Monday, March 19, 2007

X's and O's

I'm definitely starting to feel better...more energy and that's a relief. Yesterday was a good day...normally K picks up the kids and they head out with his Mom, but this one turned out different. Linds and I went to Brandon's game and K and Ty met us there. My brother was there, as was my (ex) sister in law, who I'd had a falling out with awhile ago. These things happen when someone's addicted and hitting their bottom...people all around them start to fall apart and lash out at each other. And, quite honestly, she was awful to my parents and I, placing blame on US (like we could've prevented what was happening). When Dad was in chemo and near death's door, she'd call at all hours of the night, trying to track Dave down. Or pretending to - we know that what she was really doing was sending Dave a message....if I can't get through to you, I'll direct it at your family. Either way, he/we were going to pay. They hadn't been together in a couple of years, but she was still trying to control him. And he was completely out of control. I was patient at first, but when she didn't acknowledge Dad's request for her to "not phone here anymore", I lost it with her. At that time I was caring for both Mom and Dad and they'd go to sleep at 7:30/8:00. And she'd start calling around midnight. Regularly. It was really stressing Dad out at a time that he could take no more. He was fighting for his life, concerned over Mom and what would happen to her and in the midst of all the crap with Dave (who was making life extremely difficult for us). We didn't need her adding shit to the mix...we weren't Dave's keeper and owed her no explanations. We'd always been very supportive to her and she was abusing that.

The final straw was when she'd knowingly sent Brandon over very sick one day - she called and asked if Mom and Dad could watch him while she did some errands. She didn't tell them he was sick, which seriously jeopardized Dad's health/life (she had gone to pick up antibiotics after she dropped him off. He told us that). I called her out on it. I phoned her and, at first, was very reasonable and asked why she would do that. She quickly became confrontational and tried to avoid the issue and divert the conversation to Dave and what a loser he was. I called that bluff too and read her the riot act at that point - telling her (using pretty words) that it was extremely unforgiveable and irresponsible to play with Dad's life like that. The last thing she said to me was "you're a fucking loser, like your brother...your whole family's full of losers". Now, this was funny coming from someone who turned to our family when hers grew too dysfunctional to bear. She'd stayed at Mom and Dad's early on and often complained about her situation. But no, WE were losers now. She and I had been pretty tight to this point and I spent many outings that should've been focused on the kids listening to her ramble about Dave. But I had empathy for her, so I let her talk. Not this time though. I hung up and that was the end of that.

Mom and Dad had been extremely good to Heather to this point...Mom really loved her (although, when Heather was mad at Dave, she had no time/use for Mom and they wouldn't hear from her. Only if she needed $$ or someone to care for Brandon). But, because they adored him they tried to make up for Dave's lack of parenting and assumed the role of "other parent", taking Brandon for most weekends. She'd forbidden David from seeing him at that point (I don't blame her for that). She had no problem going to Mom & Dad for a "loan" for a car, which they gladly gave her (and was never paid back - they let it slide, for Brandon's sake). But when she starting directing her wrath at them and we tried to cut ties with HER, she cut Brandon out of our lives. That was the name of the game with her - power and control. Always has been Heather's way or the highway.

I'd only seen her once since our fallout...I was leaving the hospital and spotted her in the emergency ward. Putting aside everything, I rushed over, terrified that something had happened to Brandon. It wasn't serious....he'd been having a pain in his ribs and she was getting him checked out (probably a carryover from the serious illness that she'd exposed Dad to). I didn't know how she'd react to me approaching her...she can be so evil. But she was decent, asking how Mom was and we exchanged updates. She, too, had lost her father and gone through stuff with her Mom. And I knew that and had been concerned from afar...I felt for her. So I was glad we were being civilized...although I stand my ground, I also don't hold grudges or let things stay with me. Resentment has a boomerang effect with me so I try and avoid it. I learned that when K and I split - although he'd treated me very poorly at "the end", I found the more I resented him, the more it consumed me and who I was, so I had to let it go. Now I'm just very honest and will let out what I have to say, then I can move past it and not carry it with me. And she obviously could too. It felt good to be mature enough to do that...there were kids involved here (she'd completely disowned mine throughout everything, despite the fact that Lindsay adored her. It was hard for Linds...she hadn't done a damn thing).

Yesterday, although awkward at first, was a good step in the right direction toward getting his family on track. For me, it's all about the kids and Linds, Ty and I don't have much of an extended family at the moment. Mom's "gone" as far as being part of anything, Dad's so wrapped up in caring for Mom we don't see him anymore and this has been a very lonely/sad time for us. Oh shit, here come the waterworks. I tend to think that the trade off in all of this is that I have Dave back...that it could be a lot worse if he were still using. Somehow the load was lightened at the right moment and I got him back just when I couldn't bear any more. He's been great...he's "himself" again - a beautiful, funny, warm, caring person. Drugs had stripped him down to an ugly core and we'd lost him...he was "gone" as we'd known him. He celebrates one year clean and sober in May. You've gotta' take the positives out of life, right?

