I seem to be one of those people that people air their dirty laundry to…. though I’m not sure why. When I’m not actively making my face respond to situations, I look pissed off. It’s not because I am, I just have one of those faces that borderlines on anger and indifference when its not moving.
I also get loud when I’m frustrated. I’m pretty much all bark, but have been seen as pretty intimidating in these situations in the past and I only barely joke about having to reign in the inner Ginger-headed Banshee that was my mother. My temper is a slow burn, but much like lava or napalm when it erupts.
So why do people tend to tell me shit they won’t tell anyone else?
I had a friend call me this past Friday asking if I could keep their kid for the night and a good chunk of the next day. We’re friends because our kids are friends and I tend to keep it limited to that extent. Yet, they still tell me their entire life history and I give my honest take on it.
Their vice of the past was heroin and they have been through a very long and hard road of picking up the pieces of their lives ever since conquering it and continuing to conquer ever since. Most of the people they tell this to tend to see them as a ticking time bomb about to succumb to their addiction any minute. I see a parent who is fighting everyday to not be sucked back into that because those who know, only see the addict and that’s hard when you have to move around people who expect you to fail. I could not be more in awe of their determination. How sad is it we, as a society, like to punish those who try to get their shit straight?
However, due to the fact that more lucrative jobs are off-limits to those who have any smudge of drugs on their records, they work a few different minimum wage jobs and, with their parents’ help, have been trying to save to get their feet back on solid ground.
Their kid is a year younger than mine and he gets along with my kid because they are both little old people in kid’s bodies. They see more and perceive more than most. They are both very smart and are considered “weird” by their peers when in reality, there is just a lot of wisdom there. I suspect he’s seen some of his parent’s worst moments and he has internalized it a lot. He tends to be a kid who used to hang with just girls, only because he would rather comb doll hair and dress them up than play outside rough-housing. My kid has been pivotal in introducing him to the addictive world of video games and gadgetry.
His parent was at first concerned because he wanted Monster High dolls. I said I didn’t see the problem. One of my male cousins had a babydoll when he was a child and he’s a really great dad today. I was more into Tonka trucks and pill bugs personally, dolls were merely a source of experimentation for my future endeavors in hair color. I just didn’t feel kids needed to be limited to a certain spectrum of toys because of ignorant perceptions of gender and on a rare moment, I was thankful to Grand for feeling the same way.
With his perception, he is also aware of his parent’s past and their struggle. He also perceives their immense amount of guilt and self-blame. Which, although this seems to be lessening, that guilt was a hot button for their son to use to get any damn thing he wanted. And use it he did, at every opportunity. In his own way, he was A. trying to fill a hole that was an emotional one with things (much like Grand always did) and/or B. Its his way of punishing his parent for past behavior.
Even Spawn remarked about how he could sometimes be frustrating in the way that he would be obsessed about something for a very short period of time, barely do the activity for a even a few minutes, then immediately toss it aside and declare his boredom, awaiting those external to him to entertain him. I can see that kind of behavior when you’re three, but an only child much older than that? No. Spawn said most of the time he wanted to know something but would barely listen to the response until he absolutely had to, as in it was inhibiting his current action.
Like I said, that is lessening and he is getting better, probably due to Spawn’s short fuse in dealing with asinine behavior or maybe his parent has realized the manipulation and has started to pull rank and say “no” more often. I would daresay this was the only part of his behavior I found annoying, but otherwise, he’s a brilliant kid and generally a good conversationalist.
This weekend though, his parent had a much bigger issue to contend with. Their mom (kid’s grandmother) is the main source of the family income, has a good government job they have been in for ages, which of course means great benefits as well. Their dad is one of those who is used to running his family with a firm hand and a loud word, what he says goes and he is never wrong. That kind of guy, very old school. The mom is more of the understated, subservient type who generally just doesn’t like confrontation at all.
