Sunday Soup

I make soup stew or enchaladas every Sunday.  We have food.  We have warmth and loving grandchildren, we have friends and family.  Thank you O, for being a special buddy.  Our hikes are quiet and lovely.  You appreciate stopping for banana slugs, tadpoles and poop with fur, feathers or apple chunks.  I really like you. Grandpa and I also have one another.  Thanks for all of this.

Ellie puts a little plastic kitty in each of 8 colored cups on the play table (used to be our coffee table) and walks along the row she’s made, “kitty, kitty, kitty, chicken”  That’s when I notice that the last one has a hen poking from the top.  She picks it up and gives it a kiss.  You are building a block structure with a parakeet from the animal set inside the cardboard fairy house.  “This is a cozy house for you” you say.  “Its warm and dry.  You have a new bed.  Good night, birdy”, and you sing a song very quietly.  Things are pretty okay with you two. Except when the public health nurse shows up to check on us.

The other day your mommy listened to a team of well-meaning people about children’s diets, eating habits and cleanliness. Then she came over and told you to stop putting your finger in your nose because of germs and lectured you on how people get sick.  You’d have thought you had brought a dead maggoty carcass in the living room or something when you put your hand in your pants to check things out down there.  My goodness, Mommy.  Then she told me not to feed you between meals and throw out your food and you get nothing else if you don’t eat it in one sitting. And furthermore, you whined that you forgot when you got up for a minute and left your oatmeal on the table, crying that you were sorry and came back to shove it into your mouth hurriedly.  No, Mommy no.  Please let’s slow down here.  Kids that are 1 and nearly 4 just eat a bit here and there some days and eat lots others.  Let me manage this.  Let them. I know you have no instinct to rely on, no way of processing all this new information, but it is hard on everyone the yo-yo ing rules….neglect then too much attention to the details, then ignoring again when you are tired.  I know your Mommy wants to fix everything.  I know that.

Your birthday is Saturday, buddy.  Let’s have fun.  We’ll have some cake, and candles.  And I know that’s all you need.  But we want to give you a few presents, too. Maybe we’ll go to a pizza place.  Maybe we’ll sing.  You will be four.  Funny when you count you always skip four.  Maybe now you’ll remember it.  We sure love you.  gma

kitty, kitty, kitty, chicken

Hiding out.  What’s going on?  Little children, diapers, baths, food, more food, laundry, more food, dishes, chasing after a toddler, entertaining a preschooler, coddling mom and debriefing daddy. Filling out paperwork for a legal process to obtain guardianship, meeting with attorneys, sub-contractors for tile, flooring, insulation, plumbing and making turkey enchaladas.  Not a minute. Getting up at 5:15, checking a fever, putting covers back on chilly babies, changing diapers, pulling off pee-pee jammies. Asking parents to consider signing papers.  Managing anger, deceit, big feelings, plans to return to Montana, accusations, sadness and realities.

And discovering a mean-spirited place within when exhausted.  Liza is not mommy.  Mantra. Find a nanny. Sharing living space in a tiny cottage takes its toll.  Maybe family child care.  Maybe Mommy will find her way to TANF,  please.  Life will change on Wednesday after hearing.  Can’t really say what will happen.  But whatever happens, nothing same as before.  Daddy says he needs the help. We know that.  Mommy struggles and we all try to help her.  And it’s just damn cold in the tent.  No doubt about it.  Working overtime, and loving you and sissy gma

Carry the Weight of It All

Hey, buddy.  Turn off your light.  Its late.  Good night.  New slippies, jammies, clean hair, sister breathes softly in her little crib next to your bed. Dragons on the edges of the canyons, coyotes with sharp teeth, bunnies and lizards stay hidden, you do too.  Your dreams are scary.  So are mine.  This is a hard time for all of us.  Mommy’s upset, social workers come each week, daddy is gone, lost and removed.  Grandpa and I do not let your mommy take you away.  We won’t let that happen.  She lies to us.  Sneaks.  She’s not not honest.  Not on our team. When you are not proud you cannot hide from yourself. You are still there. So you work to change. Hard hard work. We need help from others. Mommy’s scared.  And she’s desperate.

But tonight she finally got to me.  She finally did me in. Wiped- I am done.  Flat, deflated, run over.  Sick with it.  Your mommy left her journal with me.  Your mommy is mean and clever and rotten.  And I can’t believe I fell for it. I looked at the food log to see what she said I fed you.  But what I got was a journal she wrote.  An unappreciative set of nasty words about me.  I didn’t need this.  I’m just to done in for this right now.  Done in. (although she was venting, spitting mad and had to put that someplace)

Our nights begin at 9 thirty or ten.  Bed and deep sleep as soon as the head hits the pillow.  Beagle dog (old, can’t hear, pees every few hours) awakens me at 12:57 (sometimes its 12:32 or 12:46) for an out in the yard pee.  I lean on the door jamb and wait.  He usually returns, except does not return when Grandpa forgets to close the gate, then I wait and wait and finally return to bed but get up again to his scratching at 1:30 am.  Then I struggle back to sleep.  Awakening at 2:37 for Liza coughing and uncovered.  Cover her and listen for dog again.  He’s snorfing around his weanie and I throw a pillow. Sleep until 3:35 when beagle awakens snorting and coughing so loudly that I have to tip over the laundry basket that he sleeps in and send him to the livingroom.  Ah, sleep again.   But the living room door has to stay open or he’ll scratch it until I get up to let him in. He’ll wake up Liza. Or you. Out there Gpa’s computer glows.  Liza hums, pulls to a stand to see the light out in the other room.  I crawl on my creaky knees to the door and push it until I am flat.  Its closed, no light.  Georgia sleeps on the bed, but gets up when I do, follows me to the door, thinks I am playing.  Whines, oofs, dances her tapping claws on the wooden floor.  Liza talks to Georgia.  I pull the poor dog upward, yanking her to the bed and push her flat.  “Shut the f… up.” I groan. Liza calls to me.  I slip back to bed, freeze there and pray for her to be bored in the dark and sleep again.  I doze.  Then gpa’s awake, reading with a small flashlight.  It’s 4: 25. Gawd.  I remember I am pissed because he left the gate open.  I lost some sleep because of him. I am still losing sleep. He reaches tenderly and I stiffen, rejecting the sweet greeting.  Grandpa couldn’t know that I am pissed. Sissy awakens again.  Georgia knows, because I kick at her with exhausted spazzy feet.  Metro sneezes and Liza stands again.  I see her blond hair glowing in a ray of light.  “Turn off the light.” I growl.  Gpa does.  Georgia moans, Ellie drops back into her crib and I roll over.  When she awakens at 5:20, I scoop her up really fast.  I want you to sleep until 6:30. Its a school day. I kick the dog for his boisterous and vocal stretch and go make coffee. I kiss Liza softly on the head. It seems like the right thing to do.  Every night is like this.  Every fucking night.

So buddy, when will it end?  When? Complainer gma