I didn't quite think this fit for the PE section as it's as much me thinking out loud as anything. But for background info for where this is coming from, you can check my posts over there about stepgfg, especially the one with her diagnosis. I've had some time to think about stepdau's diagnosis, to have it sink in, re-read her emails, and run old memories of while she lived here as well as older ones when she was a child. I've come to realize that God has an amazing way of humbling me these past several years of my life. I might be an intelligent, educated, loving, caring, devoted parent........but I still am quite capable of major mess ups. I'm not saying stepdau was a easy child while she was here, but with symptoms and behaviors she was displaying the red flags I was picking up on should've been glowing neon signs. Instead, because of listening to outside influences (coming from her bioMom and others) I misread what I was seeing and got it all wrong, or at least a vast majority of it. That I get to live with forever. And it's not the least bit pleasant. But I've explained and apologized to stepdau. She has accepted the apology. So we're continuing to move forward. God in his infinate wisdom does have a plan. We're just gonna have a long discussion about this Plan of his when we come face to face! For 6 of the longest years of my life, stepdau was vacant from our lives. It was so painful that her name, and the names of the grands, were rarely spoken. Reminders such as pictures were safely tucked away out of view to minimize the pain looking at them caused. Every holiday, their birthdays,family milestones were a stab in the heart. It was never discussed, but if you looked closely you could see it in our eyes. It was the trigger to Nichole's downward spiral that so nearly distroyed her. The worry never stopped. Life went on, but not knowing has a way of eating at you. After many hours of raw anger at God for giving stepdau the courage to reach out, only for us to discover we will lose her again, I have made a choice. A decision. We are once again a united family, rebuilding relationships slowly, but united none the less. Our time together as a whole unit might be limited, with both Stepdau and Travis, but it's not the amount of time that is important, it's what you do with it. I am one lucky Mom. I have been given a 2nd chance, we as a family have been given a 2nd chance. Back in June when I was grieving over stepdau and the grands because of their bdays, I never dreamed we'd be where we're at today. I often questioned the decision to follow my heart, and do what was right, when stepdau contacted Nichole and I let it be up to Nichole if she wanted to respond. Those first emails were tough to get thru as feelings were expressed. Painful for Nichole, easy child, and stepdau. In the emails I share with stepdau I see a much more mature version of the little girl I once knew, and it's mighty nice to see her again. Times are mighty rough for her right now, but not once has she asked for anything, not money, nothing. Just that we love her. That we be there for the grands. As we "talk" I discover more and more that while she was growing up and while she was here stepdau learned far more than I ever realized or gave her credit for. I can accept she is probably not a Perfect Parent. Who of us can claim that title? Not me, that's for sure. But I see a much deeper level of "mothering" attitude/care/affection for the grands than I saw while she was here. Maybe leaving forced to to become the mother she could never be if she'd stayed here. Maybe receiving a terminal diagnosis made her realize how precious they are. It certainly does make a person sort out their priorities. And I do know that it made her realize that she'd cheated her kids and herself out of an extended family for far too long. But I do know that I feel something that I wondered if I'd ever feel with stepdau again when I read her emails........Proud. I am proud of the woman I see there. Not a difficult child whining about the awful hand life has delt her, but a woman who is grateful for what little she has, doing her best to cope, and doing her best to make her own passing a little bit easier on her children and husband. In my culture family is everything. Everything. Not one member stands alone. Which is why when stepdau disappeared it was so profoundly devistating for the entire family. It was like have a vital body part severed. Everything within our family is shared. There are no petty competitions, no I'm richer than you are, or I have better this or that. When one family member finds themseles in trouble, the rest rally around and share to make life easier for them. It is who we are. And as a mother I am proud to say that difficult child and PCs alike are rallying around their sister and their neice and nephews. Brings tears to my eyes. And in my new even more humble opinion, I dare to think that maybe I did ok as a Mom afterall, dispite some of the rather huge mistakes I made along the way. Addresses and phone numbers have been exchanged. So I might get to speak to all of them on the phone soon. I'm sending off envelopes and stamps so that Kayla, Alex, and Evan can send back pics for Nana's frig. We're working on a plan to get together in december, not easy when we're 3 states apart. But will be wonderful for everyone if we can make it happen. As easy child says, it's profound that 2 out of 4 kids in the same family have severe neuro issues and both have terminal dxes. Then there is Nichole's unusual symptoms which happen to be on the list for the chairi malformation as well. And I've known for several years Nichole does have neuro issues of her own, although thought to be minor compared with her brother. So it may possibly be 3 out of 4, and that would just be......well, I don't have the words. Nichole will be discussing with doctor on tues and requesting and MRI based on fam medication history just to be sure. easy child will be having an ultrasound in 2 wks (if not sooner) and has already informed OB this diagnosis is in the family along with Travis' issues, so he will be ordering the techs to pay especially close attention to the brain and spinal cord of the baby. And since I'm most likely the most pessimistic human being in the world......... I still have that little part of me that says this could all be one major thought out scam by stepdau. And although I happen to know much about this condition and it's treatment and such, and I can honestly say all that stepdau has said about it and other things are ringing solidly true.........Well, I've still though long and hard about the scam angle. And you know what? If there is one constant I've learned in Life it is this, No matter what you're faced with if you stay true to the person you are and what you believe to be right and good, the rest doesn't really matter. And it doesn't. I know because I discovered that during those long years when stepdau was gone. Did I get burned and learn from it? Oh, yeah. Do I regret helping her get off the streets then, even knowing what the outcome was? No. Because it is who I am. But I did learn valuable lessons I am putting to work now and handling things differently. Life can sure deal us some doosies. And in mine, it seems there is never good without the bad to go with it. I dunno, maybe God thinks that will make me appreciate the good all the more. But he could sure back off at any time and I'd appreciate it.