Christmas #1

With the Riekens.

I didn’t get many pics, because we were just hanging out and chatting all night. It was a good time. The kids had a blast, and are already begging for us to set up the next get-together.

And now we head home to get ready for Christmas #2 with my family.

mama drama

My mom is begging me to come to her house for Thanksgiving this year, and I don’t know how to tell her no. There are a bunch of completely valid reasons why I cannot and will not go to her house for Thanksgiving. I hate knowing it’s going to hurt her feelings. I’ve invited her to my house the last few years, but she’s adamant it be at her place. I have even offered to do all the driving, since she keeps telling me she doesn’t have a car.

A brief list of the reasons why I’m not going:

  • My understanding is that her current boyfriend is manipulative and abusive. She lives with him. He has taken over our conversations before when I call and tries to manipulate me into doing what he wants/doesn’t let her talk, etc. Fuck that. I’m not supporting that situation by going to his house and pretending like I actually like and/or approve of this relationship. Nope.
  • His house is absolutely awful, like derelict, and maybe should be condemned.
  • It’s in the middle of nowhere about two hours from my house.
  • I’d have to board my dog on fucking Thanksgiving because I can’t take him with us.
  • D and I don’t have our kids on Thanksgiving this year, so we’re planning to hang just us two and do our thing. We want to be chill. Nothing about going to my mom’s will be chill.

To be honest, we are just not that close and it feels like a big ask. I know it probably isn’t, but it feels like it to me, and I just don’t want to waste anymore of my time pretending like we are a big happy family when we just aren’t.

Low

I was 19-years-old and working the night shift at a TGIFriday’s. By day, I worked doing data entry at a data storage facility. I didn’t have a car, so I had to bum rides to get to and from work. Usually my step-dad picked me up after a night shift, which I always dreaded. The car rides were long and silent. We had nothing in common. Nothing to say to each other; not that either of us were particularly talkative to begin with. We loved each other in a begrudging, obligatory type of way, but we typically tried to stay out of each other’s way whenever possible.

This particular night at work had been terrible. My customers were all a bunch of assholes who tipped like shit, which was partially on them, but somewhat on me because I was a terrible waitress if I’m being honest. I sat outside of the restaurant, and when my step-dad pulled up, I got in the car, bracing myself for the awkward, silent, fifteen minute ride home.

I slid into the passenger seat and we exchanged obligatory greetings, which sounded more like grunts. He reached over and turned up the radio. I turned to stare out the window, imagining I was somewhere (anywhere) else, which was my ultimate goal, and the reason I had dropped out of college to work two jobs.

Low by Cracker came on the stereo. I started to do a subtle dance in my seat. I continued to stare out the window and started to hum along with the song. The chorus started, and I suddenly heard my step-dad start singing, “To be with you, girl, like being low. Hey, hey, hey, like being stoned.” This was something so completely out of character for him, that I should have been shocked into silence. Instead, I started singing along. And we sang the song together until it ended.

We finished the drive in silence. I jumped out of the car the second we came to a stop and said, “Thanks for the ride.” I immediately locked myself in my bedroom and cried for the normal relationship with a father that I had just glimpsed, but would never actually have.

Regardless, it is the best memory I have of my step-father.

Fast forward thirteen years. I’d barely seen or spoken to him during that time. Just a month after the incident described above, we had a huge falling out that ended with his arrest. I left home and never looked back. In March 2012, my family called and said, “He’s dying. If you want to see him then you should come now.” I was conflicted. I didn’t want to go. There was a deep seated hatred in the core of my being that I didn’t know what to do with. I didn’t know that I wanted to rush to his death bed. I didn’t know that he deserved my forgiveness. But then I remembered the time we sang Low together in the car. And it was the powerful force of that memory that pushed me to do what I did next: rush to his side, grasp his hand and say, “I love you.” To which he replied, “I love you, too.”

And that was the last time I ever spoke to him. He died the next day.

 

*family*

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It has been a very good weekend. In fact, this living together thing is going way more smoothly than I imagined it would.

The kids keep referring to us as a “normal” family. This makes me both happy and sad. Sad only because the┬ádivorces (though years ago) were hard on them. I’m glad we’ve been able to give them our version of a “normal” family.

I am very happy, and I think they are too. I love them so much.

xoxo

 

quick trip to the capitol

Today we went to visit my mom. She lives in Jefferson City, which is about 2 hours away from Saint Louis. Jackson had never been before. As we were crossing the bridge into town, I said, “Hey, look it’s the Capitol building.” He didn’t know what I was talking about, so I explained to him that Jefferson City is the Missouri state capitol. He goes, “Oh so does that mean Saint Louis is just a lower case city?” I died laughing.

Anyway, we had a lovely time. Now we are home and I am exhausted.

the way things are

I’ve posted the lyrics to this song before, but, unfortunately, it once again feels very appropriate.

There is nothing that competes with habit
And I know it’s neither deep nor tragic
But simply that you have to have it

So you can make a killing
So you can make a killing
So you can make a killing

I wish I was both young and stupid
Then I too could have the fun that you did
Till it was time to pony up what you bid

So you can make a killing
So you can make a killing
So you can make a killing

I could follow you and search the rubble
Or stay right here and save myself some trouble
I try to keep myself from seeing double

Or I could make a killing
Or I could make a killing
Or I could make a killing

a brutal truth

So far today, I have received several phone calls and texts to inform me that my youngest sister just (as in today) had her two oldest kids taken away by the state. Her youngest was taken away months ago, as a newborn, because he was born addicted to methadone. Honestly, I’ve been wondering what was taking so long for them to pick up the other two.

My sister is a heroin addict. To say she neglects her children would be an understatement. In fact, I’m worried that the middle kid has no hope of redemption. She may have ruined him already, and he’s only like four years old.

The truth is that I’m glad her kids got taken away. The baby will end up being adopted by a good family. The older two will get to go live with their dad. He may not be a model father, but at least he’s not a fucking junkie. I hope they all manage to escape the cycle of poverty, abuse, and neglect in which they are currently trapped. It can be done, but I know from experience that it isn’t easy, and unfortunately isn’t likely.

My sister keeps trying to contact me about this, despite the fact that I have already told her I refuse to help her get the kids back. I now have her blocked on Facebook and blocked her number on my iPhone. I only ever hear from her when she wants money and/or free legal services.

*sigh*

I just want to be left alone. I want to be left with the family I created for myself. My “blood” causes nothing but drama and heartbreak.