I know they say that you can’t pick your family…but seriously if you could, I’m telling you–I’d be that “camped-out-all-night-in-a-tent-like-its-Black-Friday-just-to-be-first-in-line-at-the-register” shopper. Literally. And maybe that’s a horrible thing to say…but if you knew my family–hell, if you’d dealt with what I’ve had to deal with the past 28-and-some-change years–then you’d understand. I know you would. Honestly, if it weren’t for the kids–my nieces and nephews–I’d have burned these bridges with the lot of them years ago. I really would have…
Starting with my grandmother. You know, it’s actually ironic because growing up, she was the one I looked up to most. I had the utmost respect for her. She was the strongest, bravest, greatest woman I knew. She raised me and my siblings like we were her own and she was always the one person we could count on no matter what. For the longest time, she was this hero (or heroine, if we’re being politically correct) to me. A mother figure that stepped in when my mother was more concerned with pleasing the not-so kid-friendly men in her life than she was with really being a mother to my sister, brother, and myself. In a way, I saw her as our savior, you know? But then I grew up. And as I did, those rose-colored glasses started to come off and little by little. And as they did, I started to see her and the whole situation in a different light. And I realized something. And to this day, I can’t help but wonder how much of her stepping in to raise us was actually about her trying to give us stability and love–and how much of it was about her trying to take control.
She’s a control freak. It’s like she gets off on it or something, I don’t know. Time and time again, I’ve watched her do it–step in and take control. She did it with my siblings and I. Then with my oldest niece, Angelina. The same with both of my younger nieces, Emma and Ava. Until you reach a certain age, that is. Everything’s great and she’s happy, so long as you’re under her thumb and you do what she says. But once you get older and start to pull up away and get a mind of your own–god forbid you have an opinion that challenges her–well, then you get to meet her “Mr. Hyde” personality. Of course, I was the good girl in high school–straight-A’s, never caused or got into any trouble–so she and I didn’t really butt heads all that often. Of course, she (along with my mother) was also a little preoccupied with taking my brother and niece’s mother to family court to petition for–and ultimately winning–custody of my oldest niece…so our paths didn’t really cross much. That is, until I’d voice my opinion on something–ANYTHING really–having to do with my niece or “put my 2 cents in”–as she likes to put it. Then the control freak would materialize and snap back with some bitchy response of how it was “none of my business” or how, since I wasn’t the one with custody, I had “no say” in matters whatsoever concerning my niece. Oh yeah. Grandmother or not, you have no idea how often I was tempted to put that woman in her place–so damn bad. Granted, my name wasn’t on those custody papers alongside hers or my mother’s…but how quickly she’d forget that it wasn’t just her that had a hand in taking care of my niece–though she loves to act as though that was the case. I was just 16 years old when my niece, Angelina was born. My brother was in jail at the time and Angelina’s mother lived with her father way on the outskirts of town in the middle of nowhere, so my mother and grams offered to let her and Angelina move in with us when Angelina was just a month old. My brother got out of jail shortly there-after and let’s just say that he and Lena’s mother were more interested in having a good time than they were in being parents. They’d leave Lena with us for days while they went partying and took off. If you said anything to them about it or pissed them off, they’d pack their stuff and Lena’s, say they were moving out, and they’d take off with her. They’d always come back. Sometimes they’d be gone a few days…maybe a week. Maybe two weeks. You never knew with them. You didn’t know where they were or where Lena was or WHO she was with or if she was okay. After months of that bullshit, they went to court and won custody. She was 6 months old. My grandmother had a job working 2nd shift, which meant that I was the only one with Lena from the time I got home from school until my mother got home from work, and then the two of us had her until it was time for her to go to bed. Again–let me point out that I was 16. While everyone else my age was hanging/going out with friends, going to parties, experimenting with typical 16-year-old things–I was home playing peek-a-boo and warming up bottles and watching Elmo Goes To Grouchland for the 1,607,982,298th time. When Lena was fussy during the night, I was usually the first to hear and get up with her, since my room was across the hall and closest to hers. When she was colicky and teething and just utterly inconsolable one night no matter what we tried, my mother and I took turns walking back and forth across the attic floor with her for hours. My grandmother is quick to discount all that, but I haven’t forgotten it. She can say what she wants, but I was there. All those baby milestones. Her first steps, first words. Family outings. First days of school. Soccer games, volleyball games, talent shows, concerts, recitals…everything. I’ve been there. My name may not be on that damn piece of paper, but my opinion should damn well carry just as much weight as anyone’s–even hers–and my niece damn well IS my business. Whether my grams likes it or not…SHE IS.
For the most part, these days anyhow–my grams asserting her “custody/ownership” rights in regards to Lena–has been a non-issue. Not because she’s seen the error her ways, unfortunately. It’s my niece herself, actually. She’s 12 going on 30. She’s got an attitude, that one…and a mind all her own. A fact of which my grandmother, of course, loathes. She’s brazen and she’ll talk back and she doesn’t always do what she’s told right when she’s told to do it–and so my grandmother is always griping on her for that. She’ll bitch and say it’s because Angelina’s a spoiled brat or mouthy or that’s she’s lazy and doesn’t do anything…but it all boils down to one simple fact–Angelina’s no longer under her control. And she can’t stand it. So as is her typical fashion–Angelina’s now the enemy. She’s 12. Yeah. Tell me how fucked that is.
