Just when I thought things were getting back to normal, then life happens. I was visiting my parents in Louisiana for a few weeks since I missed the previously scheduled visit due to the untimely death of my father-in-law.
On my way down to Louisiana, this is what happened:
I was in a minor car accident, I was rear ended while driving on the interstate. Not my fault. We were all okay, just annoyed that this delayed our drive by 2 hours. But, I have had this car barely a year and now someone damages it. Ughh. I was able to get it repaired while I was in Louisiana. Phew.
The weekend before I left we had a very unfortunate situation happen: My niece's parents were caught using a schedule IV drug so she was taken away from them and placed in foster care. Both parents suffer from the disease of drug addiction and we have been asking them for years to allow us to take care of their daughter while they both get their lives straight. There was a 72-hour hearing scheduled that would decide who would have temporary custody of my niece and I had to drive straight from Louisiana for 3 days to be there for the hearing.
I dropped my daughter off with a very good friend and went about my drive to the hearing. A mere 2 hours later this happened:
The lovely car in front of me ran over a large piece of tire debris from a semi, it bounced up and hit my windshield. While I was driving 60mph on the interstate. There was glass inside my car, the windshield was significantly dented in. I was very upset because for a few reasons. I JUST had my car fixed, now its damaged again. I had to pay for the repairs out of my own pocket because the lovely car in front of me drove off, I have a $500 deductible. Ouch. I also had ZERO time to spare if I wanted to make it in time for the court hearing. Lucky for me, I have a very amazing friend. She put on her superhero cape and saved me! She was the same friend that was watching my daughter. So she loaded up her car in a matter of minutes, picked me up, and then we took a very long car ride with two 2 year olds in tow. My car was hauled off to a nearby repair shop to replace the windshield and the damage to the roof. As bad as this unplanned mishap was, I couldn't have been happier to have a friend and my partner in crime (my daughter) with me during this journey.
It was a very long car ride and we made it to the hotel very late, but most importantly I was going to make the court hearing.
I have never even been to court. I can honestly say I have never been more stressed or anxious in my life. It was another "hurry up and wait" scenario which I am all too familiar with being a milispouse. But I had to be strong, unemotional, and calm. Usually that is my husband's job so I depend on him for my stability. This was a very hard situation to go through without him there next to me.
The day didn't go exactly as I had hoped; my niece's father was arrested and may be gone for a very long time. I understand he has to face the consequences for his actions, but he showed up to court knowing there was a high chance he would be arrested and he didn't run. He stayed for his daughter. He stayed for me. He has been addicted to drugs for a long time now and for those of you familiar with this disease, you very well know that addicts tend to only think of themselves and saving their butts. By him choosing to stay, it spoke volumes to me. He knows that I have been there since Day 1 for his child and he said because I made the long journey up there, the least he could do was stick around for me. Once he was arrested, the decision was left up to child services for the placement of the child. She will be temporarily placed with a great-uncle because he lives in state and can provide a stable living condition for her. This will ensure my niece will be out of foster care as soon as possible. Since I am from out of state, the paper work takes longer so if my niece was to go to me right away, she could stay in foster care much longer while they wait for the paper work to be completed. The great-uncle resides in the same state so all the required paperwork can be taken care of much quicker and my niece can be out of foster care hopefully next week. So she will be living with the great-uncle temporarily while I get my home checked out by the local child services, get background checks run, and all the paperwork taken care of. Once I have everything taken care of as far as the paperwork goes, we will go from there to decide the next best placement for my niece. Perhaps she will stay with the great-uncle, perhaps my niece's mother will be prepared enough to take her back, or perhaps my niece will be living with us. Ultimately, I want nothing more than for my niece's parents to clean up and become productive citizens of society. That way, my niece can be reunited with them and they can all live happily ever after. However, her parents have a long road ahead of them to recovery: completing rehab, staying sober, getting jobs, getting a place of their own. That is alot to take care of. On top of all that, my niece's mother is expecting baby #2 in the next year. This is alot for any one person to face. I hope and pray they can reach sobriety and maintain it, but in the meantime there are some great people willing to take care of my niece.
After the court hearing, we headed home. We hit lots of traffic and had two very cranky 2 year olds. I also realized that I left my keys in my car that was in a repair shop that was closed. So my friend being the superhero that she is, put up with me for one more night and shuttled me around until I could meet up with my property manager and get a spare key. When I finally was able to get into my house, I went to start up my husbands car and it was dead. I called roadside assistance and they jump started the car. I really hope this is the last of my car troubles.
My husband jokingly told me that I not allowed to make any more road trips. Well, that is just not possible unfortunately. Next week I have to make the 2 hour trip to the repair shop and get my car back. The following week I have to make a 3.5 hour trip to my sister's house. She is moving and is giving me her queen bedroom set. This will be my first trip driving with a trailer.
As I finally laid down to sleep last night in my own bed, I started wondering that after all that has happened this deployment if I will ever know what "normal" feels like again. This whole sequence of events over the last 2 months has been unbelievable. Life happens and it changes you. I know these experiences have changed me forever. I know I have become a stronger, more independent person. But I have not accomplished this alone, I have stood on the shoulders of my husband, my family, and my friends to help me get there. I am hoping the rest of the deployment goes by smoothly and uneventful. If it doesn't though, these last few months have taught me all I need to know to be able to get through it.