Sunday, July 22, 2007

Slugger's Story

My heart has been heavy the past few days. All because of a situation involving one of Ten's friends. I've been contemplating the right thing to do, and have decided to present the situation to all of my blogland friends, with the hope of gaining additional perspective in order to make the right decision. (or at least to get the support that I know that I will get, that I am making the right decision)

Ten made a friend this past baseball season, we'll call him Slugger. Slugger is a nice polite boy, and he and Ten just happen to 'hit it off'. There was something about Slugger's mother, some inner warning bell, or intuition, that had me deciding that if the boys were ever able to have a playdate, that it would have to be at my house. Towards the end of the season, we were finally able to get the boys together for a play date (at our house). Slugger's parents have been involved in a contentious divorce for a few years, and it was difficult arranging a time when he was with his mother (his father lives farther away) and when Slugger and Ten were both available.

To condense this story, I suspect that Slugger's mother is an alcoholic. During phone call conversations with her, face-to-face conversations with her, I sense that she is drunk off her *ss much of the time. This past Tuesday, we arranged for Slugger to go to the same camp that Ten goes to. I offered to pick Slugger up, at 3 o'clock, from the camp when I picked up Ten. Slugger's mother told me that she would be there at 3 o'clock to get him. Well at 3pm when I picked up Ten, Slugger's mother was nowhere to be seen. I waited for 5 minutes and then had Slugger use my cell phone to call his mother. From the conversation that I heard, Slugger's mother had no idea where Slugger was, and no idea that she was supposed to be picking him up at that moment. The conversation that I heard went like this:
Slugger: Mom, are you going to pick me up?
Slugger: Where you dropped me off this morning.
Slugger: The place where you dropped me off this morning! (looking like he was going to cry)Slugger: I'm here waiting.
Slugger: Ten's mom said that she'll take me to Ten's house. Will you pick me up there?
Slugger: Bye.

When Slugger got off the phone he looked ready to cry and he looked really angry. He said his mother said that she was sleeping and he woke her up. I took him home and about 30 minutes later, his mother called my house explaining that she had been taking a nap, and that his phone call woke her up. While speaking to her, she sounded drunk. This wasn't the first conversation, either on the phone or in person, with her where I thought that she was inebriated. She said she would pick Slugger up, and I told her that he was more than welcome to spend the night. I told her that I would bring Slugger by so that he could pick up his stuff. When we got to his house, mother seemed intoxicated (slurring her words, unsteady on her feet, repeating herself, overly friendly). I didn't get close enough to her to smell her breath.

The next day, I had to arrange with the father for Slugger to be picked up for the 'weekly transfer'. Father was angry that Slugger wasn't being brought directly to his house. Evidently that's in the custody agreement. I told Slugger's father that I didn't want to get in the middle of whatever is going on between him and his soon-to-be ex. My only concern is the relationship between Slugger and Ten. If he needed me to bring Slugger to his house, then I would make the drive. For me it really wasn't a big deal.

Evidently Slugger told his father what went on, and now father wants me to speak with his attorney about the mother's behavior. Father told me that the mother is not allowed to drink, per judges order. I explained to the Father that I've never seen the mother drinking and that I would never let Slugger get in the car with his mother, if I thought that she had been drinking. I feel that I really have nothing to say to the attorney. I have only observed the mother in what I assume is an altered state. I suspect that she is drunk, but I have no proof that she is drunk. I value the friendship between Slugger and Ten, but I value Slugger's safety even more. I don't know this mother well enough to talk her about my suspicion of her drinking...yet, is it my responsibility to tell her her anyway? Help! I want to do what is best for Slugger.

17 comments:

ms chica said...

Based on the information provided, I would be inclined to take the same course of action you have implied here. Avoid the lawyer, and make sure when Slugger is on your watch, he doesn't get in the car with an inebriated driver.

I'm hesitant to interfere in other's "drama", but when a minor is involved the rules change. Has Ten made any comments on the situation with Slugger's home life? You might inquire with him, or directly question Slugger, if you suspect danger or neglect. If if a similar situation occurred in your professional life, what is suggested response? Sorry not much help here.

meno said...

Oh dear. I don't think that confronting the mother will get you anywhere. In the interest of keeping Slugger safe, you must talk to the attorney. You do not have to have seen her drink to know that something is off. Just tell what you observed.
But you need to warn Ten first, and explain to him why you have to do this
I'm sorry about this, but you have to keep that little boy safe.

Patti said...

I'm with Meno. I wouldn't confront the mother but I would speak to the attorney.

Ten may know more than you think about Slugger's home life, since they are good friends.

Sorry to read you are in such a dilemma.

Michele said...

Umm.. in my opionion I definitely would not confront the mother. I would stay away from her with any comments concerning her drinking habits if she still has one, however I would do as you are doing now and not let Slugger get into the vehicle if you did know for sure she was drinking.

As far as talking to the attorney about her drinking. Well, u didn't see her like u mentioned, u didn't smell it on her. You noticed her unsteady gait and clumsiness and sleepiness which gave u all the "signs" that she must be drinking however, she's guilty before she's charged so be careful here. It's just my opionion, of course. Perhaps she's just really depressed, taking anti-depressants, etc. This can really throw off a person. If you talk to the attorney, give your statement as to what you saw without saying, "therefore she MUST be drinking". I hope for Slugger's sake she isn't drinking... poor little guy. I am sure u will do the right thing Lynn.

Marsha said...

