What better way can there be to fill the void left by the end of football season than adding this hag and her old crow of a grandmother to my weekend agenda.
I shouldn’t be this way; I ok’d the venture. I’m not this way, according to what I’m about to write on my blog. Granting permission this time was not as much like anticipating locust plagues as the first time she came to our neck of the woods – the last time she saw Kalista – in early December 2010.
Back then, I’d told her Kalista didn’t want to miss joining her dance class in a local Christmas parade to attend the visit with her mother scheduled that day. I’d invited Kalista’s mom to attend the parade, but didn’t expect her to show.
She did – and then some. I was astonished to hear she’d driven 6 hours through the night to watch a 45-minute parade in a town the size of Mayberry. The three of us (and the old crow of a grandmother) went to lunch that Saturday, then shopped and toured – upon Kalista’s request – the house my daughter and I call home.
I never saw any reason to end the “visit,” and asked as the evening drew near if they’d like to stay overnight. They did.
I had a friend days later tell me she couldn’t believe I’d “let (Kalista’s mother) into the world I’d created for Kalista.” Kalista’s mom had come to visit in lieu of the court-ordered visitation schedule, which calls for everyone to meet for three hours every other Saturday at a library in North Carolina.
From where the question had come wasn’t one that left me baffled. For nearly half of Kalista’s young life, the supervised visits at the library had represented one world – albeit a small one, as far as amount of time spent goes – of two. We’d give up two days per month of our life together so Kalista could live the other.
The dividing line certainly had been drawn.
So to invite Kalista’s mother to spend the night in the house Kalista and I had made together (it was even decorated for Christmas at the time) was a surprising move. Her mom was one person, I’d always confided, and I was another. What she did on her own time was not something I even thought about, since I’d orchestrated a way for it never pose a threat to Kalista.
Who knows what kind of a person I’m letting into our house, I’d thought that night. She’s a big nuisance to me. She abandoned Kalista for the party life – leaving completely for almost a year one time; doesn’t pay child support; has a family that’s a big pain in my ass, including a father who rides a loud motorcycle (yes, I judge people like this), step-mother who’s a manipulative Mormon and birth mother who’s a psychotic Bingo queen; doesn’t have the courtesy to let me know when she can’t show up for visitations; and has cost my family thousands of dollars in legal fees.
When it came to what I wanted and how I felt about the woman, I’d rather burn our house down than let her inside. She may have a friend in Jesus, but she doesn’t have a friend in me.
But here’s the thing, as I‘ve come to learn: it’s not about me. It’s about Kalista – a little girl who will never have childhood memories of wearing dresses with her mother, painting or braiding hair together, baking cookies, reading books, planting flowers, buying clothes or eating ice cream with her mother, who will also never be around to help with classroom Valentine’s Day parties.
No matter what, I owe it to Kalista to embrace any effort her mother puts forth. Kalista – while it’s more than slightly perplexing as times – will always love her.
And while I do find it natural and even instinctive to shield Kalista from anything that is not just, it’s impossible to know if the definitions of that which is “unjust” align with her own. I’m coming to realize she’s not as sad as some would say she’s allowed to be – including I.
Maybe embracing elements of Kalista’s life that bring her happiness is just as effective – even a tad more feasible, I should say – as trying to shield her from things that could be disappointments.
So of course her mother can stay this weekend … at my mom and dad’s house.