Mourning a Lost Childhood


He is almost 21 years old and doesn’t have a dream.
He doesn’t have a drivers license or a car.
He never graduated school because nobody cared enough to make sure he did.

This poor young man on the cusp of adulthood has no clue how to “adult”.
He has no idea who he is, what he likes, how to do much of anything, and he dreams of nothing.
He has never gone to a football game with friends, gone to a school dance, gone on a field trip, seen an art gallery, gone on a vacation, gone to a theme park, gone rock climbing, hiking, skiing, built anything with Legos, gone fishing, played on a team, gone to camp, built anything, assembled a toy, had an electric scooter, or been to a museum.
He has never dined at a fine restaurant or worn a suit.

He doesn’t have a best friend.
He doesn’t know how to balance a checkbook, get a library card, or prepare even the simplest meal.
He doesn’t know because nobody ever showed him, nobody was around to teach him, and the only role models he has had have been pitiful to say the least.

He has gone nowhere and is going nowhere.
He has lived in many, many houses and gone to many different schools, connecting with nobody and growing roots nowhere.
This young man has no tangible memories of childhood whatsoever.
No baby book with pictures, no baby teeth saved in a porcelain box, no videotapes of him laughing or playing in the bathtub.
No elementary school pictures on the fridge or on the wall, nothing.
There is nothing that was saved from his entire childhood.
It’s as if it was a vapor.

As they walk from room to room in my house they always look at the baby pictures I have on the wall.
I see in these kids an emptiness, a jealousy. They want to be important enough to have a place on the wall. Important enough that memories and keepsakes would be treasured and not pawned, lost, or stolen.
They harbor a deep sorrow, they mourn their missing childhood. He has existed for so many years on cigarettes, monster drinks, and video games.
And drugs.
Drugs that he was accustomed to because he watched the people around him.
Drugs to dull the painful hopelessness.

Drugs to have something, anything, to look forward to.
Drugs so that he can have something in common with someone and “hang out” together.
Drugs that his mother shared with him at a very young age and, after he became addicted, had to buy for him.

Our job now is to lift him up, steady his steps, and bring him back to the nest because he is not ready to fly.
Our job is to stay with him until he figures out who he is and can make it on his own.
Our job is to help him find the sparkle that may have existed in his eyes at some point.
A sparkle to replace the empty dull haze.
He has hurdles to overcome, major hurdles.
He has limited, awkward social skills because he wasn’t socialized.
Nobody ever taught him the things that he needs to navigate being a young adult.
“Adulting” is hard. It’s even harder when you had no adult to lead the way.
He doesn’t feel confident, he is fidgety and nervous.
Most of the adults in his life have taken advantage of him or let him down in every way.
He isn’t sure who he can trust.

We have known him and his siblings since they were very young, and regret that we didn’t do something extreme to intervene so that they could have come to us earlier.
We believed in the parent, until time unveiled the reality of the lies.
We can’t change what happened in the past, but we can certainly do everything we can to make it up to him now and in the future.
Thanks to all of you who are making is possible.

by Karen Scott

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