With my other two nieces, Emma and Ava, it’s the same thing. Especially Emma, who’s 10–but is Special Needs and has a lot of physical, emotional, and developmental delays. Granted the girls’ mother has been MIA most of their lives in nearly every maternal way possible and my grandmother’s been their primary caregiver and all–but it’s more than that. She controls the who, what, where, why–and every aspect of their lives. You’re barred from having any opinion or say so in where they are regarded. Yet again, she’s under the assumption that she’s the only one that’s been present in their lives. And that she’s the only one that cares about them. Both of which are grossly false. And I’m getting damn near tired of her insinuating as much.
Her whole ego and control shit with the kids is frustrating, yes…but old news. There’s no point in arguing or debating the semantics with her. You’re just wasting your breath. So long as she’s got a baby or kid to control–she’s peachy keen. And at the rate people in my damn family keep popping out kids and handing them over to her to raise, she’s not going to be running out of ones to control any time soon. When she does start her crap, I ignore her. Sometimes if I can’t hold my tongue–I’ll tell her off. She doesn’t like it–but that’s just too damn bad. The woman acts like she’s fucking Hitler. It’s ridiculous.
What really gets me though is that she has no loyalty whatsoever. She really doesn’t. And that’s the deal-breaker for me. She really pisses me off. When I left for Tennessee she was all tears and “you can always come home” and then when I was down there, she kept asking me when I was going to quit my foolishness of running wild and my gypsy ways and come back to New York. All the time she asked me that. The problem with that however, is that New York isn’t “HOME” anymore. And a lot of that is due to her. Directly. She has no regard for my feelings whatsoever and has shown nothing but blatant disrespect for my wishes since I’ve been back. And she’s done so by association with my bitch of an Aunt Faith and her junkie C-U-Next-Tuesday daughter, Jennifer (my cousin)–both of whom I, without an ounce of remorse–LOATHE. It’s no secret that I’ve hated those two for years. My aunt because she’s been jealous of my siblings and I our entire lives for the fact that my grandmother showed us more attention that she did to my aunt’s children, and as a result, we’ve had to deal with the resentment and a forced competition of sorts with her kids when we were growing up. Like her, they always acted like who they were–and like the world owed them something…like they were better than the rest of us…and that’s her doing. They learned it from her. And now their kids are the same way with my nieces and nephews. And I can’t stand it. What really cemented the cutting of all ties though were that bitch Jennifer’s actions some 7 or so years back. I won’t bore you with details, but long story short, she got jealous that things were going well for me–great job, new ride, new apartment, going back to school. Whereas she was broke, living with her mother, had just had another kid with a 2nd baby daddy who broke up with her and got himself a wife and new baby out in California. She couldn’t have that so the conniving bitch that she is, she decided to fuck things up for me. One thing led to another and she ultimately did a kick ass job of screwing up the really going thing I had going for myself. And she did it for no other reason than because she was jealous. And because she could. She’s a fucking bitch. And the betrayal was so much worse for the fact that I was the one that had had her back the entire time–had been her shoulder to cry on after the break-up, had taken her out with my friends to get her mind off everything. I did so much for her and she stabbed me in the back. And then, even after I confronted her with proof of what she’d done, she had the nerve to deny it. Her mother, of course, believed her. And to this day, still defends her. Like mother, like daughter. That bitch Jennifer though, she eventually got jammed up–and my mother just happened to be in court for something with my brother when Jennifer had an appearance for a bail hearing or something of the sort. Months before the bitch had cornered me in Wal-Mart when I was with my niece and got in my face, so I’d filed a complaint with the cops. It was on record so when the judge brought it up and used it as a reason to deny to release, I guess the bitch turned right around and looked at mother and then–right in open court–said that she was going to kill me. Yep. She’s a junkie, a bitch, and a fucking idiot. A real trifecta, that one. So yeah…all that, and yet my grandmother can’t even show me the courtesy of telling them to stay away while I’m downstairs, knowing full well that I can’t even stand the sight of them, Jennifer especially. If I have to hear her tell me one more time to “get over myself”, I swear to God I just might lose it. I don’t care if it’s been 7 years or 17 years. I can’t stand those bitches and I don’t give a damn if they’re family. As far as I’m concerned, they aren’t. They made that choice when they did what they did. I could honestly give a rat’s ass what the hell happens to them. And she might choose to associate with them–the two-faced bitch that she is–but that doesn’t mean I should have to. And yeah, that might be her daughter and her granddaughter and her house, but it’s also my mother’s house and I’m a guest of my mother’s while I’m here in New York. And my grandmother, she’s the biggest hypocrite of them all. She’s held a grudge against my uncle Joey’s wife Kathy for almost 3 decades now and I know damn well that if the woman showed up, hell would have no fury. So fuck that. And fuck her.
Tonight she let that bitch and her daughter come over. Of course, I had a few choice words for Jennifer when she walked outside and I was on the porch–to which she ran back inside and told on me. Pathetic. My mother, of course, came out and “scolded” me for using such foul language. Bitch, please. I’m 28 years old. As far as I know, this is still a free country and freedom of speech is still in the 1st Amendment. I can say what I want, to whom I want. And all I spoke was the truth. I won’t apologize for that. I shouldn’t have to. That my grandmother got all up in arms about it and sent my mother out to yell at me just cemented what I’d already come to terms with…I’m done. Done with her. Just done. I’m so sick of her not having a loyal bone in her body. Well, that’s not entirely true. She’s loyal to those two bitches, just not to me. She says that’s not true, but it is. And I’m done. She made her choice.
I thought I’d be sad. But I’m not. Honestly, I just feel relieved to finally be done with her bullshit. I used to idolize her. But the woman that I thought she was–that woman is long gone. And the one that’s left in her place–I don’t know her. And I sure as hell don’t respect her. And without respect, what else is there, really…