“In the garden of memory, in the palace of dreams … that is where you and I shall meet.” — Lewis Carroll 

Things were going very well for us.  My working environments were normalized and I wasn’t getting calls as many as I used to and Lynda was happy about that.  We used to go to see Ruth and take her out for lunch and spend some time with her and sometimes she used to come to stay with us on the weekends. 

I always wanted three of them to spend some time together.  However, I never stopped nagging Maxine about her homework or asking her and Adam constantly to help their mother with the dishes. Maxine was a very smart kid but she hated homework.  We had a four-story townhome.  Every week Lynda used to carry three laundry baskets from all three bedrooms down to the basement to do the laundry.  I attempted to bribe Maxine to help her mother with the laundry but it never worked.  Lynda used to vacuum every week carrying the vacuum from floor to floor but Maxine never ever helped her.  Maxine and Adam used to fight constantly and we both used to tell them off.  I knew that Adam in a way used to be his mother’s favourite, not because he was a son but because he was a baby. 

One Friday when I came back from work, I didn’t see Maxine and asked Lynda where is she?  Lynda said go get changed first we are getting late for supper.  I gathered that something must have happened and she didn’t like to talk to me in front of Adam.  We used to go to a restaurant on every Friday for supper where they used to have Spaghetti Special.  It used to give Lynda a break from cooking.  Even we used to take mom there whenever she stayed with us. 

Once Adam was in bed and I read his story, I came down and sat with Lynda in our living room. She started telling me that she had a telephone call from the school about Maxine that morning.  I said why? She said Maxine was sick and she needed to go to the hospital right away.  When Lynda took Maxine to the hospital and waited for a while with Adam to see the doctor. The doctor said Maxine was suffering from Eating Disorders and he said while the exact cause of Eating Disorders is unknown, Maxine must be obsessed over specific parts of her body or her weight.  He said what Maxine complained about is that she’s feeling weakness, dizziness, and dehydration which were news to us.  She also said that they wanted to keep Maxine at the hospital for a little while.   

I was absolutely amazed with the findings and I didn’t know how to handle it.  Whereas Lynda was calm and composed which indicated to me that she knew something which I don’t.  She said Maxine always been a drama queen and she responds to situations in a melodramatic way and she was capable of misinterpreting the facts.  She also said that not to worry, everything will be just fine.  I said I wish I had your confidence, my love.        

We were hoping that Maxine will come home in a couple of days and we will have a heart to heart to get things sorted out.  To our surprise, Maxine was released from the hospital as expected in a couple of days but instead of coming home, she was gone to stay with the Jewish Children and Family Services.  We didn’t even know who they were and perhaps most importantly why they were doing this to us.  Lynda got panicked.  Subsequently, we found out that:

  1. The Jewish Children and Family Services is a government agency with a program of the Consulting Group with skilled and experienced therapists who provide individual and family counselling service to Jewish children, youth, and families; and
  2. The reason they got involved because Maxine had asked for the help from them when she was in the hospital. According to them, Maxine wasn’t interested in going back to living with us.    

We always thought Maxine was very smart when it comes to manoeuvring people.

Eventually, Lynda got in touch with them at the Agency and they didn’t like to discuss anything on the phone but they wanted us to go to their office tomorrow on Bathurst Street at 7:00PM. They made sure on the phone that we need to bring Adam with us.  Lynda wasn’t happy with that suggestion and she protested but the woman on the phone said that Adam is the part of the process whether you like it or not.

Either of us had any experience dealing with those agencies.  Lynda was worried that they may have power to take Maxine away from us. She didn’t like to lose her.  As a mother, she had already gone through the process of separation when Ruth decided not to continue to live with us.  But that was a different situation as she knew that where she will be and her father will look after her. Maxine’s situation bothered her so much that she didn’t sleep well and I felt helpless because I didn’t know how to handle the situation.  

Our Story – Chapter 14