There was a knock at the door, and from the large windows in the living room, I saw he was a Sheriff. She answered the door, and after a few moments I heard her say, “you can take me to jail, but you will not take that boy from this house.”
Kidnapping. Me. The same agency that gratefully and graciously handed custody of me to her a few nights prior was there with accusations of kidnapping.
That night I learned a few great lessons. One of which, sometimes to do the right thing you have to cross boundaries, and you will have to accept the consequences either way. Standing in that doorway, she was ready to accept those consequence. For alleged kidnapping. And, was willing to cross that threshold into the Sheriff’s custody, in exchange for me.
My biological mother is a brilliant, talented, beautiful person. She always tried her best, and succeeded in many things. But unfortunately, her best wasn’t good enough; she’s bipolar and schizophrenic. It’s not her fault, she was just not fit to be responsible to raise me.
Love, and Law stood their ground in that foyer. It was cold outside, as the mountain air drafted between them into the house. I don’t know if it was the sight of us kids all together watching cartoons, the apparent knowledge that I was safe and happy, the warmth of the lit house, the smell of dinner cooking, or being face to face with a Momma-Bear unwilling to let anything happen to her cub, but Love won that night. That officer of the law knew that night it was better to break the written word of law rather than the moral fiber that Trust and Love binds. He left that doorway, alone.
She was my aunt, my godmother, back then. More than that, she has always been my rock and guiding light. As a kid, she never let me stray far, as she knew my biological mother needed help. That I needed help. And like a lighthouse, she stood strong in the dark stormy nights of my life, blazing a light of both warning and sanctuary.
Was I kidnapped? Absolutely not. Though, I was only twelve years old and had no legal say in the matter. I had no voice to say that I was tired of not knowing what home was going to be like today, tired of not knowing what I was going to eat, tired of being so alone. So my Aunt and Uncle fought for me, gaining full custodial guardianship. And finally, this year, adopted me.
Though it seemed like an attack to my biological mother, it had nothing to do with her. It was Love in action. Their love wasn’t the help she needed; it was everything, and changed everything, for me.
I said earlier I learned a few things that night; that sometimes to do the right thing you have to cross boundaries, and have to accept the consequences of your action, or inaction. That’s one great lesson. More importantly, though, I learned that Love always wins. It may hurt like hell, be presented with handcuffs, and seem like a personal attack. But if it’s Love, if it’s choosing the better-good for the other person, it’s bigger and more powerful; it may not seem like it at the time, but if it’s love, it will always, always win.
I’m grateful for that night and what I’m continuing to learn as a result of it. I’m grateful for that Sheriff, for what he knew in his heart to be right. I’m so grateful for my Momma-Bear, and all the fights her love has won; her lessons, by example, lead me in becoming a better man.
I love you, mom!
Photo: Getty Images