Bizarro world

Yesterday's Easter dinner with Hubby's side of the family thrust me into a world I did not quite recognize. Hubby's Aunt Joyce hosted the holiday, and her dining room does not quite accomodate everyone, so we had two auxilliary tables (the tried and true "kiddy tables" perhaps). Place cards indicated that Princess was at the main table, Hubby and Hoss and one of the subsidiaries, Lil Joe and I at the other. With me were Hubby's cousin Meghan (who I haven't had a chance to see since last summer), BIL and his girlfriend. As dinner progressed, BIL's girlfriend's contributions to the conversation indicated that she was not on the same wavelength as we were, since her non-sequiturs seemed to be in response to comments other than those heard by anyone else at the table. At the end of the meal, Meghan left to exhibit her one last bad habit (smoking, despite the fact that, as a nurse, she should know better), and I quickly followed her out the door. The conversation started with no preamble, despite the fact that this is a family that talks in hushed tones, never letting anyone in on who knows what about whom. "You picked up that I was noticing, right?" Meghan asked. "Yeah," I replied, "She's definately not taking her medication." "It's clear that she's in the mania phase now," she sighed. "She's acting just like the patients at work who are hearing the voices." Observation upon question upon statement- before long, we had cataloged each twitchy behavior, each peculiar anecdote about Julie's latest job (the third or fourth since last Spring). I let out a heavy sigh. "Hubby answered my cell phone the other night, and was suspicious about who this 'Dr. Abby' was on my caller ID. He seemed surprised that I would get a call from my psychiatrist." Meghan rolled her eyes. "It's not his business. Are you having sessions?" "No, just medication management appointments right now," I answered, "but my other counselor is only a speed dial away." Three cigarettes and lord knows how much time later, we had touched on all the things that could have kept a team of mental health professionals occupied for quite some time. How much happier she was dating the current guy, the one with the preschool son, than she had been with the one she lived with briefly while she finished nursing school. The recognition that he had been verbally abusive, and that her self-esteem issues stemmed from all those years of seeing her mom cover up and try to control her father's drinking. My lack of control with money, and how I was working to regain Hubby's trust with the finances by keeping my paycheck in the join account so he could see how much I was spending (both on necessities and on splurges). How worried I was all those years, when the family's objection to the man she was with pushed her further and further away, and I feared it would be too far away to catch her when he eventually hurt her too badly. Somehow, in the midst of all the crap that has happened in the family into which I married, the two flighty, chatty girls who have to depend on Zoloft to get us through the day, have turned out to be the most grounded and sensible ones in the crowd.


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Who's Who

    Hubby- aka DH My husband since 1995. He is the head of the band department at a college prep school, and dabbles as a wanna-be pop star.

    The Princess- aka DD. Third grader at the local parochial school. Loves butterlies, sparkly things, the color purple and has recently developed a crush on one of the twins from "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody". Is ready for her teenage years, having already perfected her exasperated sigh and dramatic eye-roll.

    Hoss- aka DS1. Kindergartener and resident spirited child. His aunt likes to call him "the evil genius" because of his penchant for letting a lack of intellectual stimulation lead him into mischief. Likes trucks, sports, building things and burping. His current favorite word is "underwear."

    Lil Joe- aka DS2. Born in 2003. Doesn't say much we can understand, but has mastered the important stuff ("eat!", "Wash hands!", "Want chocolate ones!", "Hockey game!") Likes to push buttons, much to the consternation of whoever is trying to watch a DVD. Firmly refuses to use the potty, despite evidence that he is physically ready to be out of diapers, indicating a level of stubborn that eclipses even that of his parents and siblings.

    Me? I'm the Mama. That's all you need to know.

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