Quite the adventuresome week. We kept the Little Boys for several days last week because their mother had surgery. She said we could bring them back the day she got home from the hospital, but that seemed too hard on her to us, so we asked to keep them a few days longer.
They went home Wednesday. This morning I got a confused call from a neighbor- their mother had been transported by ambulance to a hospital, she wasn’t sure which one, because she was unresponsive due to opiates. She’d driven to a fast food restaurant for breakfast, taken the younger boy to his bus stop, come home and told the older boy (who is homeschooled) to wake her up in an hour. He wasn’t able to wake her up so he went and got the neighbors.
The neighbors- two women- said they had tried to talk to the boyfriend (who we didn’t know about, and I am gathering from later conversations with Blynken, we weren’t supposed to) who couldn’t come until later tonight, and they didn’t know who else to call, and they couldn’t watch the boys. But none of us are on the list at Nod’s school to be his pick up people. They said they could wait at the apartment with Blynken if I would hurry.
Pip knows how I feel about driving, so she and the FYG drove to the apartment to pack the boys’ things and bring Blynken home. They had intended to do some cleaning as well, but the neighbor ladies didn’t leave and they were a little distressing to be around. One was either on drugs or has brain damage, Pip couldn’t tell, but which ever it was, it wasn’t helpful or soothing in an already stressful situation.
Pip says their stories changed even as they were speaking and that she’s never heard a story change so much in such a short amount of time- the boys’ mother was both comatose and completely unresponsive and arguing vociferously with the ambulance people and the neighbors that she did NOT want to go anywhere because of the boys (this last sounds far more likely to me for reasons that will follow). They also had different reasons/excuses why *they* could not watch the boys, and they really wanted to get all these reasons off their chests. The cascade of excuses and competition over who could make the most and best excuses fastest was unnecessary, Pip told them, because we were taking the boys. Period.
The best plan we could come up with was to bring Blynken home and then go back later and pick Nod up at the bus stop, since none of us could get him out of school.
So the girls headed home (it’s roughly 20 miles). Three minutes from the house they got another phone call- the mother was released from the hospital and was on her way home- only Pip had her cell phone and the apartment key. The mother said it was fine to just bring Blynken back home, too. Pip asked Blynken what he wanted to do.
“Can I just stay at your house?”
Of course. So…. They dropped him off and headed back. The mother is home now. They are waiting at the bus stop for Nod, then will go back by the apartment to say good bye for the weekend, and will bring Nod back here. The mother says she’ll go back to her original hospital tonight- the secret boyfriend who is no longer a secret will take her.
Secret boyfriend? I have no idea. But when Pip and the FYG were discussing what to do, one of them said, “Maybe ______ can give her a ride,” and Blynken stopped, wide-eyed, and said, “You know about him? You know his name? How do you know that?”
The dishonesty is bizarre, because we don’t care. We don’t care why the neighbors aren’t keeping the boys- we’re fine with that, and knowing the neighbors, we *prefer* to keep the boys. We don’t care whether or not she has a boyfriend. We would keep them whether she was comatose or faking it, whether she called an ambulance or just called us and said “I don’t want to do this today”. It changes nothing for us. I don’t care about a lot of things that their mother tries to deceive me about. That’s not me being nice. That’s actually me being a coldhearted witch and I don’t mean witch and I think you know what I do mean. I’ve done what I could and there is only so much that can be done, and so I really just don’t care. We do what we do for the boys and for the boys alone, and there’s actually quite a bit I’ve been asked to do for them that I flatly refused. Easier than refusal is simply failing to hear many of those requests, in part it’s so easy because an awful lot of requests are couched in terms of broad hints and attempts at manipulation.
I get a little bit of flak from time to time from people who think we need to draw lines in a place other than where we have drawn them. Actually, what I hear is that I need to draw the line, as though there isn’t one. There is. There are a lot of lines, actually. They aren’t the lines *other* people would draw, so it looks like no lines to them, but that’s a lack of vision. They are the lines *WE* have chosen to draw.
Our line is just beyond this point- we will keep the boys almost any time. We won’t homeschool them, pay for anything but the food they eat while they are here, bring home their neighbor friends (we did that once, as an experiment, and it won’t happen again), buy diapers, medicine, or put gas in the car. We will keep them here when needed and when wanted, almost any time.
That’s our line in the sand. It works for us. It’s not the right line for somebody else to draw, and it would be different if our circumstances were different. But it’s our line here and now. We are their safety net and a safety net isn’t a safety net if sometimes it’s there and sometimes it isn’t.