Oh wow. RObbin, this is so heartbreaking. It brings tears to my eyes.
I love how you mixed your heartfelt thoughts with the reality of statistics..that is true honesty right there. This album you are creating will mean the world to her one day.
she is very lucky to have you in her life
Robbin this is a stunningly powerful LO It made me cry. I agree with you totally that this it important to aknowledge the pain and trauma she has been through. from personal experience I know that telling the truth will in some way set her free. I pray that things will change for this little girl I am sure that your love and the security you provide will be a power for good and an anchor on reality for her throughout her life. With best wishes to you and your beautiful grandaughter.
I really cried my eyes out. Horrible that any child has to grow up with this memory. You are great Robin. She is gone love you for this.
I am really speachless at this incredible layout.
Project - Doin My Daddy's Time Imperfect Lives Reality Book
by Robbin Wood
posted 10/16/06 at 09:56 AM
The story behind the layout:
I took these photos of my granddaughter specifically with this layout in mind. I had been thinking about how the absence of her mother and her father's repeated incarcerations had affected her life. The summer that these photos were taken, her father had been arrested several times while in her company. The repeated arrests, have had a very traumatic effect on her, changing who she is forever. I started doing research on how children are affected by having an imprisoned parent. I was already seeing the undeniable strain and the signs of Post Traumatic Stress syndrome in her. I decided to use these very powerful photos and complete this layout, to give a voice to what she has been through and to let her know that she is not alone. This layout, and some other reality layouts, will be part of an album called the “Book of Truths”, that will not be given to Alexis, until she is grown. Families tend to keep a lot of secrets about unpleasant events. The problem with this is; that it doesn't validate what a person has been through and leaves them, with a lot of unresolved conflicts. When there is a big difference between childhood memories and the stories a family tells, you end up with an adult who doesn't trust their own instincts or their own reality.
Journaling strips reads:
No 4 year old child should schedule their life around visiting day at the jail.
No 4 year old child should go into hysteria at the sound of jangling keys, because they sound like handcuffs.
No 4 year old child should wet herself, because she sees a police car driving down the street.
No 4 year old child should ask "whose house am I sleeping at today?”
No 4 year old child should know that an ankle bracelet isn't a form of jewelry.
No 4 year old child should greet other kids in the park by saying, Hi, my name is ………… and my daddy's in jail.
No 4 year old child should have post traumatic stress syndrome.
BUT YOU DO……. Because you are doing your daddy's time.
Journaling square reads:
Your life has been a series of traumas and disappointments and I don’t have an abundance of hope that it will change in the near future. For the past 4 years, you have been doing someone else’s time in your very personal way. Your father’s battle with alcohol and drug addiction has changed who you are, forever. Children with an incarcerated parent express a broad range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, loneliness and guilt. You have a huge fear of abandonment and with all that has happened in your short life, I am sure that will always be an issue for you. I have struggled through the years on how much of the truth to tell you and then decided it was better not to hide anything and be very honest without shaming you in the process. Anger, has been your constant companion, as you work through your disappointment, resentments, frustration and sense of loss. As you get older, I am sure you will feel responsible for your mom and dad’s behaviors and suffer the guilt that all children feel of not being “enough” to motivate your parents into changing their lives or overcoming their addictions. All children of addicts feel this way, but when you are older and understand the illness of addiction, you will see how cunning, baffling and powerful and even stronger than a parents love, these addictions can be. I pray every day that you will take a totally different path in life and learn from all the examples of destruction around you. 7 out of 10 children with an incarcerated parent will one day themselves end up in prison, but life is all about choices, and it is up to you alone to choose what you want to do with your life. Until my last breath and beyond, I am here for you, Alexis, to show you the love and security that was your birthright.
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