So the Vampire has been saying Mommy to me, and Daddy to Uncle M. A lot. When I talk to her about myself (IE: it makes Aunt TT happy when you listen so well!) I usually refer to myself as Aunt TT. It's part habit, and part... I feel like I'm stealing my sister's kids. I guess I still struggle emotionally with this, even though I try to put on a brave face and pretend like I don't. The Drama Queen doesn't call me mommy or Uncle M daddy anywhere near as often, but I understand that totally. She is older, and has more memories of her biological parents. The Drama Queen will actually tell the Vampire "she's not your mommy" when the Vampire calls me mommy. I have to explain the the Drama Queen every time, "Yes, I am not her biological mommy, but I do the job of a mommy, and if your sister wants to call me mommy, I don't mind at all." Sometimes I add "I would be honored one day if you thought of me that way."
I feel like I have to define some roles soon, so it's less confusing for all involved. Uncle M's parents would love to be called Grandma and Grandpa. I have just held out on calling them that to the girls cause:
A. Uncle M and I aren't married.
B. I don't want to add to confusion in their lives
C. They have other Grandma's and Grandpa's with other daddy figures that have been introduced into their lives, and I feel like having 5 sets of Grandparents is super confusing for anyone.
D. It seems soooooooo permanent, and I still harbor the fear that these darlings will be ripped from me.
But lately, I feel like I should just implement the routine of referring to Uncle M as daddy, myself as mommy, and Uncle M's family as Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins... etc. I'm just trying to balance out all the evils and goods of the situation and decide what's best.
I watched a movie on Lifetime over the weekend while working on my embroidery (Christmas presents) called The People Next Door. It was about a single woman, who was running from her abusive husband (who never makes a cameo), and moves her three beautiful little girls into a run down rental house. There are neighbors, and they seem like real nice people, and they help her with her kids. But they're not nice people, and they're just waiting for the perfect opportunity to take her kids. The oldest and youngest daughter go with them for their "car ride", but the middle daughter doesn't feel right leaving her mom and stays behind. Thus two of this woman's three kids are kidnapped. The whole movie is about this woman's fight to get her children back. At first the cops think she did something to her kids (she's not the model parent). However when watching the movie, I was focused on what the people who took the children from their mom were telling the children. They told the eldest horrible lies about how their mother was in jail, for having killed the sister that didn't come along. They made the eldest dye her hair, change her name, and moved her across the country to start a new life. This child was maybe eight years old. They also said things like "You're here with me because I love you, and I will take care of you." and "your mom can't take care of you right now, so we will take care of you." They forced the children to call them mommy and daddy.
I tell you about this, because I have said things to these two little girls, that those horrible monsters said to those kids in that movie. I imagine that in child abduction cases children are made to feel loved, and dependent upon their abductor, and they say similar things to those children that I say to these angels I am guardian over. I have to remind myself over and over, that I came by these kids honestly, and in no way am I anything like those awful people who took children away from their loving parents. Why do I have to remind myself of this you ask? Because it's not like my sister willingly gave me her kids. She didn't tell me with tears in her eyes, that she can't do it anymore, and she wants me to raise them because she knows I can. She dropped three boxes of clothes at the door and screamed at me "since you're so effing perfect, you raise them" then stormed out the door. It was the last time I have seen her. In some corner of her mind, I'm sure she knew she was giving her kids up, but the dominant part of her mind kept saying "this is just temporary, and when we get things squared away we will go back and get them." Can you imagine her rage, on July the 5th, 2009 when mom, dad and I on speakerphone told her that we have emergency temporary custody of her kids? She screamed, yelled, cussed, and accused us of having stolen her children from her. In a way, I guess we did. My calling Children's Services on her was underhanded, as I didn't tell her up front I was going to do that, but I was so afraid of what she would do in her rage. When she was out of the state, and the kids were safe, then I felt like I could act. I am such a coward. I didn't lie to anyone, I didn't cheat, and I didn't steal. I acted in the best interest of three kids, in a timely manner, and with good intentions, yet I still feel like I stole my sister's kids from her. Who am I to judge how she handled and raised them? She put them in a lot of unsafe positions, and was neglecting their medical, and mental well being. It hurt to see that for years, and when I had the power in my grasp to change all of that, I didn't hesitate. I called Children's Services on my own sister.
I can't continue to regret the past, I have to move on with this future, to proudly be mommy... to let Uncle M be daddy... I have to reconcile with everything that happened that fateful day in June of '09. I have to convince myself that I didn't steal my sister's kids. She abandoned them, and I did the right thing by stepping up and acting on their behalf. I have to quit caring if my sister will forgive me for my actions when it regards her children, because in her haze of addictions, she just wasn't doing the best by them. I have to quit worrying about the angry blow-up that I imagine will happen when the Vampire calls me "mommy" in front of my sister some day, and clings to me while refusing to attach to her. I have to quit worrying about the same angry blow-up happening when Uncle M dances with both girls for the father/daughter dance at their recital in June, as I imagine the Redneck won't appreciate that at all. If he is even in touch with us at that point in time and attends. I have to remind myself that being called mommy or daddy is so much more than just words, it is actions, and these two little girls are recognizing just who acts like mommy and daddy, and who doesn't. I do remind myself that I am NOT nor will I EVER force them to call me mommy or Uncle M daddy. It is ENTIRELY their choice. I have not, nor will I ever trash talk their biological parents to them, but when the time comes, I will be honest about everything that has happened, and will happen. To move ahead, I must bury the past. Only then will I be able to embrace and enjoy my future.