The Power of Tradition

November 27, 2006 at 9:45 am 17 comments

Grandgirl’s Mom …could be anyone.  A title bestowed because I had to call her something, and she had drifted so far from the daughter I knew, her name just didn’t fit anymore.  I’ve watched with optimistic caution since she moved back to the area and took up residence with her sister. 


Since Wednesday, she’s been here at my house.  I’ve watched while she cared for her children with patience and humor.  She’s juggled the baby while supervising craft projects with the older three, mopped, washed and dusted while listening to the oldest one read, helped with the Christmas decorating while keeping the three year old at bay.  She’s watched me… clear green eyes looking for the clues to getting everything to the table hot at the same time, to making a perky Christmas bow, to arranging a collection of cherished Santa’s.  By Friday morning she’d earned back her name…Tiffany Nichole…but today she became my baby again, she lives in my heart once more as Nikki.


We have a Christmas tree in almost every room of this old house.  Most are my decorating play toys, designed to match the room and make it feel magical.  The tree in the library is called “The Family Tree”.  It’s decorated with memories.  There are ornaments made by everyone from my mother through my grandkids, ornaments purchased to remind us of special things and interests.  All of them have a story.  When we decorated the tree this year, it was Nikki who continued the tradition of relaying the story of the ornaments to her kids.  Once they’d gone to bed and we’d settled into the library to admire our handiwork, hot tea in hand and Celtic music in the background, she started to cry.  


    “The three year’s I was lost I cried all day every Christmas.”  She said.  “I missed the tree, and the stockings grandma needle pointed.  I missed the stories that made me feel like I was in the center of a crowd of ghosts all patting my back and saying they loved me.   He (the scum sucking bottom feeder) just doesn’t get it.  Being clean isn’t enough for me.  I want to have a house, and a job.  I want my kids to be proud of me.”


It isn’t easy to end a relationship, even when the partner is a creep, especially if you’re the kind of girl who has developed a dependent personality.  This new life is hard for Nikki.  She’s trying to start over with the residual effects of three years of crack use, four little kids, no job or possessions beyond the clothes on her back.  But she’s trying so hard.  While her support staff is still missing a few members who can’t see her effort through the chip on their shoulder, she is beginning to be the fine young woman I saw in the girl I raised.  


It’s going to be a good year.  



The Library is ready for Christmas.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

A Reputation Ruined Halt In The Name of My Sanity!

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Hammer  |  November 27, 2006 at 10:28 am

    That’s a powerful tale. I’m glad she’s back. It’s tough as hell for someone to leave that life. I hope her kids are not too damaged from the ordeal.

    My children are all adopted from young women who chose drugs and creeps over their own offspring even when offered every chance in the world to clean up.

    My best wishes go out to you and Nikki.

    Don’t be so hard on the ones with the chip on the shoulder. I have been hurt many times by addicts and users and it’s really hard to bounce back after being burned. They will come around eventually.

  • 2. JK  |  November 27, 2006 at 11:59 am

    Thank you for sharing your life and your beautiful writing (and beautiful house — looks just like Mom’s).

  • 3. Cindra  |  November 27, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    My bonnie baby’s birth mother is an addict, and a relative, and she left me a message over the holiday…one I’ve not returned, because I’m not ready for all the energy it will require…it’s a looooong grieving of a slooooow death when someone you love is an addict. I’m SO glad for your daughter that she is working for a healthier life…and so happy for you to have this love resurface. Thanks for sharing…you are definitely understood, and in plenty of good company.

  • 4. Catch  |  November 27, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    I am so happy for you and Nikki!No Matter how old we get , there is always a part of us that needs our Mother. I was looking at your pictures, they are beautiful! Such lovely decorating. And the grandgirls are darling. Thank you for sharing…and I will say a prayer for Nikki tonight. Im so glad she is there with her family.

  • 5. twobuyfour  |  November 27, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    I think you’re on the right track. We all trip and fall occasionally in life. Be there to help her up and love her and help her.

