He had a Kool-Aid stain on his T-shirt. That's the second thing I noticed about the guy who rang my doorbell last night looking for his grandchildren. The first thing that registered with me was intelligent blue eyes and neat gray hair. I think that is why my eyes kept being drawn to the Kool-Aid stain. His attire of stained tee and checkered shorts didn't seem to line up with his articulate and charming manner.
He thanked us for keeping his two small grandchildren last evening after their mother was taken away in an ambulance. We were happy to help. Michael (the 4 yr old who I had mistakenly called Matthew for a good hour when I first met him) kept saying, "My Mama is gonna be just fine. She's gonna be just fine." His sister, tiny and beautiful 6 yr old Amber, was a bit harder to understand. She has a speech impediment, so I called her Emma for the first hour. I have no excuse beyond my own hearing for calling Michael by the wrong name.
I felt so badly for the babies.
I had went to play rehearsal at church yesterday afternoon. I wanted to stay for service, but Shawn has been hurting worse than usual lately. I knew that if I had taken the kids with me to rehearsal and stayed for church, he would have tagged along no matter how badly he was hurting. So, I had left the kids with him during rehearsal and decided not to attend the service. I know I seriously missed out on a good one, too.
On my way home I saw a Mustang in the ditch on the side of the road. The emergency lights were blinking, and I noticed three people walking up the road. It was a family. Mom, Dad, and 5 yr old boy. They were trying to walk to the nearest gas station...which seemed to me to be a long ways away. I picked them up and drove them. Now, normally I don't pick up strangers. I would dare say that I would not have picked them up if they had not had the little boy with them. It's not that I don't care, but we live in dangerous times. I knew I was taking a chance even with them having a kid. However, I felt that giving them a ride was the right thing to do. I would sure want someone to help me, and indeed there have been times when strangers went out of their way to give me a hand.
So, I get home, and my husband meets me at the van. He tells me that our neighbor across the way has collapsed. Her direct neighbor, an Arkansas Highway Patrol Officer, is with her. He is keeping an eye on her until the ambulance gets there. Her children are running around the court yard. The 4 yr old boy, who I later learn is Michael, has on wet shorts. I have to run to get him out of the street once and then continue to keep telling him not to go to the parking lot. The little girl, Amber, is running and playing. Their mom is propped up against the wall just inside her front door.
I go over and let her know who I am and ask if she needs anything. I let the our Patrol Officer neighbor know that if he needs me for anything to just let me know. I have to get in my own home to get dinner going. I found out that she called her boyfriend (not the kid's dad and not her husband...just some guy she lives with) to let him know what happened. Only, this guy is not leaving work. He has no intentions of coming home. The EMT's get there and decide she needs to go to the hospital. We still don't know what is going on. Is it diabetes? Is it anything to do with blood sugar? Who knows? They wheel her out and ask if I would care for the children because there is no one to leave them with.
I say yes. Sure. Anything to help. I bring them inside after I watch the officer close up the lady's apartment. The first thing I do is find some of Ben's old clothes to change the wet boy. I take his soiled clothes (no underwear by the way, just a pair of shorts) and put them in a plastic bag. I get him some clean undies and a pair of jeans that fit him perfectly. Only, now my kid's bathroom is stinking something fierce. The poor little guy has on no socks. His feet are black and smelly from sweating in shoes with no socks. I don't understand parents who let their kids run around like that.
After I got him taken care of, I looked out and noticed their front door was open. Now I saw the officer close it up, so I was wondering who was over there. My husband was gone to the store to get some butter, so I called my older girl (9 yr old, Riley) to keep an eye on the kids for a minute and stay out of the kitchen. I jogged over to their apt. just as the lady's boyfriend came out the door. Come to find out, my husband had went to the guy's job and told him there was an ambulance at his house. There were two little kids with no care giver there for them, and he was going to man up and take care of his responsibilities. He told the guy he was coming home. Period.
