Tomorrow I leave to drive across three states to hopefully testify to a judge against my dad.
I don’t want to go. I don’t want to leave my baby and my family and my home. I don’t want to drive all afternoon by myself. I don’t want to see my dad.
I’m going to document this and turn it into a piece that speaks about the level of shit that women my age are commonly dealing with. I know I’m not alone. It’s not unusual for middle-aged women to be caring for young children and aging parents at the same time, often mostly alone.
But it doesn’t get talked about much. We are essential to society, reaching forward and backward in the generational chain to support, to nurture, to connect. But it’s just what is expected of us. Occasionally someone will say something like, “I don’t know how you do it,” or “your patience is amazing.” You do what needs done. And a good portion of the time I feel less than patient.
This is why I don’t want to hear about your “fur babies.” Part of me is jealous, I admit it, of how childless adults seem to get to do basically whatever the hell they want. But consequently, many of them seem to never quite grow up. They don’t understand why I would put myself in a position where my hopes, dreams and goals take a back seat to potty training.
Sometimes I don’t even understand it myself.
I want to meet my grandchildren. I want to work through some of my parents’ mistakes (nothing is quite so cathartic as finding yourself on the other side of a situation that made you miserable growing up and doing it differently!) But mostly I want to contribute a few people to the future who don’t suck. Put a few decent folk into the world to help balance out all the assholes.
And why am I dealing with my parents? It’s not because I feel some debt to them for having raised me, I don’t believe that’s how the parent-child relationship works. You don’t bring a being into existence to enslave it. It’s because if I don’t, no one will. They are mine, bane or boon, and I feel a sense of responsibility to help them if I can whether I like it or not. Or to at least help clean up the mess they made, in myself and in the world.
Tomorrow morning as I prepare for my roadtrip, my mom is going into open heart surgery to install a pump so she doesn’t die. She was given six months over 20 years ago so, really, things are going pretty well. I’ll be going up there next month to take care of her for a couple weeks while she recovers. I’ll be taking the little guy with me that time.
But not this time. He will be staying safely out of the jurisdiction of the crazy people running the Child Services up there. The county has always been wicked corrupt, and apparently now they’re #3 nationwide for human trafficking. Not a good look on a growing Midwestern city.
I think I’m all packed but tomorrow morning I will come across 10 things I forgot. I’m driving up to stay with Angie, a distant cousin who feels more like a sister. She has been involved in the case since the beginning.
I will also be seeing at least one of my blood sisters. Quinn is 31, we grew up together and are at a loss about what to do to help Rhiannon, our youngest sister from our father’s second marriage.
She was abandoned by her mother as an infant and left to the whims of the old man. We all knew that wasn’t an ideal arrangement but no one had any idea just how bad it was going to get.