Mom has been drinking… at first a little at home after work, now to the point where she is like this at work and its escalating to the point where my friend had to go get her mom from work, talk to her boss and then research how to forcibly put their own mom into rehab, whether or not they got any help from their dad in doing so. Their dad fears his wife losing his job more than the possibly she might lose her life and/or take her grandson and child with her (since she drinks and then goes on with her day as usual… in a car).
My friend has not told their son about any of this. I can understand not wanting him present for it, but not talking to him about it when I’m pretty sure he already knows something is up, to me, is a bad idea. I gave Spawn a condensed version of what was going on and why their friend would be staying overnight with us. Although Spawn knew their friend needed us, neither of us was happy about having our weekend of absofuckinglutely nothing but random bullshit interrupted. We’re weird hermits like that.
I also felt pangs of guilt for my domestic skills being as nubile and engaged as King Tut’s dick. Spawn did a speed Sweep & Cover (roundup lose shit, cover remaining with towel/bathmat/blanket/whatev) and moved past it. I suddenly missed the days when my mom would come over and just randomly start washing my dishes… something about it made all the rest seem so attainable, I could dive right in to organizing other stuff.
It went pretty well. I spent a lot of it paranoid and guilty but that didn’t stop me from being pretty damn slack. Spawn cobbled together a couple meals too and we had a pretty decent time of it. He went through sensory overload from the sheer volume of games we had for him to dive into, but he paced himself much better than I had previously been hearing. I like to think of it as a sign of improvement.
Spawn has more than once told me he is scared of me. One of the kids apparently knocked my wireless mouse to depths unknown and I made them both look for it until it was found. I was mad, but I find it irritating when people touch my shit but can’t be bothered to put it like they found it. I guess my face, being what it is, didn’t help lessen the fear.
It kind of explained things too when he was the first to get up and was not-so-subtly trying to hide in Spawn’s room until Spawn woke up. I herded him out and put him on a game he liked. I also pointed him to the various unhealthy options we had that passed itself off as breakfast food.
I think my irritation set in pretty good the next day came and by 8pm, I’ve heard nothing from his parent. Again, I like the kid and I tend to let people find their own flow in my domain… but it was still an intruder on my domain and it was long past the expiration I had been told (early afternoon, to be exact). Very few people can move uninhibited in my domain and so far that I’ve seen, its been pretty much Spawn, one prior roommate, and my best friend/Spawn’s godparent. After a while, even my ex-spouse just needed to get the fuck away from me for a bit.
By the time I got a call, my friend was visiting to a rehab facility near the border of the next state and they asked if I could take them to their parent’s place. I asked if there was anyone coherent there and found out the dad was and he didn’t know I knew the reason for the sudden stayover.
Yay! I don’t have to hear bullshit justifying or explaining.
I dropped him off with instructions to call me if his parent wasn’t there and he needed something. I’m sure he got the subtext.
I also tried very hard not to fly mach 1 out of the driveway to go home.
Then Spawn turns to me and says “I’m hungry.”
me:”Hungry? why didn’t you say anything sooner?”
me:”Do you think he was hungry too?”
me:”Damnit, why the hell didn’t he say anything?”
Spawn:”If it were me, I wouldn’t have either.”
me:”Then why the hell didn’t you say anything on his behalf?”
Spawn:”Stop cussing. I don’t know, I didn’t really think about it.”
So we grabbed pizza.
And then I sent a message to his parent asking if they were swinging by to vent on the way back home. My friend had intended to and I was planning on sending some pizza with them if they did. It was a long drive for them after everything that had happened, so they ended up not coming. I still felt guilty for dropping off a child with even a partially belly empty, so I apologized to them for that. Of course they were like “huh? they’re fine.”
In fact, out of all the shit that went on, this is the only thing that still concerns me and I know its ridiculous. I’m not even bothered as much by being feared than by possibly leaving a kid hungry. They have so much more shit to contend with, so basically, I guess I’m just fucking ridiculous. I suppose that was the one part of the ordeal that I had any control over and I screwed it up. Meh, maybe I will go mop something to pay penance.
I want a do-over on my fucking weekend too.