Cliff and I attended our first meeting together last night and when we broke to tables, someone said to me, "I met your beaming son and you're beaming too!" I had no idea that I was so transparent! I always thought I was very good at playing it cool, so to speak. I figured that I kept an even demeanor in my thoughts, my words and my facial expressions. I'm so wrong about this! I couldn't play poker to save my life.
Cliff and I shared small snippets of heart to heart chatter. We also shared a few laughs and of course broke bread together. At the end of our day Cliff mentioned another meeting for himself this week and who he thought he might like to be sponsored by. I suggested that he consider attending meetings a few more weeks before he make that decision but it was only a suggestion! He will have to figure this out for himself and I will have to keep my nose attached to my own face.
One of the beautiful parts about yesterday is that Cliff seemed genuinely happy to be WITH me. He had to report and meet his parole officer immediately following his release. Soon Cliff , his mentor and I were sitting in the cramped, dirty parole office that will become part of his life for a while. Naturally, the probation/parole community is exactly that. A community of sorts that is the closest thing to a college fraternity that I can imagine most in that room will ever have. We had to wait for almost two hours for Cliff to be processed, drug tested and seen by his P.O. The best part of all of this time though, was watching him interact with his "peers" as you can't go into one of these offices without knowing someone from a past incarceration. He's become much more gentler, agreeable and focused this past year. He seemed to not slip into talking the talk of those he used to try to fit in with. Cliff looked different than the rest. His clothes were neat and he spoke with clarity and grammar like any other professional adult you encounter during a typical day. He even said to several sitting there, "this is my mom." Whaaaaa??? Years past, he wouldn't have had one conversation in front of me with any of his familiar cohorts. He would have tried to demand that I wait in the car despite the cold weather. Grumbling, complaining and criticism would have ruled the day the minute he was a free man.
Cliff's talking about moving forward and perhaps schooling. I could leap out of my skin when he says things like that. Of course, the real proof will be in the pudding which will happen only when this talk becomes actions. Cliff said that for himself and I'm grateful for his self-examination and desire to change his life.
The fugitive no longer lives here.
Yesterday was a long but very good day and I will take it exactly for what it was. No reading into it, no second guessing today or tomorrow or the next.
Grateful, thankful, grateful, thankful......
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