So we took in Brandon's game, all of us together again. One thing that's contributed to Lindsay's state of mind IS how things have changed and the family has disintegrated over time through the ugliness and illness. She remembers when she was young and we had big family gathering with lots of food, music and laughter. We don't anymore. She has dreams and the most recent one involved us all together, dancing in the park. Mom, apparently, was on crutches and trying to dance. Then Linds said she squealed "look at me" and twirled around on her crutches (in true Mom fashion - which we both could picture her doing). Linds says this is one of her best dreams ever. These dreams have a lot of meaning behind them I'm sure...she's very sad and missing the connection with the family. They're consistent enough to tell me that.

After the game I was going to leave and let the kids go off with K. But then Heather piped up and said "we'll go with you guys to eat". And K just wasn't comfortable with that at all and begged me to come (she'd talked his ear off already. It was one point he walked over to where I was "filming" the game on the side and said "boy, did I sit in the wrong spot"). So he and the kids convinced me to put my plans on hold (it didn't take much arm twisting - housework was on the agenda). And it was nice, all of us there together. It's how it should be (and had been until Dave bottomed out taking us down with him). Because, even when adults split up and endure problems, this shouldn't affect the kids or their relationships. I've always felt that and had been really angry at Heather when she threw the kids into the mix and used them as leverage. I know that Linds had an especially hard time with this. But today she had a really great day. And the more of those we have, the more she'll get on track.

K and I have a great relationship (when he doesn't drunk dial me) and I'm glad to see Dave and Heather working together for Brandon's sake. Initially, when they split, it was all good. But Dave's drug use spiralled out of control and I don't blame Heather for denying access to him during that time...he wasn't fit to see his son and she did what she had to do. But we were also being punished at one point and that situation helped noone.

But, it was a good day yesterday. And I sat there at that table and thought, "this is how it should be". Aunts, uncles, moms, dads and cousins all out having fun together. Even if the adults want to wring each other's necks...we can save that for when they're all grown up and don't have to be witnesses.

(And, lucky for you, I'm off to work now or this would be finished War and Peace style)

This was a nice goal. During the third period his coaches told him he wasn't allowed to score anymore and to just set up plays, which he did. It's not that he's a goal hog...usually his goals involve picking up the pick in his own end and then flying with it...and often his teammates can't keep up and don't go with him. So he weaves through the opposition and scores, wouldn't you? (I got a video of a beautiful example of this, but deleted it by accident, "d'oh"). His teammates now "rely" on him and usually just feed him the puck and he goes. But the coaches are concerned that the other kids aren't developing their skills, which I agree with. He scored six like that today before he was told to "cool it". So on this one he slowed it up and made a beautiful, back hand pass to the kid on the right, who put it in. The buzz from the other team was "this kid shouldn't be in this league". And the rep teams keep trying to get him but, as a single, working mom, Heather can't get him out to the games (which are often a two hour drive away and during her work hours). Oh and, Junky you'll brother said, "well, he's done the Gordie Howe today". Then I told him about your comment.
At 13, some of the boys have yet to have their big growth spurt. Their goalie is one of them, he's teeny...his bag's almost as big as he is!
We bumped into my Auntie Anne (the one who had the birthday the day before). My cousin's son (her grandson) also plays. She said "you guys kept me up until 2:30 in the morning and I'm tired". We did.

The "gang" at lunch. I'm missing (duh, the photographer), as is Ty (who always somehow manages to strategically place himself out of the shot)
Heather's teeny - about 4'11"/100 pounds....and her massive plate of nachos was hilarious.

We went out to a field to give Charlie a run and watch Linds, Ty and Charlie attack each other. (Yes, I managed to get Ty in some shots too!).


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Blogger Toccata said...

Very nice and touching post Deb. I hope this can be a turning point for you and your ex sister-in-law. Kudos to you for not deciding to continue the anger which I think would be all too easy to do. Take care and give Linds a hug for me. Funny how that kid of yours holds a special place in my heart just from your posts. Hmm, seem to have something in my eye. I think I had better go find that box of kleenex.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

Gimme my friggin award!

You guys were all so mature and civilized and I think that is a really fine example to set for the kids. Good job, you.

7:18 PM  
Blogger junky said...

I'm jealous my family can't get together at all more than 2 of us and someone gets pissed.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

thanks extremely long post. Didn't really think anyone would read the whole thing and I thank you for doing so. You're so sweet...I'm going to share that with Linds because I know it'll make her feel good.

Barb...oh my God, I needed that laugh! You rule, rock and everything else that is kewl. We WERE civilized, quite unlike how I felt about a year ago when I was preparing for one hell of a cat fight.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Hey junky, when did you get here? Hope your vigil went well... gonna' scoot over to your blog soon and see what's up.

I can relate...when I was young it was chaos and dysfunction at gatherings (especially some members of Mom's family). Drinking, arguing, the whole shebang. Christmases were pathetic. They'd start off great and end like a nightmare. It was so stupid and I remember thinking way back when - "I'll never be an idiot like that".

8:00 PM  

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