It's a tiny lie. I haven't actually gotten out on to the fire escape yet. There's still a little cleaning up to do out there from last year's gardening. Also, it's been raining for what feels like weeks. Ordinarily though, that's where I do my dreaming. I get to be outside, in the buzz of the street but safely above at the same time. If I could, I would invite all you readers to join me out there on a sunny morning.
Sunny mornings are what I dream about on sunny mornings. I have an attachment to the sun. My mom thinks it's because I'm a Leo, I think it's because I'm part Inca. Whatever the reason, I'm like a cat, I turn into a gooey puddle wherever there is a patch of sun. Eventually, I'd like to upgrade from dreaming on my fire escape to dreaming on a porch, or a balcony, or even just in a nice grassy patch that I come to own.
Punky is from Georgia. Actually, she's sort of an all over southerner. She was conceived in South Carolina, born in North Carolina and raised primarily in Georgia. Georgia is still where her father lives, in the same white house at the bottom of a hill where she left him when she was packed in a car and taken away.
Last summer for the first time in ten plus years, she was able to go back. Of course, The Brat and I went with her. It turned out to be fun. For being a city person, I have always liked the country. Just one of those things I guess. Small town people long for the city, and city people long for the country.
I'd love to say that the reunion was wonderful and joyous, but that would be an overstatement. In true southern form, Punky's dad took her return from exile with the same enthusiasm that he applies towards the sun shining. He's just a laid back sort of dude.
Since that one time trip Punky and I have come to understand that his relaxedness about her return was not an offense or an insult, but just the natural reaction of a man that had always sort of held a place for her in his heart and home. Sort of. It all comes down to expectations again.
If I put myself in his shoes, if I imagined a world in which I had not seen or heard from The Brat in ten years I imagine that there would be many tears and much squishing of the kid. I also don't buy the BS that this is because I am housed in a chick body and therefore chicks cry. Sorry, I believe real men cry. I know they do.
So why the lack of emotions? We still don't actually know. Sure, we have a lot of thoughts and theories but nothing actually concrete.
The new wife, Punky's step-mom, says he's just a man and that's about it.
Punky's dad.. who sometimes goes by Batman.. is sixty years old. Is that too old to teach a dog a new trick? I initially say no, but that no sometimes changes to yes, and then the man surprises us with new tricks that put me back at square one.
Batman is complicated.
The part that Punky and I struggle with the most is that age-wise they are jumping in to that part of child/parent life that is tricky enough on it's own without throwing in kidnapping and other bits. As he grows older it will be her job to be the provider/care taker. This isn't a role she's ready for.
It's already horribly frustrating to her to have to be the voice of reason to her much older patriarch. He's sixty and she's twenty-five. In an ideal world she'd be sowing wild oats while he'd be the voice of reason. It would be his job as the dad to advise her about money, remind her to save and put away for a future, to pick her up when she was down and keep an eye on her health. Instead, it's the other way around. Her reunion with her father didn't allow for her to be the child she missed out on being. So far, she has been the educator.
Me? I have no patriarch. Mine happened to die when I was tiny because he was a foolish old man who was too old to be having babies. I love him, I do, but sometimes I hate him too. His absence in my life caused a lot of unpleasantness.
These new waters that we are navigating a little scary, and very .. I don't know the word.
It seems to turn out a lot that nothing is ever ideal. However, my own personal beliefs don't really allow for me to sit back and say oh well, that's how the cookie crumbles. I know that if I want something done, or to happen, I've got to help it along. I've got to put myself in it to get what I want out of it.
Unfortunately, I also haven't had the greatest of luck with In-Laws. Once bitten-twice shy kind of stuff. It'll be sort of a big deal to pour myself into these new In-Laws who may or may not be able to be shaped into something closer to ideal.
Mostly, it feels like Punky and I spend a lot of time stomping our feet and crying out It's Not Fair! It shows how young we are, not only in years but emotionally and spiritually.
So.. why the Georgia dreaming? Well, this year we won't be returning there. It's a very expensive trip to us of very limited funds. We'd probably spend about two thousand dollars to spend a month or so there, and sadly we wouldn't get much out of it. The way I was raised, you never stay in someone else's home, even if they're family, without pitching in. So, when we went to Georgia, I did a lot of grocery shopping, almost all the cooking, and Punky and I both even cleaned their home from top to bottom. Dude.. that's a story for another day.
Punky's dad on the other hand never so much as took one day off of work, save for the day he picked us up from the bus station. He ate the meals we prepared in his bedroom rather than say the kitchen or living room. And, most hurtful of all, he maintained the same day to day routine the whole time his only daughter was there. Which is to say he'd get home from work, shower, watch Days of Our lives, eat then head to bed.
The only exceptions were twice when Punky's brother came over to watch Nascar, and of course there was little talking or bonding as the race was on.
We just can't justify spending two grand on a vacation to the middle of nowhere a place where we essentially blend into the walls.
So what do we do? Do we try and shape them into a more loving ideal family? Or, is that wrong to do and should we just accept them as they are, flaws and all? After all, isn't that how family is supposed to be loved?
Bonus question to Aine, and Jeanne, obviously we'd both love your input and hope to receive it, but you've both also mentioned husbands, children, and grandchildren. As Punky and I have almost no males in our lives, would it be too forward to ask what their two cents might be? Could it really be a male thing to feel little towards a child that is taken away from you for ten years?
Punky is her father's only daughter, and she was parentally kidnapped by her mother. He never called the police, never organized any kind of a searched, and only sort of looked for her by getting into his car and driving around different states hoping to find her. ( Punky and I still don't really understand how this was supposed to work. ) When I first met Punky years ago, she had no hope of ever finding her family again. She didn't remember phone numbers, or addresses. I was the one who insisted they could be found. It took a couple of months, but we found her dad. She called, and left a message. He called back, and left a message, and finally, they got each other on the phone.
It took a little over a year before she actually laid eyes on him. Essentially, because that was how long it took to save up the money to get there. Neither of us has steady work. Her father did however. In that year though, he never offered to bring her home, he never saved up the money himself, and come to find out way later that he and his wife have some alcohol problems and were spending something like five hundred dollars a month on alcohol. All that money on alcohol, plus money on cigarettes, but no effort to either get to his daughter, or get his daughter to him.
What do you think, my dear Abby's?