Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: DIARY (05/16/19)
- TITLE: Dockent of Life
By Joanney Uthe
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Memories flooded back as Katalina saw her mother sitting at a small table writing in this book. Katalina sat beside her with a pencil and writing paper, pretending to write in her own diary. Mommy said she was documenting their life. Katalina hadn’t known what that meant, but wanted to “dockent” their life, too. Mommy seemed sad that day, yet smiled at her through tears. Katalina had no idea it would be their last night together. The next day, her mother would drive for hours to leave her at an office with a lady who took her to her first of many foster homes.
Her current foster mother said that reading the diary would give her closure.
Her own tear-stained eyes struggled to make out the words in the small book. She read about their great adventures of moving often. Only her mother’s words didn’t make them sound like the adventures Katalina remembered. Instead, her mother sounded afraid. She’d been running from something, someone. Katalina realized the happy childhood she thought she remembered, hadn’t been as happy for her mother. By why had she suddenly left her? Sent her to live with strangers?
Katalina tried calculating the time of the abandonment. She knew she’d just finished 2nd grade, so she added 7 years to her birthday and looked for June in that year.
I can’t stop staring at little Leena as she writes next to me. I want so much to explain why tomorrow must happen. She won’t understand. Wouldn’t understand if I could explain. And I don’t want her to experience that pain, this fear. Oh, my little Leena, how I love you. It breaks my heart knowing what I have to do. But I love you too much to not protect you.
No one had called her Leena since her mom had dropped her off at the social services office. And why did her mom say she was protecting her by ruining their life together? Didn’t her mom know that she needed protection from foster care? Sure, she had good foster parents now, but not all of them had been good. How could this be protection?
I dropped Leena off today. The social worker assured me that I was doing what was best for her. I know she is right, but it still tore my heart out. I hated lying to Leena by saying I would be back. Terminating my parental rights is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I will never see her again. But as long as that monster is out of jail, she is safer if I don’t.
A weight lifted off Katalina after a long sob into her pillow. The anger she had felt towards her mom over the 5 years since she had last seen her dissipated as she read the love in her mother’s actions. Forgiveness towards her mother flooded her as she choose to love her in return.
“Katalina?” Her foster mother’s voice accompanied the gentle knock on her door. “Dinner is ready if you are hungry. And your caseworker is here. Do you want me to have her come back in a few days?”
“No. I have a few questions for her. I’ll be down in a few minutes.” Katalina washed her face but her eyes remained puffy, full evidence of her emotional state.
Katalina shuffled the food around on her plate as she pondered the answers her caseworker had given her. Her mom had been running from her dad. When he got out of jail, he had threatened not only her mom, but Katalina as well. Her mom had moved out of state to put Katalina in foster care and then moved away again. She had mailed the diary to the social service office only a few days before he had killed her.
Perhaps foster care hadn’t ruined her life. Yes, it was hard, especially some of the homes. But it had actually saved her life. She looked over at Kristine and Seth, her current foster parents, and her heart filled with love for them like she had never known for anyone. She had heard them ask the caseworker about adoption. Whether they did or not, she knew she was home.
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