I have many experiences with mothers and fathers dropping off their boys to our facility to get help. I have seen many tears and many stressful moments from the boys and their parents. Bringing your child to a treatment facility can’t be an easy thing, ever; period. Few experiences have moved me to the point of tears like this particular mother’s did.
Her plan was to come and tour Oxbow before she brought her son. Circumstances changed suddenly, the night before her visit in fact, and it became imperative that she bring her son with her and leave him with us the same day as her tour. This alone caused untold amounts of stress as she had to purchase two additional plane tickets, make arrangements for her other children and make the stressful journey to a far away State.
The only description I can give of this mother upon arrival is pure exhaustion. I gave her a huge hug as she came in. She seemed to sink against me. Her eyes were glassy as she took in the facility, the photos on the walls, the boys rooms. Within about fifteen minutes of her arrival we were packing up her son and sending him to the mountain.
Let me explain. All the boys were on their last camp-out for the summer in the La Sal National Forest at about 10,000 ft. Mom and I had significant paperwork to fill out and with the promise that we could go up to the camp after it was finished she let us take her young son up to the mountain.
Paperwork ensued and some time later we ourselves were on our way to the campsite. Mom’s eyes watched out the window as we turned and curved our way up into the hills. She kept assuring us that she was ok; that she felt good about leaving her son with us. When we arrived dinner was in progress, chili dogs and some random fish fillets caught by the boys that afternoon. mmmmmmmm… Mom’s son was already busy introducing her to his new friends, he was already filthy, like he had been there a week. She talked with some of the other boys, never really taking her awareness off her son.
The sun was slowly sinking and it seemed as soon as we arrived it was time to go. She hugged her son so tightly I thought the two might become one, and she walked back to the car glancing back several times, eyes glistening. As the car door shut, the group of us were discussing how well her son was settling in, but our chattered died away as we noticed the tears rolling down her cheeks and her body curled over into huge racking sobs.
It was then that I had the same thought that I often have when I work with these boys. But it came to me with such a force I felt like my own heart might break. This was not just another admit. This boy was not number 18 or number 23. this boy was not a statistic, he was not just the kid that needs this or that. This boy, was some-one’s son. And not just any-one’s son, this mother who sat beside me. Her most precious possession in all the world had just been entrusted to us to care for and help.
No matter how much trouble they are; no mater how much knuckle-head-itis they have, they are children of very loving parents. Which means they are the most important beings in someones life.
I hope all the parents of boys that have been or are at Oxbow know how much we care about each one of your sons. I hope all future parents will find some solace in knowing that we understand how difficult it is to entrust the care of them to us. No family wants this to be the path their children take, but it must help to know that there are people out there in some faraway State that understand that, and that we are here to help.