This time three months ago…

Category: Personal
Words: 995

I wish I could go back in time. Specifically, at this moment, I wish I could go back in time by exactly three months. Three months ago it was Sunday, December 18th, 2022, and my mom asked if I had any plans to go out. I did – for groceries. She asked if we could stop at Walmart. I declined to go shopping with her, but I offered to drop her off.

Regrets, regrets, regrets. I wish I had never taken her out of the house. You see, I wouldn’t go into the store with her because my mom had been shoplifting – a lot of merchandise, a lot of the time. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said she hoarded her 1-bedroom apartment to the tune of enough belongings to fill a 2-bedroom apartment “sized” storage unit to the ceiling.

In any case, I agreed to drop her off at Walmart, and I did. I then went to a grocery store a few miles away (I wasn’t kidding when I said I wouldn’t go into the store with her. Guilt By Association is a thing, and it nearly caught me up with her when she had previously been busted for shoplifting – at Target. The only “saving grace” that day is me repeatedly and rightfully pointing out that my only association with what transpired in the store that day was I came in to bring her a plastic bag, and I used the restroom before I left. That was it. I didn’t accompany her throughout the store, and I sure as hell had no part in attempting to steal anything.), bought a few items for a dinner, and went home.

Tick, tock. Before I knew it three hours had gone by, and she was still in the store. Shoplifting 101: get in, get out. Don’t spend hours browsing and stealing at a leisurely pace. You especially do not want to do this if it’s a quiet Sunday night, Christmas is a week away, and you stand out because your hair is hot pink and you’re using a mobility scooter.

At one point my mother called, asking if either I or my brother, A, would come to the store and “help her with putting bottled water into the basket”. Translation: she was getting nervous and wanted a distraction at the check-out. Nope. Hell fucking no. That was the response from both my brother and myself.

Over an hour went by after that phone call. I messaged her a few times and called a few times, but she didn’t answer. I was baffled by this, because her Facebook status was Active, indicating the phone was on and with her. At this point I half-jokingly suggested to my other brother that she just may have gotten caught and was being arrested. This would explain why her phone was on and “active”, yet no reply from her.

Not 10 minutes after I made the joke, my phone rings. [Local township] Police Department displayed on the Caller ID. Fuck me. I knew before answering what this signified.

So, that was three months ago – December 18th, 2022. My mom has been incarcerated, though technically not in incarcerated on bail or a sentence, ever since. It’s my mom’s probation officer issuing a detainer that is keeping her in jail, despite both of my mother’s charges (there is also one from the fall of 2022) bails being set to unsecure. Typically detainers are lifted once the pre-liminary hearing has been held, but because of continuances, the existence of not one but two retail theft charges, the two of them being not quite two months apart, my mother’s probation officer is understandably pissed, and so she is doing the one thing to my mom that she can do to ensure there is some jail time served: she is holding my mom on a detainer that won’t be lifted until my mom goes to plead to her charges.

As it stands, she is scheduled to plead to the first charge on March 21, 2023. The most recent charge, from December, doesn’t even have a plea date. The first charge has sentencing guidelines indicating 3-6 months jail time. The second charge’s subsequent guidelines are 6-9 months. Yikes. Even with a lenient judge, and my mother’s health issues, I really don’t think she’s going to walk away from this unscathed. I really think she’ll end up facing a 6-month jail sentence. Fortunately she now has half of that under her belt.

As for my mother, she has seemingly no regrets for what she did – only regrets for being caught. And she is acting ridiculously entitled concerning commissary and phone account money. She goes through hundreds every month, and demands hundreds more. I have no fucking idea what she is spending all the money on – I’ve been in that jail and trust me, the commissary list is not that good. I can see spending maybe $50 for a 3-month supply of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, and lotion; and I can even understand another $100 or $200 for food. But my mom is spending $300+ a month, every month, and still asking for more. If I didn’t know better I’d assume she was being extorted (she isn’t). And her jail experience isn’t nearly as bad as mine was – when I was “in”, we were on lockdown in our cells for a minimum of 19 hours a day. My mother is in units that are out all morning, afternoon, and night!

The whole situation is incredibly frustrating to me because it’s so unnecessary. Furthermore, my mom knew what she was risking by having heard so much about what I went through. Why would she chance it? And for hundreds of dollars of non-essentials? It isn’t like my mom stole a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread. She filled shopping carts, her purse, and her pockets with anything that appealed to her.

I’m doing my best to be supportive, but I can’t say I’m very sympathetic.

♥ Jenn
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