Mothers aren’t supposed to cry

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Mothers aren’t supposed to cry in front of their children; it scares them. But here she is with tears streaking her face as she picks up her son, Michael, from parish prison. He’s in his early-30s, but he’ll always be her kid. She promises to drive him over to the rehab program right away, but first she tells The Bridge Center social worker that they will have to stop for gas along the way. She was too rushed this morning to fill up the tank of her American sedan. 

What she’s really saying is that she wants to make sure that it’s okay to stop for gas; she doesn’t want to break any rules that might land Michael, addicted to drugs, back in jail. Her son is getting this chance because the social worker believes – after much research and scrutiny and approval from local justice officials - that he should get it right this time. 

“I understand,” says the Bridge Center’s social worker, offering her a little mercy. The mother thanks the social worker, once more. “You are doing something wonderful.” 

If Michael succeeds, it will show that the Bridge Center’s pre-trial release program is working, and more people with drug problems and mental illness will get a chance at therapy. But no one tells him that. He’s got all he can handle for today. It’ll be one day at a time for him for a while.

“I’m going to get him to rehab now,” the mother assures the social worker, driving away from prison with her son.