The Uphill Slide

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A Family Divided

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The scene. Cary is driving my Honda Fit on I-79 with the music blasting on Pandora or YouTube, never the regimented playlist of radio for her. I feel her over-the-limit speed as the backseat driver while Jacob rode shotgun. The gas gauge was showing we only had 20 miles left on this tank of gas, about the distance to our destination. She wanted to exit to fill up. “Keep going,” I said. I knew from a recent trip that there is still a little something left in the tank even when it reads zero miles remaining. Anyway, we have AAA.

Today we are enjoying some family time, trying out a new recommended restaurant for brunch. But we are a family divided by the Court of Allegheny County. On this beautiful spring-like winter Sunday, the prohibitions of this Court on my family’s life are eating away at me again. My mind keeps regurgitating those prohibitions wondering when it will all change. When will they allow us to be a family? I am not as impulsive and irresponsible as they believe me to be. But this is the way they do it.

Though we are adults, we split our time into every-other-weekend visits like divorced parents. We are allowed these every-other-weekend visits that alternate with my grandson’s visits with his father. We are on a schedule that inhibits spontaneity in our lives. It is not just my son’s life controlled by this Court. What choice do I have, though? To violate their orders would bring handcuffs and another ride in the back of a police car for my son. So we accept what we do not believe in as right. My grandchildren do not know their father and uncle. Who knows when that time will come for us? What does the PO say? Wait for this, wait for that. Wait, wait. But will it ever be enough? You must be the submissive. Will a time ever really come when we are not waiting for someone else to decide our lives? Will any of us have self-determination again? Or will the one-size-fits-all rule our lives? Are they really protecting or destroying?

On this ride with the window down enjoying the warm air blowing my hair, I am feeling a brief bout of bitterness that it is not just Jacob the Court does not trust. Is it a paranoia or do I have a right to feel that way? The Court does not trust the mothers of Jacob’s son or his nephew or his own mother for supervisory duty. They must believe these two young women are dishonorable and fools. I may always be distrusted for faith in innocence. Would I be so foolhardy to hurt my own son with rashness?¬†They must think I’m a rebel who will defy their prohibitions and disobey their guidelines.

But just wait until after this. Just wait until that. You must do this, you must do that. Will anything be enough? No, it will never be enough, because they can’t get what they want.

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