The nephews are back in Georgia with the recalcitrant brother. The Butcher is at work. The parents are either on the road back home or will shortly be on the road back home. The dog is walked and now sleeping on the living room floor. Breakfast is over and I am alone in the house.
I love having them here, but when they’re here, it’s just on from the second they show up until the second they leave and I think, in real life, I spend a lot of time just quietly staring off into space thinking about nothing. It’s hard to do that with a constant barrage of “Where are we going to eat? What are we going to do?”
But I will say this about you, Nashville. Whoever put the fountain up at Bicentennial park is a genius and deserves one thousand sweet and tender smooches. We took the nephews there and just wore them right out with an hour of running and jumping and splashing each other. And is there anything cuter than watching great big daddies with their little bitty girls walking along the edge of the wet areas and laughing with delight when they get tiniest bit splashed?
I can’t think of anything right now.
I’ve been thinking a lot this weekend about my sister-in-law. It’s funny. I think of my parents as very strong and powerful, even now, even though I should know better, that they’re just, actually, frail and ordinary just like me. But I don’t. I still imagine they have knowledge and wisdom that I don’t.
And so I wait for them to stand up to her, in their own ways, and they just never do. All the stuff they preach about how my cousins or my nephews or whoever know that my parents have their backs; it’s not completely true. Often, when the fight needs to be fought, my parents can’t do it.
Which, again, is fine. It’d surely be nice to believe in a black and white world where the right thing to do is always clear and where, when people insinuate that they’re on your side, that they’re on your side all the way. But that’s not how it works. My parents are loyal to you as far as they can be, as deeply as they can be.
And when they fail you, it’s not because they’re mean or hateful or malicious, it’s just that that is as far as they can go.
Anyway, my parents really should call DCF in North Carolina. But they’re also afraid of fucking up custody for the recalcitrant brother or causing her to disappear with the nephew or whatever. So, instead, they tell me.
So, I told them yesterday after telling the recalcitrant brother the day before, that, if I hear any more nonsense about the littlest nephew, I’m going to the police. The sister-in-law is not some evil genius. She’s not going to be able to convince a judge that she should get custody of the boy if my brother puts even the slightest effort into fighting against her. She’s bipolar; she refuses to take her medicine, which she knows she needs; and she’s violent. Plus, she’s a crack whore. Weighing that against a plumber with a shitty apartment, I think any judge is going to choose plumber with a shitty apartment. And where’s she going to disappear to? Her whole family thinks the recalcitrant brother should have the kid. And she can’t hold a job. Where’s she going to hide that she can’t be found?
Fuck. Sincerely, everyone in my family is just waiting around for a grown-up to reassure them and tell them what to do and to do all of the scary stuff. I mean, look at me. Who did I call the second I got nervous about my fucking plumbing? A plumber?
No, Sarcastro–a grown-up who can reassure me and tell me what to do. What fucking bullshit.
Sorry about that Mr. Smartypants.
Anyway, because I was the one who got into a screaming match with my sister-in-law in which she threatened to kill Mrs. Wigglebottom and I threatened to kill her, which makes me the only person in my family to have ever scared the shit out of her, I think I’ve been made the de facto adult in this situation.
Which I really hate, because now, instead of all of us who have an interest in the kid’s welfare sitting around and strategizing like adults about how to wrestle the kid away from her permanently, we’ve got to play out our old familiar family dynamic where there’s one person–“the adult”–who must be protected from all of the worst information, because, if he or she has information, he or she will feel compelled to act on it and if he or she begins to act on said information… I don’t know.
That part I don’t get. I mean, I don’t get it all, though I can map the dynamic out for you. But I don’t get what the fear of having the person in the adult role act on the information is. Is it some fear that, if the adult should act, that the adult’s actions might not be confined to just the person who deserves to be acted against?
I don’t know.
But, hey, if you want years of fun, get you a family shaped by generations of physical and psychological violence and install yourself in the generation below the generation determined that “things will be different for my kids.”
Obviously, I use “fun” in the loosest sense.