It’s Wednesday, and 5 out of 6 of us are home. My stepsons got out of school early for finals week, FJ is sick, and Martin and I are home because FJ being sick meant we didn’t sleep enough last night.
I’m staring out the window at a tree like it’s going to tell me how to salvage the day.
Look, I do a lot- so I’m not positive why I’m berating myself- except that I should be putting in a solid 8 hours of work-work today and there just isn’t that much to do with most of the office already on Christmas break.
And I have this crawling feeling like something is escaping me, and I’m not actually on top of anything and I shouldn’t relax. Maybe that’s just a testament to how the year has gone.
Things went unhinged (again) with my stepkids’ mom back in April, and we’ve had full custody of them since April. Stepkidsmom is bipolar, but, like my sister, she also has schizophrenic episodes too. She was in a fully manic state throughout most of the early spring, but even after being arrested and placed in a mental health facility, she wouldn’t take medication. Fast forward to July and (after some other brushes with “the law”) she got herself arrested at 3 in the morning.
Her dad had frozen access to the retirement fund he has for her, because she’d blown through so much money in a week. She threatened him with a knife and got herself arrested for second degree aggravated assault (a felony, if you’re counting).
I can still see the faces of my stepkids when my husband broke the news to them. Resignation- a combination of “what now?” and “of course”. She was in Harris County jail from July on.
Mental illness runs in my family too. Manic depression (as Emily Martin prefers to call it) runs in my family. This could easily be any of the 4 kids I take care of- my biological kids, and my stepkids.
Stepkidsmom hasn’t gotten better, as she still is refusing medication (with the exception of melatonin to sleep). She thinks she’s fully rational. Her father finally bailed her out of jail a few days ago, for Christmas, but all that did was introduce chaos into all of our lives- she texts my stepsons, she texts my husband. We have to compartmentalize in order to deal with the situation (them much more than me).
Stepsons don’t want to see her, which is heartbreaking, but understandable.
Meanwhile, we’ve tried to preserve my stepsons’ relationship with their maternal grandfather. He comes over on Mondays to make dinner with them, and he picks them up from school every day (even though I could do so).
Imagine how awkward it would be to have your ex-father-in-law over for dinner weekly. It’s not much less awkward having your husband’s ex-father-in-law over. But he’s a really sweet person, and it is genuinely very important to me that his daughter’s state not rob him of his relationship with the grandsons he so clearly adores.
She has a competency hearing in January. In the meantime, who knows? My anxiety disorder doesn’t like when she’s “on the loose”. I don’t want one of us to be the next to have a knife pulled on us.
My aunt did that to my dad when he was little.
It’s almost Christmas, and I THINK we might be killing it on the “keeping things normal / keeping things merry / giving the kids a good Christmas” front. And I’m whisking everyone off to Pennsylvania for a week after Christmas, where we’ll be safe for a while.