“Each day within me I fight a silent battle of surviving yet another day without you.” —Narin Grewal

When I went back to work on Monday I was completely surprised to learn that Gord Scott had left the company.  I called Lynda to tell her the news and she was surprised, too.  I asked her to call Margret and asked her if it’s okay for me to visit them this evening just for a few minutes.  Lynda called back after a couple of hours to let me know that she had a nice chat with Margret and she said Gord and Margret will love to see you this evening.

In the meanwhile, I found out in the office that Gord was having problems with his boss for a while as his boss wasn’t a computer literate to appreciate what Gord was trying to accomplish. He was concerned about the amount of money being spent on the computers. The worse news was that George was coming back from Winnipeg to take over Gord’s job. This is the same guy who used to have my job and now along with other managers, I was supposed to report to George. What a shame, it was.

Margret and Gord invited us over on one Sunday. As usual, we had a wonderful time and nice meal.  Adam, Melody, and Stephany played together nicely.  They told us that Gord had accepted an offer from the Government of New Brunswick to be in charge of everything related to computers in the province and they were moving to Fredericton soon.  It was indeed good news.  Gord was also helping his mother to go live Fredericton. Margret invited us to visit them in Fredericton which Lynda accepted wholeheartedly.       

Lynda only met George a couple of times in the parties but she never liked George and she thought he looked like a mouse.  I tried to maintain a reasonable business relationship with George.  I was focussed on the fact that I as a professional and I should be able to work with anybody.  However, I was worried about my staff’s morals.  Gord Scott was a very popular boss and doesn’t matter how many times I told them that I am not going anywhere in a hurry, they kept asking me how long do you think you are going to last with these clowns. I had worked very hard to find good competent people to hire and train and we just started reaping the benefits of our training, therefore, I didn’t want them to go anywhere.

I was aware of the fact that Lynda is constantly missing Maxine.  To her as a mother, Maxine’s has her faults but she didn’t necessarily deserve what she was going through and I had nothing to convince her otherwise.  Maxine must have mentioned to her mom on the phone something about suicide and it was the panic button for Lynda.  I did some digging to find out about “Teen Suicide” and found out that teens are at the risk of suicide, if they suffered from:

  1. Conflict with close friends or family members;
  2. Having a physical disorder, such as depression, an anxiety disorder, bipolar or oppositional defiant disorder; and
  3. Trouble coping with the stress of being a teen, such as dealing with rejection, failure, breakups, school difficulties and family turmoil.

Albeit the symptoms of suicide listed above had some similarities with what Maxine was going through but I was convinced that Maxine is too smart to think about suicide.  Nevertheless, Maxine knew how to manipulate her mom.  My problem was I had no way to convincing Lynda.  I was thinking all the time about the potential impact of what we were going through on Adam.  Adam was my top priority and I am sure Lynda was worried about him, too. 

The other oblivious alternative for Maxine was to go live with her father and sister.  But her father was not interested simply because he was living with somebody else and he knew Maxine better.  Besides, he was already having enough problems with Ruth.

It was killing me to watch Lynda suffering from fragility.  What Maxine had been dreaming about was that her mother and father were getting back to living together and they were going to be a big happy family.  Of course, it was a fantasy but in the meanwhile she was determined to do whatever it takes to pamper my family.  It was impossible for Lynda to comprehend that kind of cruelty from her own daughter. 

One night I decided that I am not going to run away from the problem like I did before.  I knew that it all would come to repentance for making that decision but I wanted Lynda to be happy.  So, I woke Lynda up in the middle of the night and asked her if we can talk.  She reluctantly adjusted herself to sit up on her side of the bed before she said what’s on your mind?  I said do you want Maxine to come and live with us.  She said but I don’t want to lose you and ended up living on welfare with two kids.  I said why don’t you get in touch with that nasty piece of work (Social Worker) and find out what’s going on so far all we heard only Maxine’s side.  She said are you sure?  I said absolutely.  She said she will give her a call first thing in the morning.

I went to work in the morning and tried to concentrate upon my schedule but it was very hard.  Lynda called me around 9:30AM to let me know that the social worker would like to talk to me.  I closed my office door and told my secretary not to disturb me and called the social worker.  She answered the phone right away and I was surprised that she tried to be nice to me.  I was on the phone with her for a while and if my memory serves me correctly, essentially we discussed the following points:

  1. She wanted to make sure that Lynda and I are on the same page;
  2. She said she had been in this business for a while and had placed dozens of kids in foster homes successfully.  She had only a couple of troubled kids to deal with during that period of time but Maxine was something else.  She didn’t apologize but said she regretted the way she treated us before and that was the result of believing that Maxine was abused in your home;
  3. She explained to me that the process that she had to follow requires her to recommend to Court that in the best interest of Maxine, she needed to go back to living with her family.  Then Court will schedule a hearing in an open Court where you have to answer to the judge in order to convince that you are committed to make it work this time. If the judge is satisfied, Maxine will be released under your custody, not under Lynda’s; and
  4. She also said.  Hope you know what you are getting into.  Probably I am going to get fired for saying this but I want you to know that a bunch of folks with tons of experience in the field who work for me tried very hard to manage but they had no luck with Maxine.    

It took several weeks to follow through the process and finally we appeared in the Jewish Family Court one day.  Initially, the social worker described the case briefly and I was asked to make a statement to confirm that I clearly comprehended the essence of the case.  The judge asked me a bunch of questions and I answered them best to my ability in the end he released Maxine in my custody.

Lynda was very happy.

Our Story – Chapter 18