Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dog day

His text said something like: How's it going lover?
My text said something like: I'm awake and working thru some parental driven anxiety. :P
His text said something like: By parental driven anxiety, do you mean your parents, or anxiety driven by being a parent? 
He called and I said: I had a moment of dealing with the fact that I have shitty parents.
Then he said: Yeah, you kinda do. By that I mean, yes, you have to deal with having shitty parents. Not that they're kind of shitty, because there's no kinda about it.

And now I'm on to the rest of my day.

This sentence wants to begin with, "It all started when..." Except I can't place a finger on a commencement date. The latest episode came up a week or two ago when my youngest step brother—we'll call him [%]—posted a Gofundme link to raise $10K for a new therapy dog for another step brother—[&]. (I would use letters to represent them, but all of my step brother's and my adopted brother's names begin with T. Annoying.) 

Both brothers live with epilepsy. 

I want to clarify, I have NOTHING against therapy animals. I think they are highly beneficial to their owners when properly trained and cared for. But [&]'s first therapy dog, a black lab he lived with for ten years and put down a few months ago because the animal ended up with stomach cancer, was not treated well. Let me rephrase that. The animal was abused. [&] used the dog as a target for his temper, and [&]'s second wife probably stayed with him as long as she did to protect the dog from [&]'s mistreatment. She was by far closer to the animal than [&] ever was. Also, it is common knowledge in my family that [&]'s first dog didn't do anything to help with [&]'s seizures. In fact, it is common knowledge in my family that [&] used the dog to get out of taking jobs and going to events where the dog wasn't allowed. Therapy dogs should be allowed everywhere. That doesn't change the fact that this first animal didn't provide any assistance to [&] before, during or after his seizures.

But evidently, [&] has been having more seizures since his dog died. So [&] and his new wife went to check out some Doberman pups up for grabs by a local breeder. The cost for the animal alone is $1500. In order to justify the expense [&] claimed that he wanted the animal as a new therapy dog. Training for therapy dogs is thousands more. So [%] set up a Gofundme to raise the money. 

I've watched my steps and my mother go ape over this thing, pushing it to extended family, friends, associates at work. And yep. They raised the money for a new dog.

So, when I was a single mother of four, or even when I was a single mother of only three, and expenses came up for legitimate needs, I have either received loan money from my parents that I had to pay back ASAP, was left to my own resources, or I and my children went without. When Ex. No. 2 left me with $25K in debt that he'd run up in my name, I was told to declare bankruptcy. My parents told me time and again to go to my bishop for help, that they weren't the ones to rely on when finances were lacking. My bishops have never understood my parents. When I have been unable to participate in Christmas gift exchanges with my step siblings and parents because my kids needed to come first, the shame has always been thick. When I lost everything two years ago because I fled Ex. No. Nightmare, no help. My parents showed up the day I moved my scant possessions to Ex. No. Awesome's, didn't really help with the moving, and then my step dad sat in the car the whole time because he was allergic to Ex. No. Awesome's cats. No help. They drive within half an hour of our home often to visit [&] and his wife. We never know they're even in the state. My mother has begun calling my kids, and they can't figure why. We lived in the North Country, five miles from them, two blocks from her office, for ten years. She rarely had time for us then, and if we visited she told me to follow her around the house while she did chores, hardly paying attention to anything I might say. If we talked on the phone, she most often said "uh-huh" during pauses; I could hear the strikes of her fingers against the keys of her keyboard. My parents didn't like to have us over unless the whole family was coming for a big get together. My mother told me not to talk about my children's accomplishments in school in front of the other steps because they felt I was implying my kids were somehow the superior grandkids. Family gatherings turned into long hours where my kids and I were expected to sit in silence as conversation focused on the other steps and their kids. My children can't stand my family. My two oldest hate when my mother calls them. I've told them they aren't obligated to answer, since my parents didn't like it when I asked if they would help tend my children when we were around. They also didn't come to visit more than once or maybe twice a year while we lived nearby. And for the record, I've repaid every cent they lent me. I've repaid them for "gifts" as well.

But when my step brother wants a new dog, the family is all over it. Lapping up donations from people to help out. For a dog that will be mistreated, that will not be cared for well enough to do its job. 

And I'm supposed to be grateful to them for the work I've largely done on my own to raise a family?

So now you know what he means when my husband says, "Yes, you have to deal with having shitty parents. Not that they're kind of shitty, because there's no kinda about it."

Hard day.

1 comment:

  1. You don't. Don't deal with family. That's my answer. Probably not all that helpful, but it's the least I can do...