No, I’m not really back.
At least, not in the blogging world (which there is very little left of, at least, from my blogging friends).
But my blog is still here. My one-time sounding board, which I used as a sort of self-therapy to sort out my thoughts during a transitional phase of my life. Which I pretty much closed up shop on a little over a year ago. I said back then that I was pretty much done here.
But I never said that I would never, ever, post anything here again. At least, not if the need or desire was there.
Well, today I need to. Because my heart is breaking. And this is not the kind of thing I can just put out on Facebook due to a multitude of reasons, most of you (who actually read this) will understand. So I’m going to use the one medium that’s still available to me.
But first, a bit of history since I was last here.
Last year was a bit of a challenging year for us, but not totally negative. Yes Dear lost both her parents, about five months apart. She slipped on ice and broke her leg the beginning of last year (which we didn’t find out for a WEEK, due to the incompetence of the piddly-squat ER department that checked her out). It was the same leg she had her knee replacement on. Fortunately the knee replacement itself wasn’t damaged, but she had to have more hardware put in her leg to stabilize the femur that broke, which meant another surgery and long recuperation time. In the middle of all this we had to move to another house, which is a little better location, but less room, so there is a lot of clutter as we tried to shoehorn what we could into it. Yes Dear briefly had gotten a job, only to lose it when she realized she couldn’t stand or bend for long periods of time. She’s been diagnosed as a full-blown diabetic (though not insulin-dependent and controllable with medication and diet). So it’s been really difficult for her to keep a good frame of mind.
But there have been good times too. We finally got out from under a crushing IRS debt that had been haunting us for the past four years. We managed to take a family vacation to see my mother and aunt in Ohio and West Virginia. We got a newer, more reliable vehicle (minivan) to get around in by
retiring trading in my venerable Pontiac for considerably more than we thought it was worth. AJ has started kindergarten and is currently a happy, funny, loving six-year-old boy who loves to get on my laptop and watch Youtube videos (supervised of course) of toys, cars, and trains.
And Yes Dear & I finally got serious about taking classes and enrolled in online universities. I’m currently attending here, and she is going there. Our goal is to get bachelor’s degrees in two years (mine in accounting, hers in business) and find a way out of this state and onto greener pastures. All for prices that are surprisingly affordable, with grants and a minimum of loans. I’m tired of slaving away on a production floor, and my body isn’t getting any younger.
Also, we’ve pretty much quit associating with the toxic elements of Yes Dear’s family, particularly after the parents’ passings. Our saying has become “not our monkeys, not our zoo”. And the truth is, we’re happier because of it. Sadly this means we’ve lost virtually all our contact with nephew JJ, but we no longer have any means of influencing his teenage life, not at a price we are willing or able to pay. I wish it were otherwise, but given the choice between taking care of our own and getting involved in unending drama to be a part of his, to the detriment of our own, we had few palatable options. All we can do is offer prayers that God will help him navigate through his troubled times. Unfortunately daughter Panda Bear and her family is too much under the sphere of influence of that side of the family, so we’re limited in what we can do for them as well. I do have the pleasure of taking twelve-year-old nephew/grandson Mark to church activities once a week and spending some quality time with him, so that’s a positive. But his family situation is very unstable as well, and I don’t know how long I’ll be able to do that, so I’ll just take what I can get for now.
Okay, enough of the background filler and time to get to the heart of why I’m back here, even if only temporarily. The one part of the family I haven’t mentioned.
June Bug. And her boyfriend/fiancee.
And grandson CJ (who I’ll go ahead and refer to as Cam), now four years old.
And, since just before last Christmas, granddaughter Baby Baby (because that’s what I refer to her by every time I see her).
OK now some brief background on them. They’ve been living together the past eighteen months, and working the same shift (but different areas) of one of the local processing plants around here. BF is generally a good guy and decent to her and the kids, but his youth and inexperience shows at times, particularly in regards to finances and the mindset of “me” versus “my family”. In time the potential is there for them to make things permanent, but there are still issues to deal with between the two (especially when it comes to managing finances). Unfortunately they’re under pressure from controlling elements of his family out of state (mainly his dad) to get married, pack up, and move out to Georgia to live in the middle of nowhere near him. June Bug is very leery about this course of action and so is her BF, but it is out there. More on this later.
Their workload and life means that during the daytime we take Cam to his preschool and have him most afternoons, along with AJ and Baby Baby. That has become my morning routine after work, picking up and taking the boys to their respective schools before I go home and relax. We’re a big part of Cam’s life, and have done everything in our power to help him with his issues and channel his relentless energy in a positive direction, as well as help June Bug and BF parent him properly without stepping on their toes. We’ve vowed to them and ourselves that no matter what happens, what crisis happens between them, we will always see to it that the grandkids’ welfare is taken care of and take them in if necessary. We’ve helped them in various ways, though not to the point of enabling them to repeat their mistakes or take advantage of us. But we will never let the kids go without.