Well, the guy gave me some song and dance about how they weren't his kids. How he had a huge fight with the lady that day and she had beat him up. How he had tried to get her to eat all day and she refused. He said he was so upset he walked to work, and he got threatened that he might get fired for being late. Now that he had to leave work to deal with this, he just knew she was going to get him fired. I got the feeling he was never even going to let me know he was there. I think he was going to just go back to work and not even look for those babies. I could be wrong, but that is the feeling I got.
He was saying he was going to have to take the kids to work with him. The guy works at our town McDonald's. How did he think he was going to work around grease and fryers with little kids in tow? Stupid. I decided to keep them home with me. Around this time, Shawn got back. When he found out I was going to watch them he got annoyed. He was not upset we were keeping the kids. He was angry this guy was shirking his duties. I told him I didn't trust the guy to care for them.
On a side note, I HATE the McDonald's here in my town. It is filthy. It has horrible service. My kids saw a lady go to the restroom and then go back to work without washing her hands. That was the LAST time we were customers there. Then last night when my husband went and told this guy there was an emergency some other manager or supervisor up there was in the background smarting off how she was leaving at 8 pm and he better not leave...blah, blah, blah. What a piece of work. Such a lowlife. I am not a fan of that place.
I will say this also. If that guy gets fired, it won't be because he was late once or had an emergency and had to leave work. Life doesn't generally work like that. I am sure if they are so quick to threaten firing, it will be after lots of experience of bad work from this guy.
The funny thing is that this guy is twice my husband's size, but my husband brought his butt home. Of course the guy left again, but he told me he would get a hold of the woman's parents to come get the kids.
So, there were were. We fed all the kids dinner and put in a video for them to watch. It was playing in the background while all the kids played with toys. These two children were no trouble at all. They were well-behaved. They were polite. Sweet. I sure felt badly that they had to go through this. Not just being worried about their mom. The fact that these "adults" had had a physical fight in front of them earlier in the day. The fact that this guy was so stupid and uncaring that he couldn't be bothered to leave his stupid job to come care for them. The fact that neither had any problem leaving the most precious things in their pathetic lives to complete strangers.
I talked to Shawn and told him I felt like we needed to notify authorities. I think that someone needs to know what went on. I am not convinced that this lady didn't do the whole thing on purpose to get attention. If she has blood sugar issues, it is her own fault she refused to eat (according to the bf). And I tend to think it was partly as "woe is me" scenario.
Shawn had just dialed his Dad's number (who is a foster parent here in Arkansas) to ask who we should call, when our doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a charming older gentleman who was looking for his grandchildren. We spoke for a little bit. He said he thinks they will be able to bring their daughter home. I still don't know what was wrong with her. He told us that the kids have been through a lot. The little girl had come home from a visit with their father with a big bruise on her face. He piped up and told me she got to have an x-ray. This sweetie pie is 6 years old, but she is tiny. Everything about her is tiny. The thought of someone hitting her little face is just horrible. He told us that Child Protective Services are already investigating the father over suspected abuse.
Now, I am wondering if they will also investigate the mother and the arrangements there. I sure hope so. I am very concerned for them. Please keep these kids in your prayers. If they have a good mom, and the bf is full of it, I hope that comes out. But if they are no better off with her than with their dad, I pray they get put with people who will care for them and love them. We are not going to just forget and ignore. I believe that someone should look into that situation.
Meeting the Grandfather made us feel a little bit better, but still, something odd is going on. Of course, we would not want to say awful things about people with no proof. We would not want to assume the worst, but I think we saw a lot of red flags. I believe abusive people are like cock roaches. If you see one or two roaches, you can bet thousands more scurry for cover when the lights come on and hide in the walls out of sight. If people will show you dirty laundry like we saw last night, can we be sure they are being honest and that they are telling everything? Do we want to take that chance? If they will show that much (and that is plenty of cause for concern), how much more are they hiding?
There are way too many creeps calling themselves Mommy and Daddy in this world.