We have 3 children, the two eldest are boys (20 & 21) and a daughter whom is about to turn 19. Our daughter is disabled due to an accident when she was only 2 and in a special education class, she's a cheer to be around...most of the time (like any teen eh?). She has a young friend I'll call 'Anne' who is also in her class, she has a 16 yr old body and the mind of an 8 year old. Our daughter and Anne get along very well and we have been having her over this summer for company as we live in the country, we have been doing all of the 'girl summer' stuff..painting nails, sun, sand, water, magazines...shopping, they are having a great summer as it should be.
The young girl has been raised by her father whom works to support herself and 3 older siblings in the house, as the mother left when Anne was only 18 months old. Her grandmother had much of an influence until she passed on 2 years ago, but since then I don't believe there has been any other womanly input.
Anne comes to visit with a ripped shopping bag full of clothes which are 2 sizes too small, no underwear nor bras...I'm sure you get it. We aren't wealthy but I have taking the girls out for some shopping and I have managed to pick up some cotton panties and the like, I stuck them in the bottom of a bag I made her for travelling. This has been happening since the end of school and gradually I have been able to weed some Tshirts and shorts for her from our daughter's stock...no biggie.
This week Anne didn't feel well so I took her home early (I called first), she had too much to carry herself so I was allowed entry into the small family home for the first time. I'm not quite sure how to say this without sounding like I'm judging the dad because I know he works hard but the place was...looking for a word here...terrible. They have 2 small dogs that seem to not go outside and have left all of their business on the kichen floor...everywhere. I had to wade and find the kitchen sink just to wet a cloth for her forehead, there is garbage and bags and towels and empty beer bottles and old newspaper and old food...you get the drift. I didn't give any response at all and just kept on as I didn't want Anne to feel as I had noticed.
Now the dilema...should I just go in and have Anne help me clean up? Keep my nose in my own business? Offer to help? We like having Anne here and it seems she loves being here and her father doesn't seem to have any problems with it either, I'm just not sure IF I should go anywhere with it at all. There are 2 older siblings at Anne's home that are female 20 and male 22, and from what I can tell her sister watches Jerry Springer and soaps all day and the brother stays up in his room playing video games and listening to Marilyn Manson (I can hear it from outside when I pull up).
My husband says I am always out to save the world...I think we can only do what we can, if we can.
Any thoughts anyone? Thanks in advance :)
I think you seem to be doing a wonderful job being the support Anne may need. It is so unfortunate that she has siblings and a father who seem unable to meet her needs. Also it is very sad that her home is unclean and unhygenic. As much as this frustrates you, it may cause her Father to stop you having so much interaction with her if you mention that you think the house is in need of a clean. He may feel judged or inadequate.
What is the most frustrating is that she has siblings. Two able bodied adult siblings who are clearly not pulling their own weight. Sometimes things are just not fair, however, I think this aspect of Anne's life is out of your control. I think you can have a continued profound affect on her by doing just what you have been doing and try to help her personally where you can. She will always remember and appreciate your kindness. Don't feel you are letting her down by not being able to fix everything. Don't be hard on yourself either. You are doing what you can, and your heart is in the right place. Be proud of yourself.