My nephew regularly shows up at my parents’ house with weird rashes and burns and scrapes. He’s four. A lot of times, this shit just happens. Hell, I have a big bruise on my arm right now and I don’t know where it came from. I’m just an easily bruised person.
But when he comes into my dad’s room late at night and pats my dad’s arm and says, “It’s okay, Grandpa, sometimes mommies don’t come home.” it makes me want to drive over to North Carolina and run my sister-in-law over.
I don’t, because all I have are my suspicions and a four year old nephew who doesn’t think there’s anything weird about the way that he lives and who has no interest in explaining where every strange bump and scrape on his body came from.
If you’ve known me longer than five minutes, though, you know that I’m terrified for him.
What do I want for him more than anything? I want him to live until August. I want him to get enrolled in kindergarten, because the law says he has to be, and I want him to go to a public school, because that’s all his mom can afford to send him to, and I want him to be so cute and charming to a tax-payer funded teacher that when he starts showing up late or not at all, because his mom can’t be bothered, I want a Department of Family Services to swoop in there and rescue him.
I can’t do this. I have a job and just one car. I don’t have unlimited wealth to hire a private detective to follow him around and make sure he’s okay. No one in my family has enough money to quit their jobs and move to North Carolina to keep their eye on things and intervene if need be.
Plus, she moved to North Carolina, in part, to keep my family out of her hair.
I need for there to be someone with the weight of the government behind him or her who can force her to do right by my nephew.
He deserves that, even if we aren’t rich enough to provide it for him.