In all the hubbub, I completely forgot to say–The Butcher and his wife are having a baby and they found out on Tuesday that it’s a boy. I’ve kind of had the convention of giving living things nicknames for the blog, plausible deniability if they’re ever embarrassed by what gets said here, and then switching over to real names after they’re dead–which is how/why the tiny cat became Stella and Mrs. Wigglebottom became Sadie.

But this little guy, just 8 oz. at this point (or maybe he’s gained an ounce since Tuesday! Who can say? Well, probably not a whole ounce.), isn’t born yet. And I don’t yet have a nickname for him. So, just this once, I will modify my rule and tell you that his name will be Delano Phillips. They’re still settling on a middle name. At first, it was going to be Joseph but now they’re leaning toward James. He might be Del for short or DJ or, who knows? We’ll see him and we’ll all instantly decide to call him Turtle. We don’t know.

I am over the moon. I like the Butcher’s wife and my step-niece and nephew. I’m delighted to see him making a good life for himself. I’m enjoying having the house to myself and I love when they all come over and fill it up.

Let me tell you a secret thing. I feel such a sense of deep accomplishment about this. It’s a long story and it’s ugly and sad, but the short version is that something bad happened between my brothers or among them, maybe. And it had ongoing repercussions. Our brother moved to Georgia. Then he vanished.

One day, he reappeared, on my doorstep. I hope you sense the long, unspoken terribleness between those two sentences. He had a girl with him. Their friends, they said, were trying to kill them. I gave them a half a loaf of bread, some Mt. Dew, and all my cash. I sent them to my parents.

Due to the previous badness, both brothers couldn’t reside in the same spot. If the newly resurrected brother was going to my parents, the Butcher had to go somewhere else. I told them to send him to me.

And I wanted, more than anything, to keep us from getting sucked back into that terribleness. I wanted us to find ways to have good lives, with the past in the past. In some ways, I just wanted to out-wait my family’s misfortune (in the loaded sense of the word).

I wanted to save us. And maybe that’s a terrible, co-dependent thing and maybe it was too much to take on and maybe a million things. But there was a badness I wanted to steer clear from and I wanted to drag the Butcher out of it. And we did it.

I did it.

There he is, starting his happy life. And, yes, it will be tough and they’ll have challenges and…yeah…but it’s his life to go lead. And the fact that he can do that makes me so deeply satisfied.

I had a long-term goal to make a better life for me and the Butcher while my parents and my other brother did whatever the fuck that was. And I did it.

It worked.