How Can I Say I Miss You When I Can’t Get You to Leave?

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.

It’s nice. 

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.


8 thoughts on “How Can I Say I Miss You When I Can’t Get You to Leave?

  1. There, there.A video tape of the crack whore-in-law’s misdeeds would go a long way towards convincing a judge of her lack of parental fitness. Too bad the local television station doesn’t train people in video shooting techniques.The other option involves buying crack cocaine and rat poison. But that sort of thing shouldn’t be discussed in an unsecure domain.

  2. Sarcastro, you’re evil but I like your style.What’s the dynamic between whack-job mom and your brother? Why is she interested in the slightest in custody when it sounds like her baser instincts would be better served w/o the encumbrance of a kid? Is this the way she can keep your brother in her loop? Does she use the kid to get money from various relatives? Does she have hopes that she’s going to be a "good momma" and that will make her a worthwhile person (despite all evidence to the contrary)?In my family’s similar circumstance, my former sister-in-law went off the rails in a pretty big way (alcohol, not crack, and middle-age crisis of promiscuity) with my nephews in tow. She liked the freedom that came with leaving (and she wasn’t interested in getting back together with my brother) but couldn’t totally give up the kids because that’s what motivated my brother’s further interest and financing of her sorry act. She could also get money from my parents claiming that it was for shoes for the kids; they wised up pretty fast on that, though. I think she also liked the fantasy of "playing mom" every once in a while — kept her from conceiving herself solely as an aging desperate drunken hosebag. My brother was far far too slow to pursue divorce because (like all men in that situation), he was afraid he was going to get taken to the cleaners and perhaps lose custody permanently. Besides, his marriage was over; it galled him to have to pay to have a judge restate the obvious. It seemed better to him to keep his estranged wife on his health insurance (she was working at a bar and had none) and to pay for everything concerning the kids and to put up with the heartbreak of the revolving door life rather than to just get it over with. As it turned out, he eventually had to do that anyhow and it only got more expensive for the delay.If you know her motivation, you might be able to start using that to manipulate the situation a bit.

  3. I think a couple of things motivate her. I think she likes the attention he gets and likes to feel like she’s somehow a part of it, because she’s his mom. He’s so cute and charming and personable and people want to be around him.I know, for instance, that the only reason her family is having anything to do with her at the moment is because they want to regularly see him and make sure that he’s okay.The only reason my parents ever still talk to her is to keep tabs on him.Without him, no one’s got any compelling reason to continue to put up with her.And, a little bit, I suspect that she thinks he proves that she’s well. If she has him and can be recognized by others as being a "mother" or even a "good mother" because he’s so delightful, then she must not really be mentally ill and hence doesn’t have to continue to go to the shrink or to take her meds.Of course, she’s still medicating, but in her own way.

  4. Is your brother actually divorced from her? Legally separated? Is there a written custody agreement to enforce or amend? I’m assuming not.Divorce in GA is a pretty straight-forward thing, most of them proceeding on no-fault grounds. It’s an equitable distribution state, meaning that the marital estate is divided "fairly" (not equally). If Crack Mama has no job and did not contribute much to the partnership while it lasted, she won’t get much of a payout. Likewise, alimony for what amounts to a short marriage and a long separation probably won’t be punitive. It’s going to be an economic hit, but it just gets more costly as time goes on so I’d counsel getting it over with if he hasn’t already done so.In GA, custody is mediated in the case of hostile parties or the parents can come up with a plan on their own. If it goes to a judge, the judge decides based on a bunch of stuff, including the age and sex of the kids, who has been the primary caregiver in the past, and what relationship the kids have with each parent. Obviously, this is the time to break out the evidence of abuse, neglect, and mental instability, as well as the patchwork custodial arrangements that have eroded the kids’ stability. Your brother’s legal record won’t help, but as he’s been keeping his nose clean recently as far as the police know, that might be perceived as the lesser of the two evils. Custody agreements (however they are reached, either by consent or by decree) are then enforceable on both parties. Divorce sucks, but in these cases, it does help to provide leverage to protect kids from screwed-up parents.

  5. But back to what you were actually saying in the post. In certain situations (this being a good instance), people are afraid of doing the wrong thing and thus do nothing. Your dad has been a minister long enough to know how domestic situations have a nasty habit of swinging back to clobber the third-party intervenor. He risks alienating either his son or grandson, since the kid will not thank him if mommy goes away permanently. Your parents also might be trying to let their kids figure it out for themselves. It sucks, but at a certain point, you do have to step back and let the kids flail around even if you could in theory step in and save them from their own lunacy. They know that at some point, they will be dead and your generation will need to know how to be the adults. Of course, all the kids need to shoulder their respective responsibilities, which isn’t happening.

  6. They aren’t divorced or even legally separated. Her boyfriend is supposedly going to pay for her end of a divorce. I guess we’ll see.It’s just stupid, the whole thing. And it makes me sad and upset.

  7. I won’t comment on the family misery. I’m fortunate(?) to have one of those completely "normal" white-bread churchgoing families where everything is peachy all the sing-song day. All except I’m a faggot. But every peach has its bruises… wait, was that a "fruit" joke too?Anyway, I wanted you to know two things: (1.) I finally figured out RSS enough to add you to my mail reader, and I now get your blog through Thunderbird, yee-haw.(2.) You asked "…is there anything cuter than watching great big daddies… blah, blah, blah." No, there is nothing cuter than watching great big daddies. Bring on the bear parade.

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