Giving an answer

To something I dont even know.

Sometimes – I just want to close the book and start over.  Go somewhere where no one knows us, no one knows me – and start over.  From the beginning.  Without mentioning any of the past.  A fresh start.  I wonder how differently people would react.

I don’t know where to start when someone asks a question.  Sure, I have all the simple things figured out.  The split second questions in the grocery store line, the one time visitors who I will never see again, people who don’t really care and are just making small talk – I can answer them all, I have answers for them.  But there are those moments that really, catch me off guard, and I stutter my way through the only words I can find at the moment “It’s a long story” and for the most part – that’s ok.  For the most part – that tells people that there is more there, but a lot of times its enough to back off the unsuspecting.

But sometimes – they want to know more.  I say “It’s a long story” and they come back with “I have a long time.”  Usually I wind up staring at the floor starting somewhere in the middle, and ending somewhere in the future leaving the person completely unsure of why they asked.

The thing is – I don’t know what I want to say.

That I wish we could just get off to a fresh start without having to tell everyone about the things that have happened?

I know it raises a lot of questions – Why am I raising my niece?  People seem more interested in that than they do about the boys.  Something about me raising a girl – a girl that isnt even “Mine” – has always raised a question.  It leaves a lot of room for story.  And how much of it do I tell?  How much of it do they want?  Are they simply looking for an answer to ease their minds?

To be honest – I don’t know why.  I don’t know why I am raising her, or her brother.  Or her cousin.

I don’t know why I was the only one there willing to take them on, when really, I WASN’T willing.  And I didn’t think it would get this far.  I don’t know why I fought so hard to get them back, and keep them together.  I don’t know WHY and a lot of times I feel as though I should be asking others the same thing “Why am I doing this?”

Of course the answers to my wondering – and others wondering are completely different, which make the answer even more difficult.  The response is usually the same “You have help with HER though, RIGHT?” and again – Im left wondering HOW exactly I am supposed to answer this.

Are they really concerned?  For her or for me?  Are they offering to help?  Are they going to turn us in?  Take her away?  Split them up?

For the most part, I avoid the question.  I avoid holding long conversations, or talking my way into the questions.

But sometimes in inevitable, eventually someone wants to know, whether it’s a friends parent, a teacher, or the grocery clerk who has seen us since the beginning.  Eventually – someone wants to know – and I fail to deliver the answer.

Atleast the answer that they are looking for.

Yes – Im at it mostly alone.  I say mostly because the kids are old enough to help out, and I have a slew of neighbors and acquaintances who are (usually) more than willing and mostly understanding when I drop them off for the night.  Yes – I made the decision mostly alone.  I say mostly because there wasn’t a whole lot of thinking about it, and I wasn’t really given the option to say no.

As far as the rest of it – it’s all pretty much a guessing game.  I learn as I go, and pick up the pieces along the way.  There is a lot of hoping, and wishing, and pleading that they arent too screwed up in the end.  But that’s about it.

I try my best.  Even when the best isn’t good enough.  I lay awake at night even when it does no good.  I worry and wonder.  Even though I really don’t need to.

The one thing I wanted for them – was to have each other.  Through the good, bad and the ugly times – and so far – I have been mostly, successful.

They have each other.

They don’t almost always, sometimes have each other.  They ALWAYS have each other.  And that’s not something that anyone can take away from them.

Thats what keeps me fighting, for them.  Thats what keeps me from saying “Take them away” or “Lets get out of here.”  I do it for them – because if nothing else, they deserve each other.  Not most of the time, but all of the time.

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One comment

  1. You just gave a great answer to peoples questions about your kids – it is simple really – they needed a home and you wanted them to be together. That is a gift that you have given them – the security of you and each other. I suspect you have given them something you didn’t have as a child – security and unconditional love. You didn’t have to take them but you did because you knew (given what they had been through in their young lives) they needed to be together.
    You love them Dave, and they love you.

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