bad sometimes.

    I can’t even begin to discuss the actions of the student teacher other than to say that person needs to do some serious thinking and growing up…quickly.

  3. Can I move into the empy room now?
    I’m so glad things went well and you were able to help them!

  4. SO glad it’s turned out well for them. Just so glad.

  5. Bravo to you and Willem for being willing to help. And Bravo to X and L for starting their new lives. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for L to take that first step.

  6. I think you did the only thing you could do and it’s wonderful that it all worked out so well. How sad that a 3 year old hasn’t been raised with tickles and hugs, love and lullabies. Let’s hope she’s young enough to grow out of her past traumatic life and L has a happier journey from now on. You’re a good friend Kate. I would have done the same in a heartbeat!

  7. L and X are so blessed to have you guys in their lives 🙂

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