February 12, 2012

The little girl who used to sit in my lap and cry

It’s been months since I’ve seen Ponytail, the little girl who used to live down the street from me. About once a week, I pick her brother up from the apartment where he lives with his mother. But Ponytail was sent off to live her father in another town, and I have no way of contacting her.

Her father is the man who attacked the family in a drunken rage one cold April night. That’s the night that Little Biker Boy rode over to my house in his boxer shorts screaming for help. That night, I called 911 and cops came, and they had to taser the man before they could get him into a patrol car.

Little Biker Boy doesn’t see his sister very often any more, but we talk about her. The two kids were always together when they lived down the road from me, riding bikes or playing in the ditches, and I know he misses her.

Today is her eighth birthday.

Little Biker Boy called me this morning. He has my phone number memorized, and he calls whenever he can take someone’s cell phone. I could tell from the background noise that he wasn’t at his mother’s apartment. He told me he was going to see Ponytail, that someone was going to take him over for a birthday party.

“I asked if you could come, but no, they said you can’t,” he said.

“Give her a hug for me,” I said. “Teach her my phone number. She’s old enough.”

“I think she’s learned the first part,” he said. “She almost knows it.”

Someone in the background yelled at him. “I have to go,” he said quickly, and hung up. Our calls usually end when someone discovers their cell phone missing.

It’s Ponytail’s birthday. Wherever she is, I’m thinking about her today.

20 comments:

Sarah Sometimes said...

And now, we are thinking of her, too. May she feel our thoughts. I am glad she will get to see Biker Boy on her birthday.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

This is all so sad, and yes, now I am thinking of her, too, and her brother.

Lilian said...

Sigh. We join with you today in thinking of her and praying that she is safe. She's only three months older than my own almost 8 year old.

How old were the kids when they became your neighbors and would come over and how old were they again when they moved?

jo(e) said...

They were 4 and 7 when they moved here, and they lived here for just about 3 years.

Wordsmith said...

So sad. I have been moved by these posts over the years. I can't imagine how upsetting it is, and I hope there is a better life for them...soon. You are making a difference.
Happy birthday to Ponytail.

elswhere said...

I hope she's able to learn your phone number, and to use it.

Lilian said...

I remember that she was four (and really tall for her age, compared to my small kids -- in your pictures at least), but didn't quite remember how old he was. Wow. Poor kids. I hope she learns the number and calls you sometime. Sigh.

Rev Dr Mom said...

Heartbreaking. I hope she's being treated ok...and I can't help bu think WTF were they thinking to send her to live with someone who attacked the family?!

And I hope she learns your phone number...

Martha Spong said...

Oh, jo(e). Thinking of them, and you.

Anonymous said...

This just breaks my heart.

Chris in NY

Laura C. said...

This makes my heart hurt. Happy birthday, Ponytail.

liz said...

Sending love.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

So sad. But how fortunate they are to have known you and to have hope in their lives. May it pull them through ...

Tie-Dye Brother-in-law said...

Happy Birthday, Ponytail Girl!

It's sad that she's no longer part of your life, but considering that her mother brought home the guy who sexually abused five-year-old Ponytail Girl, she might be better off living with her father.

Besides teaching them your phone number, might it be a good idea teaching them how to delete the call history?

jo(e) said...

Tie-Dye Brother-in-law: Yeah, but I wish she was in a foster home instead of with her father, since he's proven himself to be an abusive alcoholic.

I could use my phone to teach them how to delete the call history, but cell phones are different (I think they're mostly using track phones -- the numbers are always changing), so I'm not sure how quickly they'd grasp that.

zelda1 said...

My mother died when I was a child and my sister (younger than I) and I were sparated. She went to live with my older psychotic and poor sister and I went to life my even older psychotic and rich sister. While we both were dealt a great deal of verbal and sometimes physical abuse, we were able to see each other about once a month. I always felt so much guilt because I had a nice house to live in and had nice clothes while my younger sister lived in a crappy house and wore awful ragged clothes. Once, we made a pack to run away and when we were together, we packed our mother's gown and a few of our own clothes into safeway sacks and we took off walking on the railroad tracks. I had thirty dollars and told her we could sleep outside and make the money last. Unfortuantely, my sister realized we were gone and came searching for us and when she found us, she accused me of trying to cause trouble. I was not allowed to see my little sister for three months…in those three months, I cried every night. I feel so sorry for little biker boy and pony tail girl. I hope she learns your number.

BrightenedBoy said...

A single positive voice, even in the midst of abuse, can make such a difference for a child. I think Little Biker Boy will appreciate what you're doing even more when he enters adolescence and is able to consciously apply the values you've been showing him.

Every times you write about this boy I'm so thankful for your presence in his life.

Amanda said...

I am torn between how sad this makes me and how much hope that two children have you as a number, light, memory and benchmark.

Kyla said...

I worry about her and I can only imagine how much stronger that worry must be for you. And I agree with everything BrightenedBoy said.

Lilian said...

oh dear... I didn't remember the things that your brother-in-law is saying here. Wow. I wish she could be in a safer place like a foster home too (though you know some foster homes aren't much better, right?). Zelda1's story is heartbreaking!