Last week this policy was put to the test. A fire had started in their bathroom and luckily self-extinguished when the toilet and tub melted and sent water flooding through the bathroom, but not before it pretty much consumed most of Cam’s laundry in the bathroom and sent more than a fair amount of smoke throughout the house. We immediately took the grandkids in while June Bug and BF stayed with her sister (and their chaos), dealing with their slumlord landlord and taking care of their affairs. Meanwhile we got Cam the basics in clothing (socks and underwear), and was able to get some generous donations to replenish his mostly incinerated wardrobe. The baby’s didn’t lose any clothes, but had to be washed multiple times to get the smoke out of them. Fortunately the bulk of their possessions is still salvageable, but the slumlord seems satisfied with only replacing the broken appliances and painting over the walls WITHOUT any cleaning of the soot or smoke damage. Neither one want to live in a house in that condition, so they’re going to take their tax returns and look elsewhere.
And then the BF’s family stepped in.
Talk started surfacing of the two getting married and moving out of state. This isn’t a new thing, we figured after about a year or so, they would start considering those options. One was the dad’s proposal, another was his mom’s proposal to come live near her and her new hubby up in Iowa. That’s pretty far too, but at least we know that BF’s mom and hubby are decent, stable people who love the grandkids as much as we do and would be just as supportive of them as we have been. I’m less impressed with the rest of his side of the family.
We’ve always tried to impress upon them that they are under no obligation to live close to us. That if they receive an opportunity elsewhere that they would be happy with, then that’s where they needed to be. But we didn’t want June Bug to follow her BF somewhere that her heart wasn’t into, just to please everybody. We didn’t want her to be manipulated into a situation she really didn’t want to be in.
Unfortunately June Bug has a long history of not standing up for herself, for taking the path of least resistance.
The talk surfaced the past few days that they may be finding a temporary place to stay in, then move this summer. We thought they were pushing things, but we figured at least they’d be waiting until Cam was out of his preschool for the summer, which is by far one of the most positive things he has right now (he got an absolutely glowing review from his parent-teacher conference last week). We figured we could deal with that.
Then last night, there was a dinner where we met with June Bug and BF, BF’s mother and stepfather, and his grandfather, supposedly for BF’s birthday.
Yes Dear and I both had this premonition that some decisions had been made, under pressure from BF’s family, decisions that we had no input on. Decisions that we would be less than okay with. And when Yes Dear and I have the same premonition, it is never a good sign.
Our premonitions proved correct.
June Bug & BF are moving to Georgia by the middle of next month. They aren’t going to wait until Cam is done with school. They’ve been offered a moving truck, paid for by the grandfather, and a place to stay free of rent, and most utilities taken care of. With no job lined up.
Anyone see anything wrong with this picture? Anyone? Bueller?
We did discuss our concerns today with June Bug alone, but with the knowledge that there was little we could do to deflect their course. We did let her know that this would be the kind of decision that there would be little recourse from once made, that for better or worse they would be committed to. That she was risking going into a situation where she would be under the thumb of others with selfish motives, that she would have little say in future things. That they, and she, would have few avenues of escape should it become necessary, that they wouldn’t be able to come back to Arkansas and be able to pick up where they left off, particularly job-wise, if things didn’t work out.
And we told her we’d miss the kids being so close, but she had to do what was best for their future.
What we didn’t tell her was just how much we would miss them. How much I would miss them.
And how much AJ would miss them, his “baby”, and his favorite playmate Cam. The one who he fights and argues with while playing, who he sometimes likes to torment and get tormented in return, but he loves unconditionally. The one who is “officially” a cousin, if not legally his nephew, but whom he knows deep in his heart is really his brother.
AJ & Cam
As much energy as he requires to look after, as much as he can push your buttons, as hard as I have to be on him sometimes as compared to the usually more compliant AJ, as much as we sometimes welcome the breaks from watching him, I miss this little turd every time he goes.
And the thought of him being so far away, so soon, is unthinkable. I’ll miss taking him to preschool and picking him up, of him running into my my arms with a loud “Derpa!” (his name for me). Or reading to him while he falls asleep.
And of this sweet little girl falling asleep with me as I fall asleep after a long night of work.
My heart is breaking.
Thank you for taking the time to listen. I may or may not update here, I might post those on FB, if at all. I may come back here from time to time if I have something profound to write about or to get off my mind. Or I might not.