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For the past eight years, I've been a mom to Alexandra's children. But no matter how many noses I wipe and lunches I pack, Nathan and Leilah are keenly aware that their real mother isn't here.

Recently, they were reunited, and it was bittersweet.

Alexandra had last seen her oldest two kids 18 months ago, when she was in the throes of addiction. She saw Michael when he was a little over a year old.

I cried seeing my daughter with her children. There were lots of tender hugs, sweet kisses and precious tears from everyone and I could almost see the love, like a little cloud hovering above them. But the cloud didn't burst – because in the heartbreaking truth, my daughter and her children barely know each other.

The little family spent about an hour together. The visit was kept short for Alexandra's wellbeing – the counselors were keenly aware of how overwhelming this moment would be for her. I understand that approach. I agree with it. It makes sense. But it didn't change my feeling that again, the children were last on the priority list.

Nathan and Leilah had been so excited to see their mother. Nathan, I'm afraid, had visions of everything changing – that his mother would become his own now, and that she would be there to snuggle him good night and kiss him good morning. Of course I had explained Alexandra's situation to him – but he's eight. His hopes were high.

When the hour ended, Nathan was angry. He said he couldn't believe that an hour had passed. "It seemed like only a few minutes," he said, a few minutes that he had to share with his sister and toddler brother. Leilah just became quiet, then started meekly asking to "see Mommy again." There was no way I could explain, in a way that they could understand, why Alexandra couldn't see them again. She had looked well, and acted healthy – in their minds, she was making a choice not to be with them. Again.

But my daughter is not emotionally healthy yet. She's now thinking clearly, and beginning to realize how much of her children's lives she has missed. It's like she has awakened from a nightmare and discovered that life kept moving without her. Any day now, I'm afraid, the full extent of how she has damaged her son and daughters will hit her like a physical blow. It will be a devastating moment.

And it will make her determined to jump into motherhood. But she can't.

The best the best gift she can give her children and prepare for the demands of parenting is to continue working on her sobriety and learning how to take care of herself. Through that process, she can build the spiritual and mental strength she'll need to be a mother, a daughter, a sister – and a contributing member of society.

I'm nearly as impatient as Nathan, for a different set of reasons. I'm tired. I feel old. I'm ready to substitute the carefree joys of being a grandmother for the daily grind of parenting three young children. I love my kids – and believe me, I consider them my kids – but at this point, I'm also willing to share the parenting responsibilities with someone younger and more energetic than me.

Alexandra also had a reunion via satellite with her younger sister Katherine, herself a new mother now. Katherine looked beautiful and calm – and reserved. Now that she has young Paul, I think she more fully resents the choices her sister made. Learning to trust Alexandra will take time for her, and will fully depend on Alexandra being willing to prove herself worthy of that unconditional sisterly love. I hope both girls are patient enough to wait for that time to come.
 
Wow! We have a lot going on today as Dr. Phil catches up with Marty. Bridget, who recently appeared on Dr. Phil, is a young woman whose mother chose a detrimental lifestyle over her own children. Bridget makes a very emotional plea to Alexandra. Her candid message speaks truth from her heart. I hope Alexandra can hear what Bridget is saying.

I am thankful Dr. Phil is able to meet with Marty face to face and talk with him about our daughters and grandchildren.

Marty is the kind of man who likes to get things fixed - quickly - and move on. He has been working very hard to listen, understand and influence Alexandra and Katherine. I think Marty finds both of our daughters very frustrating. Occasionally, we experience a small flicker of hope with Alexandra. She appears to truly understand what Dr. Phil is saying; when our hopes are dashed as she makes excuses for her poor decisions or denies her poor choices ever happened.

Dr. Phil's comment regarding Alexandra: "I think she has an involvement with these guys who feel safe to her, because they don't require anything from her." Dr. Phil's observation makes perfect sense. I was never able to understand why she chose the particular caliber of men in her life. It is obvious now: Marty and I did not require enough from our daughters when they were young. Now, they do not require enough from themselves.

Marty and I realize the mistakes we made with Alexandra and Katherine. Dr. Phil helps us by giving us better parenting and relationship tools.

Every day, Marty and I work on making our home a peaceful, safe, sanctuary. We are not  "The Cleavers"; we get it wrong more than we get it right. However, at the end of the day, we review what we did well and what we can do better. We recognize our own errors and we take responsibility for our actions.

Marty and I grateful to Dr. Phil and his staff for all the help he has provided for our family.

We take one day at a time.

Talk with you soon,

Erin
 
I love Alexandra and Katherine very much.  So, it is very distressing for me to see them fight and argue. I want them to get along. I want them to be best friends! Both young women are expert masters of giving unsolicited advice as to what is best for the other. Hhmm, this sounds familiar...

