Friday, January 22, 2010

Barking Up the Family Tree

I live with my two kids for most of the time, and for all of the time with my third husband, my mother, and a few limp plants. Thank God we have no pets.

It sounds almost neat and tidy, said plain and simple like that.

Of course, it’s anything but. And that’s just from my perspective. For a school project, my son recently described his family tree like this:

“I am 14 years old and currently reside in Kookytown. I live with my mother Delia Martin, my step-father Anthony Coldrey, and my sister, Kathleen Martin part time. The rest of the time I live with my father Peter Dickey, step-mother Ali Wernon, my half sister, Ray Dickey and our dog, Lulu. I have no grandfathers, two grandmothers, two step-grandmothers, two step-grandfathers, and some woman whom I really have no idea how to describe.”

That would be his step-step-grandmother. I think.

How we all ended up here, in this situation, is one story. The ongoing series of crises that defines our lives is another, of course; it’s our future slowly unfurling before our eyes. I guess I’ll tell you both stories, gradually.

As my hubby says, “It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion.”

He also includes his mother and brother in that statement. Although they don’t live with us, they do live with each other, and more than near enough for me, just a 15-minute drive away in Kookytown.

The brother-in-law’s a single 50-year old unemployed bum with issues beyond the obvious, who lives with his and Anthony’s 78-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, but refuses to admit it. You can probably see how the “train wreck” comment applies equally to them.

My own mother, who moved in with us a year ago, is 90. She doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. She just can’t remember anything.

Anyway, that’s us. We add up to a train-wreck, one that crashed in Kookytown, the place- name I use to describe not so much our actual physical location, but our state of being.

We are the modern family; welcome to our lives.

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