Sometimes I wonder if I am obligated to help Eliza stay connected with Ethan and Evan. I think I know the answer to my own question and I would have to say no. I am not obligated to do anything for her. But I do. I do it because it feels good. I do it because this is who I am. I do it because they shouldn’t have to bear the burden of her bad choice. I do it because I would want it done for me.
You have to be creative when keeping an incarcerated parent connected to their children. I try to put myself in her place and imagine what I would want. With that in mind I send her pictures, school work, and report cards. If I ask the kids enough, they will write her on occasion. Sometimes they will send her drawings. But they won’t do anything without my prompting. I write Eliza often to provide her with updates about them so that when she does write, which she does faithfully, she will have something to talk about. On birthdays and holidays we always send a card or something equally special. I also take them down once a month for visits. During this time I try to stay in the background and let them have their time with her. She only gets twenty-four hours per year. I am with them everyday. I can honestly say that she is interested in staying close to them. Why not help her? I see myself as part of the circle.