Recently, Katherine and I had a huge argument, she said some very ugly things in a desperate attempt to hurt and anger me. She was successful. She has learned well. After giving some calm thought to our argument, I realized I created a young woman who is held captive, like her mother, by nonsensical personal beliefs (lies).

In my selfish busyness of trying to portray the perfect image, I betrayed my precious girls by not allowing them to be their authentic selves. I work hard for things that are never enough, that will never fill me up and are endlessly insufficient. Why do I waste time, money, effort and peace on things that do not satisfy my soul?

I spend my time trying to manage everyone's life when my own life is a complete mess. I think I am so frustrated with my family. I think I cannot stand another minute of Alexandra or Katherine's lies. The reality: I must stop finding fault with everyone around me and take a good look at myself. I am confined by my self-delusional thoughts that I am better, smarter, and stronger than most people.

As Dr Phil would say: "How's that workin' for ya?"

Realizing my issues are only half my battle. I feel so humiliated about the pain and anguish I have caused my daughters.  I can't take back stupid!

I am, however, hopeful! Dr Phil and his staff are committed to helping us be successful in all aspects of our lives. He has opened many resources for our family.

Alexandra's attorney, Curtis Fallgatter, is a remarkable man of extraordinary intelligence. His tireless work ethic and generous, respectful manner are creating an environment for victory.

Alexandra and I are in professional counseling. I would love to say it easy and we are making great progress. The truth is, it is hard work for both of us. We are committed to getting better even though we still fuss and argue. Thankfully, our counselor, Kathleen Abbott, is a truly amazing, and discerning woman.

With Dr. Phil's help, I am optimistic Katherine will make great strides towards anger management, internal motivation and independence. Katherine wants to live on her own, but she is not quite ready for totally independence. Dr. Phil has some great ideas on helping Katherine transition into successful, self-sufficient living.
 
My Pretty Girls!

My Ballet girls!
 
My daughter, Katherine, was arrested for giving a false statement to police. This is truly a defining moment for me. A flood of emotion washes over me: shock, anger, sadness and guilt. Guilt because I realize I have not done a very good job preparing my daughter for the real world. I thought I had been a good mother - not a perfect mother, by any stretch, but good enough to raise a child that would not get arrested.

Anger because I cannot believe Katherine's stupid behavior and I could be in such denial about her choices.

Sad because my little girl is no longer little and her bad decisions will effect her for the rest of her life.

Shock because this is MY daughter, not someone else's daughter who is in trouble!

Katherine had so many wonderful opportunities, growing up, to help build her character and confidence. Now, I am frustrated and I feel like I have failed Katherine on all accounts as a parent. I want to play the "blame game", but I know better. I regret not holding Katherine more accountable for her choices when she was younger. I regret not explaining to her how being adult means freedom that comes at high price - complete responsibility for your own actions - good or bad.

I have to come to terms with myself, my adult daughter, our relationship and her "not getting it" behavior. What seems so blatantly obvious to me is completely lost on Katherine. The obvious being: don't associate with people who commit crimes, tell the truth, and ask for help when you need it. I realize I cannot "fix" this situation. I cannot make it all better. Even if I can, I know I will not. As hard as it was, Marty and I reject her one free call from jail. Katherine spends the night in jail.

I regret taking home Katherine's friend; leaving Katherine alone in our home with three police officers who were interrogating her. I stupidly ask the police officers to please wait until I return home before anything happens. I return 15 minutes later and Katherine is gone. My heart is breaking and I cry.

I am there, in the early morning, for Katherine during her first court appearance. Not to bail her out, but to show her I love her no matter what. No bail is set. She is released on her own recognizance. After nearly six hours of "processing", Katherine gets into my car. I barely speak to her. I am angry and embarrassed: Katherine's bad behavior is a direct reflection of my parenting abilities. She is definitely scared. Katherine begins yelling at me about how the arrest is my fault because I told her to tell the police what she knew. I explain to Katherine, I love her very much, but I did not make her date Sean or choose her friends. I will also NOT hire her an attorney.

I am fearful Katherine will not truly understand the brevity of her extremely bad choices. I am afraid she will continue on the same course; she will justify her same behavior by telling me she has "new" friends.

Talking to Dr. Phil helps me realize I can love and care for Katherine and also be tough. I do not have give my daughter everything she needs or wants. She will still love me and even have more respect for me because I hold firmly to my values. Dr. Phil also helps me realize no matter how much I do to rescue someone I love, she can still sometimes make very stupid mistakes. I hope this is a wake up call for Katherine. We have a lot work to do, Katherine and I.

 
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