Pride

When you love your children and grandchildren, there are any number of things that make you proud and happy…..the first tooth or first step as a baby, the first tearful goodbys as they head off to kindergarten, the medal for cheerleading or Pop Warner, the scout medals and awards, the A+ in English on the report card. The proud military service, the college degrees, the singular achievements at various kinds of work. Then the grandchildren and everything they do. When you really really love them, you can take pride in other things that most people wouldn’t even talk about. That’s why Brandon fills my heart with pride. In a story too long and painful to repeat, Brandon was in 8th grade at Our Lady of Perpetual Help when powers that be, both in Highlands where they offered no help at all and in Wisconsin where the liberal courts always think the mother, regardless of her alcohol or drug habits, is the better parent, he ended up living in Wisconsin. Prayers and court actions couldn’t change anything, and Brandon spent uncountable months during his teen years in juvenile detention centers. He ‘graduated’ to real prison shortly after he turned 18, his drug habits and accompanying crimes associated with it now a very real part of his life. He spent the next ten years in and out of prison, always promising his dad and me who always wrote him that he’d do better, he’d be better, those days were behind him. Until he got out. And when he couldn’t find a job, had no support, had to stay in Wisconsin during parole, and sired a couple of kids, it was through drugs where he could make money. So he did. Until he was caught again. This time, it was a five year sentence which included, because he loved them wildly, the added pain and punishment of knowing he was not even close to being a role model for those young children. So now he’s back in prison and once again, Brandon says he’ll be better. Only this time, I believe him. This time, he’s taking positive steps. He’s listening to his dad. He’s talking with him on the phone and he’s writing him letters. The letters are heartbreaking in their honesty, scary in his descriptions of prison life, agonizing in the lonesomeness he feels and expresses. But, it has shown me he has inherited that gift of writing from his dad, the gift his dad inherited from me, the one I inherited from my father. There’s no doubt Brandon can write. So he does. He pours out his heart to his father in handwritten letters on pieces of paper he manages to secure in prison. And his father has started a blog to let other prisoners and their families know there is hope, there is help for a convict who has the support of his family. There is a chance at a better and successful life even if it’s only started when you’re thirty something. That’s what makes me proud. I’m proud my son still has faith in his son, still has a prideful recognition of Brandon’s writing talent, proud he is taking the extra steps to release his letters both to and from Brandon in the hopes of helping both Brandon and all who read the blog. Here are a father and son who love each other, love those adorable little babies of Brandon’s and have confidence that yes, indeed, this time it’s going to be better. If you want to see Brandon’s blog, visit https://a-parent-in-prison.blogspot.com/


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