My little brother is an alcoholic, the only thing that stops him from drinking is getting into trouble. I believe that having this brought to the attention of the husband's attoney is a form a trouble for her and a much better form than getting arrested for drinking and driving or for killing someone. If you are clear in your statement that you did not see her drinking, perhaps it will be enough to get her on the right path without losing custody all together. Not telling wouldn't be doing her any favors, and if she is taking anti-depressants her attorney can straighten it out.

egan said...

Yep, I think the attorney route is the best way to go. What a sucky situation to find yourself in. You got to do what's best for your kid though so work with the father. Good luck.

Renee said...

I would talk to the attorney. You don't have to tell him what you suspect...just what you have witnessed. Especially the camp pick up incident. Forgetting to pick up your child is inexcusable.

Praying for the best.

only oldest said...

if there wasn't a young child involved I would say stay out of it but you know how I feel about kids so I am saying speak with the attorney but like the others say, only indicate EXACTLY that you were unsure how safe the child would be in a car with the mother and chose what you thought was safer direction.

Melinda said...

Oh Boy,

I just read your blog and feel for you and the position you are in !! I think you have to think of Slugger and concentrate on keeping him safe. He is a helpless little boy that cannot do it himself. As much as you want to keep out of it I feel maybe you should talk to the attorney tell him the story you have just shared with all of us, explain that you cannot definitely say the mother had been drinking. Then let him be the one to decide if your story could help this little man keep safe and live a long and happy life. I would definitely not approach the mother.

Your son my loose a friend and you may get an enemy but just think you may save a life!

Thinking of you and the situation you are in.

Take Care – Smiles - Melinda

Joan said...

Okay here's my two cents. I think you should talk to "R" (our "family attorney") to get her opinion if you are thinking about possibly talking to the attorney. I'm sure she can let you know whether your "impressions" of the mother's actions and behavior would be useful in this kind of legal situation. Let me know!

liv said...

Wow...my first visit and I stepped into a doozy. I agree with Meno. I hate to interfere, but can you imagine how you might feel, armed with this suspicion, if anything happened to Slugger or another driver on the mother's watch? Maybe this would be the stuff she needs to get sober.

Lynn said...

Ms. Chica - Ten has not been allowed to play at Slugger's house. Ten has told me that Slugger had commented that his mother is crazy and that sometimes he thinks she's drunk.

Meno - You are so right. Keeping Slugger safe is definitely a priority. That's why he ended up spending the rest of the day and night at my house, instead of with his mother.

Patti - It is a tough spot to be in. I think that it makes Ten appreciate what 'boring' parents he has.

Michele - Being familiar with your story,(and having worked in with special education children and their families for many years) I have tried to think of other reasons for her behavior. Based on what Slugger and soon to be ex hubby has said about her, I am thinking she's drinking.

Marsha - Thanks for your perspective. I really hope that she gets the help that she needs.

Egan - I really appreciate a man's perspective. I am hoping that I can work with the father to maintain the friendship between Ten and Slugger.

Renee - Thanks for your suggestion and your support.

Only Oldest - Sometimes it is tough to care about kids. It's true, the only thing that I could tell the attorney, is what I have observed...not what I think.

Melinda - Keeping Slugger safe is really what it is all about. I think you are definitely right about not approaching the mother, I don't think that anything good would come of it.

Joan - You are a genius. Why didn't I think about speaking with 'R' to get her opinion? I will call her tomorrow.

Liv - Welcome to my blog, and yes this one is quite a doozy. I know that I would have a hard time living with myself if something happened to Slugger while he was with his mother, and I did nothing. I just feel bad that she may lose shared custody and that Slugger may lose access to his mom.

Chai said...

While my heart is always with a child who has to deal with the crap of the parents...assuming she was drunk with no evidence is a slippery slope....likae stated above, depression and antidepressants, other unchecked health problems can also cause these same symptoms...not to mention that if it as been a bad divorce, anything could induce hese symptoms...you are certainly wise and right to protect slugger from getting into a dangerous situation...good job....but, i would not tell the lawyer you think she was drunk with no evidence....if ou had seen her drinking or smelled the alcohol this would be different....what does Slugger say? has he mentioned anything in passing or to Ten? Dont forget that any kid who has been forgotten would be brought to tears when mom doesn't show up....no matter what...not to mention that he is probably torn between both of his parents....i feel so sorry for the kid....one thing that could help mightbe to invite him to come over any time...and invite the mother as well to figure outwhat is going on...and then direct her to a divorce care class....at the very least...but as far as the lawyer goes...just write down EXACTLY whatyou saw, make no speculations, he will do that himself...

Lynn said...

Chai - Welcome to my blog. I would not ever tell a lawyer that the mother was drunk, or had been drinking, unless I saw it with my own eyes. Ten tells me that Slugger reports that his mother drinks. Still, I would only report to the lawyer what I have observed. If I decide to speak with the dad's lawyer, I would only state what I have observed, nothing more.

egan said...

You're more than welcome Lynn.

sari said...

My opinion is that Slugger may be better off with his father from what you're saying.

I would talk to the lawyer and say "I don't KNOW that she was drunk, but I do know that she doesn't seem right," because from what you say, she isn't right.

You need to listen to your intuition - maybe you have been placed in Slugger's life for a reason. He obviously can't help himself, he's a young boy. Someone needs to do something.

That way, you're saying that things need to be looked into a bit but not offering any accusations on what is going on. If you think something is wrong, that very well may be and they need to check it out.

Please let us know what happens.

Lynn said...

Egan - Great.

Sari - I can't get a great read on the dad, since I've never really had much to do with him. It appears that he is the more stable parent, but I also know that looks can be deceiving. I believe the weekly switch has happened again, and I will have Ten call Slugger at his mom's house, to try to arrange another playdate at my house, and will see what transpires. I will definitely let everyone know what happens. Thanks for your input!