Sometimes, when I’m sitting quietly on my couch crocheting and watching West Wing, my mind wanders a bit and I end up rethinking things I haven’t thought in a while. This morning, it was this: wouldn’t it be great if there was some outward sign that a person was poison or evil or generally not worth the skin they’re printed on?
I’m having a difficult week. So are the kids, but we’re all attempting to keep that to ourselves and put on a happy face.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: the kids’ mother (we say “egg donor”) is a piece of work. Most of the time, I just say “well, this is how addicts behave,” or “she is stuck at age 13–you’re older now than she ever will be,” or “I’m so sorry that you have to deal with any of this, but please try to remember that none of it is your fault, no matter what she says.” Or this: “You’re a kid. It’s her responsibility to do things to take care of YOU and to seek out YOUR company–not the other way around.”
This week, things have gotten a bit harder, and a few of my abstract worries about their future have solidly entered the realm of possibility. I’ve always been very angry at The Egg Donor over her treatment of the kids, but in all that time, I have never wished her dead. There are a couple reasons why:
1) Dead people are often given near-sainthood by those who knew them. If she becomes the saint, then the kids will end up taking all (or part) of the blame on themselves. This is unacceptable to me. They do the best they can with the family they were born into, and I want them to find happiness as adults, not to always be carrying around doubt about who they are and what they did or didn’t do.
2) If she lives long enough that they all cruise happily into adulthood and a little bit of wisdom, they’ll stop expecting her to do or be anything in their lives. They’ll stop looking at their relationship with her as something that they can fix; indeed, she won’t even make the list of people that they need (or miss) in their lives. I know this to be the case, because I’ve lived it. I don’t miss my dad or my relationship with him. I never had it, I never lost it, it was never a possibility for him and so it wasn’t even a rejection that I had to get over. There was nothing there to lose. I want them to have time to come to the same conclusion.
But this week, she’s had some scary health problems, and I’ve been holding my breath. As I type this, she’s sitting in a hospital in the city, waiting to be well enough to live through another pacemaker insertion. This will be her third this year, but now her treatment has been postponed by sepsis that was presumably caused by institutional MRSA. While it’s difficult for me to feel at all sorry for her (since I have no doubt that her initial problems were horribly exacerbated by her drinking and using), as I said before, I fear for the emotional well being of the kids. I want her to live through this so that they never have to endure the psychological consequences of this particular time, when she’s sitting in a hospital alone (but for her mother) and all her proverbial chickens are coming home to roost.
They don’t answer her calls. They avoid her texts. The reason is the same as it always is in their interactions with her: they don’t want to deal with the drama or with the guilt she tries to throw their way. She pisses them off because she’s never there for them (she doesn’t even buy them birthday or Christmas gifts), and when she finally decides she has five minutes for them, it always ends abruptly with a visit from the police in the wee hours of the morning, and us driving 30 miles down the road in the middle of the night to fetch them home. Nevertheless, they’ll carry the guilt of not talking to her with them for the rest of their lives if she doesn’t make it.
The other thing I hate about this particular moment (and would also hate if she died) is the extent to which outsiders are being brought in and sold a bill of goods about our lives. Maybe it’s easy to buy the bullshit she’s selling. Maybe she’s cute and little and wounded beyond belief, and folks just want to feel sorry for her. Honestly, I don’t think she could survive without that attention, without people focusing all their feels in her direction. But maybe if they stopped for a while with all their (solicited) well wishes and prayers for a well-deserved divine healing, she’d have to earn the attention of the three people she brought into this world by actually being worth a damn.
I know, I know. I know. She could never do that. She’s not capable of doing that. If she was, she would’ve done it years ago when the kids were little and actually needed her, when people were watching and openly judging her to be a piece of shit. Certainly, she wouldn’t do it now, when she’s the neglected and apparently shit-upon mother of three ungrateful children whose loyalty primarily lies with their ever-reliable father and an interloper like me.
So yeah. I wish people could see her for who she is. But more than that, I wish they wouldn’t participate in any of this. It makes the kids feel like they aren’t doing the right thing by steering clear. And it makes me feel like standing in front of all of them with my sword and shield, and telling the world–very sternly–to fuck off.