“My daddy’s in jail.”
My new little friend volunteered that information when he was introduced to my son and me. He is four years old and has only ever known his dad behind bars, on probation, or on parole. There have been times when he has known his dad to be running from law enforcement. He has even seen him arrested in the living room of their modest home.
He lives with his mom and step brother. His mom has a job that she is holding down now that she is sober. Until he was about two, my friend saw his mom join with his dad in getting high. She affirmed his dad’s lifestyle because it supplied the substance they both craved. The last time his daddy was incarcerated his mom decided it was time to get sober.
My little buddy’s mom was embraced by a church. She in turn embraced Jesus, and found a community that supported her as she became sober and holds her accountable to remain so.
Fortunately, the little guy’s grandparents are close by and have been a powerful influence. They support their daughter-in-law, help with daycare, and provide a Godly influence for this handsome, bright young boy.
“I visited my daddy and it wasn’t fun. It was hot and we sat and sweated. My daddy couldn’t play with me but he will soon when he comes home.” After that explanation he ended his explanation of his family with, “My daddy’s in jail” and he went back to playing with his legos.
2.7 million children have a family experience just like my new little friend. However, not all of them have a “papa and a mimi” that pitch in. Not all of them have a church that will care their mom. Not all of them have a mom that is determined to remain sober. Not all of them meet new friends like my son and me who can tell their story.
I don’t know about you, but I want to meet as many new “little buddies” I can so I can and do all I can to make sure they know I love them, that Jesus loves them, and that we love their moms and dads and are ready to help.
I’m off to a camp that is full of “little guys and gals” who have an incarcerated mom or dad. I’ll write tomorrow and tell you all about it.