The story is so much more complicated than I can put into words.
I want to see my dad and I want to see my grandma and my sister.
The rest of them, at this point, can go to hell.
I don't want to spend Easter at this house. It's bad enough because it's the first holiday not at my grandma's and it's a small house and a ton of people and far too many of them are engaged in serious shit right now. I can hardly handle a happy, semi-functional home without breaking into a full-blown-anxiety-attack-complete-with-migraine. This?
Then there are the kids. Her kids. I don't want to hurt feelings, but someone has to stand up for these kids.
And it makes me physically ill to think of being around her. Moreso to think of being around her boyfriend who doesn't understand boundaries. It scares me to be around someone I want to rip into but, when I consider myself, I'm afraid I'll back out of it (ripping into her) at least a little. She's a fantastic actress, so fantastic that even when I know she's bullshitting I feel just a little sorry for her. Like I shouldn't. Like she deserves a 70 times 7th chance.
Y'all, I'm not above giving second or third chances, or even fourth. I've given her more. We all have. When she abandoned her kids out of nowhere to move from California to Oklahoma to be with her boyfriend WITH NO NOTICE, that was it.
I don't know why. She's done so much worse.
I think I'm tired of the rollercoaster. I'm tired of the rhythm of phone calls and conversations: "she's coming home" to "she's in rehab" and "she's doing better, we're talking about her having the kids back by christmas" to little red flags that sound like "my friend from rehab is pregnant again, isn't that awesome?" to "she was late today" and "she didn't show up" to "she quit her job" to "she's dating again." Cue the phone calls saturated with tears and anger and why why why? When she shows back up at their door the kids regress.
My family doesn't mean to put it on my shoulders, but that's what happens. They trigger my loyalty. They trigger everything I've watched since I was 9-years-old. Twenty years, you guys. Years and years of drama. When she was 16 (no, more like 13-14) she took off to Canada to meet a guy she met on the Internet. My dad picked her up in Detroit. Ask my father about how much he loves Detroit.
Her boyfriend basically waterboarded my nephew to make him a "man." She allowed it.
When aforementioned boyfriend was finally deported back to Mexico, she did well for a long time. It's the men that bring her down, her choice in men. She had a job, was clean, was saving for an apartment. Then the cell phone bills became longer and longer with calls received from Mexico...then Los Angeles. She paid a coyote to smuggle him back in and all went to hell again.
Just a little of her history.
But don't worry, y'all. She made sure to smoke meth outside the apartment. For the kids.
My stepmom is unwilling to draw the line. She's her daughter, I get that, that's what I stood up for for so long. But the babies, y'all. The babies. My nephew has PTSD, my niece, fetal-alcohol. She smoke meth too while pregnant with my niece, if not my nephew as well. My nephew hoarded food because he was never fed. He has rage issues. My niece has various developmental disabilities. Thankfully she was too young to remember anything violent. I shiver to think what might have happened to her. I wouldn't put it out of the realm of possibility.
I hear their "mom" got her CNA in Oklahoma. Came home and tried to get a job at a nursing home, but you know those "child neglect" charges among the litany of other charges on your record can be a bitch.
I want to step in. I want to do something. Or not do something. But there's so much drama in the family right now. Then again, I know this cycle and I know this manipulation and I know that when we go everyone will pretend that everything is fine because that's just how we do things even though THIS TIME everyone knows what shit is going down. They can pretend because they can figure it's nobody's business, but everyone knows. Everyone knows.
I can't breathe in that air.
I just don't know how to tell my dad. My stepmom. I'd rather tell my dad, but she tends to cockblock my dad. Not on purpose, necessarily, but involuntarily? She suggests my husband go with my dad when they're helping with our yard and there's a dump run to be made. Girls and boys, girls and boys.
I need my dad.
I think he'd understand. I think he'd be severely disappointed--he's taking the direct brunt of it all. I don't want to hurt him. But I don't hant to be around this girl and I sure as hell don't want my kids in the general vicinity of her boyfriend.
Then there's my sister. They gripe about how she's not going to church or is questioning god. They gripe because she tried (and smokes) pot and is, you know, 17-years-old. She's fucked up once--community service. She has some scary ideas that are beyond me regarding her logic ("I want a baby!"). She needs a place to escape. She hasn't been here since December because I can't do it right now and I feel so terrible about it. Maybe next week.
I don't want to be a wuss and go. I don't want to overreact and not go, and hurt my dad my sister and my grandma. I want to make a statement, to ask a question: why do you keep allowing her back into those kids' lives? I can't stand by anymore.
Is that my place?
Where do you draw the line?