"Please, don't take me from my mother," my son said, pulling against me.
My heart dropped as I let his hand slip from my grasp. He clutched the Russian woman's legs, sobbing into her pants. She lifted him into her arms, and it took everything in me to not punch her. Constantly reminding myself I didn't want to accidentally hit him, I clenched my fists so tight that my nails were digging into my skin. The woman, coddling my baby as if he were hers, looked innocently at the officers standing behind me.
"Can me and my son go now?"
"No!" I screamed, pushing her down.
An officer grabbed my forearms while the other one helped the woman up.
"Ma'am, I think you should leave," the one helping her said.
My heart stuck in my throat. I hadn't seen my son since he ran away three years ago and the cops were stealing him from me again. I bucked and kicked at the police officer behind me who just held me tighter.
"Ma'am. Please stop fighting me."
"I will never!" I growled. Noticing my son's eyes, I said, "Do you remember me, Jason? Do you remember how I would hold you and tell you everything was okay while your dad screamed and threw things outside the door? Do you remember me singing to you?"
The police were talking but all I could see were my son's eyes. His expression hadn't changed but I could tell by the look in his eyes he remembered and felt guilty for leaving me alone with him. I kept trying, blurting out memories until she tried to stop me.
"Please stop talking to my son."
"You aren't his mother. You don't know him. You don't know how he got that scar on his forehead or the color of his favorite pacifier or how big he was at birth. Jason, please come home with me, sweetheart. I got rid of him. I went to rehab now. I'm better. Please, sweetheart."
Jason stepped towards me, and I could feel the warmth coming back into my life. But, he stopped just out of my reach, looking at me with cold eyes.
"You are not my mother," he said.
My mouth fell open and my body trembled. "Jason."
"That's not my name. I am not your son. I was never your son and I never will be. I'm happy you got clean. I'm happy you decided to love yourself. But I do not love you anymore and I never want to see you again."
Fearing I was imagining this, I tried to pinch myself. The minute pain was nothing compared to his words.
"Sure, she isn't my birth mother. But she has shown me the love and attention that a mother should show her child. She's been there. She's never put a man over me. I love her more than I can ever say I ever loved you."
I tried to speak, but the words dribbled out into choked sobs. I tried to say his name but couldn't get it out. Even after he and the woman left from my sight, I still couldn't find the sound to tell him how sorry I was for being a bad mom. How sorry I was that I left him in the mall without realizing it. How sorry I was for not fighting harder to get him back. It was too late now, with me going back to jail and him long gone. Once again, I had failed my only child and had no one to blame but myself.