  • 6. The Rev. Dr. Kate  |  November 27, 2006 at 5:33 pm

    I am so grateful for the miracle of a daughter restored. We never know when we are raising our children with faith and love and hope and family traditions what will call our children back from the abyss and bring them home again. I think you found the right mix. My prayers are with you all as you move forward into new life and restored realtionships.

  • 7. katcampbell  |  November 27, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    Hammer – You’re an angel on earth. The hell we took our grandgirls out of was not fit for animals, it was this that you rescued your children from.

    JK – Thanks for stopping by and letting me share!

    Cindra – It’s such alien territory, this squandering of a life. I was a straight arrow raised by straight arrows, my daughters departure to the dark side just baffled and shocked me.

    Catch – Thank you! I can remain restrained and somewhat minimalist until Christmas! Then all bets are off.

    Two Buy – You’re right, we all do make mistakes, Pap and I have plenty of them, luckily not of the illegal variety. When she’s trying I’m there for her.

    Dr. Kate – Isn’t that just it? What will call them back. Thank you for your prayers, we will need them for some time I think.

  • 8. Stacy  |  November 27, 2006 at 7:15 pm

    Awesome news, that your daughter is working to get her life back on track! She is lucky to have you championing her and it sounds like her mind and heart are in the right place for success. I wish you all the best.

  • 9. jan  |  November 27, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    What a great story, I wish everyone on the road back could have such a supportive person in their lives.

  • 10. mrsjosegoldbloom  |  November 27, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    Very touching story Kat, and I’m sending prayers out to you and your family. I’m so glad you were able to get your daughter and grand babies away from the life they were in. This is going to be a wonderful Christmas for your family and you’ve already got your Christmas miracle.

  • 11. LauraJ  |  November 27, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    Oh that brought me me near to tears! Good days are ahead for you both! I’m very pleased to hear of the new reconnection between mother and daughter. Also I’m very happy that she has learning to be a better mother for her kids. Warms me heart and soul.

  • 12. katcampbell  |  November 27, 2006 at 11:53 pm

    Stacy – If she can stay strong, she’s gonna be one awesome woman when she comes out the other side.

    Jan – I’m not that great, I will only support her when she’s trying, when she wasn’t, I had to walk away.

    Mrs. Jose – Thanks for the prayers, they help. We do feel like we’ve had our Christmas miracle.

    Laura – Its very encouraging this new attitude of hers, I just hope it lasts past the holidays!

  • 13. John Linna  |  November 28, 2006 at 2:35 am

    I’m so glad none of my children tried the dark side. I feel real joy that your daughter has returned. I worked witha lot of families whose children grew well and then ended up on drugs. Some we got back some we seemed to lose but we nver give up hope. They wern’t my kids but I baptized them and I confirmed them and I hurt when they hurt.

  • 14. katcampbell  |  November 28, 2006 at 3:56 am

    Thanks Dr. John, that’s the thing these kids don’t understand, the number of people hurt when they decide to squander their lives. Parents, siblings, teachers, ministers, doctors, neighbors… everyone who touches the life of that lost child.

  • 15. sunfloweroptimism  |  November 28, 2006 at 7:14 am

    Next time you give Nikki a hug, give her an extra squeeze from me. What a weight is lifted from a mom’s shoulders when the kids are finally alright. Prayers are with you all.

    On a less serious note – what finish do you have on those library walls? I love the color and what i can see of the texture. Don’t tell me it’s wallpaper, LOL.

  • 16. katcampbell  |  November 28, 2006 at 9:16 am

    Sunflower – No, that’s not wallpaper. Its red glaze rag rolled over a gray blue which gives it a kind of dark fuschia color. I love it, Pap has gotten used to it. Nikki will love getting two squeezes!

  • 17. guyana-gyal  |  November 28, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    What I admire is your honesty. And the way you’ve hung in there, to give support. You’re great, Kat.


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