As I re-read my previous post before writing this one, I realized that I failed to put anything positive and upbeat into it. All I did was talk about the Redneck, and for me, that is rarely a happy subject. There were some great things that happened last weekend! Like the football game we took the girls to!! It was their first high school football game ever. The Drama Queen was obsessed with the cheerleaders and tried to cheer like them. The Vampire (who has been 11 days w/o biting as of 9/30!!!) wasn't interested in much but the cheering, and since our team was kicking butt (54-0 at halftime), she was able to do a lot of that!
Sunday we took the girls to the grocery with us, then stopped to let them spend their own hard earned money on the way home. The Drama Queen bought Disney Princesses make-up case and a pack of silly ringz. The Vampire bought two packs of silly bandz and a little Strawberry Shortcake metal purse. They were so fun to watch as they sifted through all of their options. The Vampire decided what she wanted right off, and was ready to go but the Drama Queen took a little bit of time sifting through everything trying to decide what she wanted. It was a good day, and so nice to see how their little faces lit up with pride and joy.
I have had baby fever lately. There are so many people I know who are expecting babies, or have had new grandbabies, etc. I see all the photos, and got to hold a week old baby the other day. A woman I work with has it too, and since we're both of childbearing age, and contemplating moving in that direction in the next few years of our lives, we talk about it at least once a day. I am 31 years old. I have NEVER been pregnant. I don't know if I can become pregnant. My sister, who left her children with me, always used to joke (or I thought she was joking at the time..) that the Drama Queen is actually my child and that she just gave birth to her for me. I love birth, and being able to assist women in birth (I have 4 live births under my belt!!!). And because I have been talking about babies, and my baby fever, there is a curiosity that has arisen in the Drama Queen. She has been talking to me a little bit here and there about babies, and here is where you expect me to say something adorable like the Middle Wife story that floats around on the internet. A sweet interpretation of a woman having a baby, being told by the older sibling who gets some of the words mixed up. Wish I could, but I can't. Instead, because of the background that this sweet 5yr old blossomed from, the words that tumble out of her mouth are "Aunt TT when women get fat, sometimes it is cause they have a baby in their belly right?" "yes honey." I respond. "Aunt TT if you ever had a baby in your belly, and it came out, and if you were with your husband or boyfriend, and they were mean to that baby, would you stay with him?" I'm driving the car, headed toward my work so she can stay with me before I have to leave and take her to school. My heart is breaking for her. In my mind, no 5 yr old should EVER have to worry about someone being mean to them. I know a little bit about the things that my sister's boyfriends did to the children. Immediately, I suspect that this is her way of trying to validate her security with me. I don't even hesitate to say "Miss J, if ANYONE ever hurt you, I would leave them in a heartbeat, an I would expect you to be honest with me about it if anyone does anything to you that hurts, or makes you feel uncomfortable." She seems satisfied with my answer, and responds "I would do the same thing TT, if anyone ever hurt my babies, I would just leave."
She is so fragile. She needs attention so bad. She reminds me of how to really be human, and what really matters in life. She frustrates me to no end some days, and makes me so proud to be the woman guiding her through life on other days. This day however, I am just deeply sad, and feel so much remorse for my darling Drama Queen and her siblings. I mentally berate myself for not having stepped up sooner, and had the spine to act on their behalf before things escalated to this level. I carry such guilt over knowing that the Vampire was being left in a baby chair for hours on end and feeling powerless to do anything about it. I replay the scenes in my mind over and over again of visiting my sister, or bringing the kids back from a weekend with Aunt TT, and imagine that I stormed back into the house and took the children home with me, imagining that my sister would do little about it because she would be glad to have the time off. I feel like I was wrong on so many levels. I feel like my soul is stained black because of my inability to act on their behalf.
When I feel like this, I have to remind myself that because I waited, but never actually used the law to intervene, I kept our relationship on good enough terms, that she picked me when she decided she was done. She could have felt as cold toward me as she did our other siblings who shunned her and treated her like garbage, who picked fights with our parents over how much they did for her kids, or who refused to have anything to do with her children because they were so angry with her and her poor choices. She never turned her back on me when I was in the wrong, when I was making bad decisions in my life, and when I called her crying because my abuser was still being abusive. I couldn't turn my back on her either. I felt guilty for her situation, I felt that if I had handled things differently in our childhood and adolescence that maybe, just maybe she would be happier, more confident, a better parent. I felt like maybe just maybe if I stuck by her and tried to be that gentle voice of reason when she needed it or the person who wouldn't back down from an argument when she needed it... that maybe I could help her right herself. I couldn't have been more wrong as my sister wanted something worlds different than what I wanted for her, but I was raised to believe that if you work hard enough at something, you will reap the benefits. I just didn't realize that my benefit would be in the form of two amazing kids, when I was hoping it would be to pull my sister out of her downward spiral. These children have become a blessing to me, and have helped me pull my head out of my ass and become a better person.
I had told a friend of Uncle M's family a few weeks before my sister left that I would probably be raising my sister's kids someday. We were at the annual fireman's parade in Clio MI, and we were listening to a band play. His family is so... together, and that's what we were doing, just hanging out, being together. I was drinking beer, and enjoying my freedom while growing closer to Uncle M's family. She had mentioned the Drama Queen because I had brought her camping with us in May, and it just fell out of my mouth before I realized what I said. When my sister left two fateful weeks later, and I called Uncle M sobbing, I felt as if I had caused this entire thing to happen, by saying that to someone. My sister didn't know I said it. I certainly didn't mean this soon when I said it. But I felt in my soul that by my saying that.... the man upstairs knew that I was ready to do what needed to be done. It wasn't easy... giving up my life of freedom and stepping into this role. I had to change so many things to make room for them, and to make my life be something they could live in. I am not perfect. Some days I lose sight of everything that means anything to me, and get caught up in the hustle and bustle of deadlines, dance class, work, keeping a clean house, school, being a girlfriend/mother figure. This is truly the hardest thing I have ever done. I miss my sister. I search in my friendships for the relationship I wanted to have with her. Someone I can laugh with, cry with, share horror stories with, raise our children TOGETHER, and be loved unconditionally by and love them in return. So many lives have been so changed by the decision she made.
She wrote a letter to her kids and mailed it to mom and dad recently. She sounds upbeat in it, and doesn't say much at all. Just "Hi, mommy loves and misses you and hopes you are doing well. I hope to see you soon, Love mommy :) ". The therapist said we shouldn't show it to them right now. That we should save it, and show them someday. I will probably put it in a shoebox, along with the one she wrote a few months ago, and put it in the top of the closet. I wonder when someday is. How I will know that the moment is right, and if they will be angry with me for having kept it from them, or if they will be understanding of my situation, and have compassion. How do I keep these children from forgetting the good that existed in their mother, yet refrain from revealing any of the bad. Such a double edged sword I am balanced on, and it taxes my sanity at times. Thank goodness for good friends and family, I would be lost without them.