Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Drama, and why it's not all it's cracked up to be

You know how all the movies that were nominated for Best Picture Oscars this year were these big social or political dramas? And all the "best shows" on TV are things like The O.C. and Gilmore Girls and their various knock-offs? Yeah, well as exciting as it is to watch dramas at the theater or on TV, it sure as hell sucks when the drama starts knocking on your door. Or, as in my case, calling you endlessly on the phone.

Without going into too many private details, I will tell you that this drama comes to me courtesy of my in-laws and their inability to get along and/or agree on how to discipline Bizarro Dad's youngest sibling, 14-year-old N. Apparently my mother-in-law cannot even bring herself to correct this child when she mouths off to people, let alone remember that the girl is supposed to be grounded already and is therefore not allowed to do certain things, go certain places, or visit a certain boyfriend at his home. There's more to it, but basically the problem is compounded by the fact that all of these people live together on the same property, which belongs to the oldest sibling, E, and her husband. So that's E and her husband, N, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law J, and E's two kids (both younger than N).

The petty and not-so-petty arguments have been ongoing for years now, and E has finally had enough. She called me last night to talk. She asked me for my opinion about the situation with her mother and other siblings. I made the mistake of giving it to her. This, I can see, is where I went wrong, because it got my husband and me involved in the argument on a level we had previously been avoiding. There are other factors here which I will not go into detail about, but which do explain why E would call me in the first place, and why she felt we had the right to know what was going on.

So anyway, the call came it at around nine-ish, I guess. About 90 million phone calls later, and there was total upheaval at E's house, and suddenly my mother-in-law decided she is taking N and moving in with N's best friend's family (yeah, because they want to be in the middle of this s***), and my husband had stayed up until 1 AM trying to sort this out and hear everyone's side of the story and figure out who is lying, when really he should have been in bed hours before because he needed to be at work at 3:30 AM.

For a few hours there it looked like we might even have N move in with us, but apparently neither she nor her mother feel comfortable with this arrangement. It seems that my mother-in-law doesn't want me (or anyone, I guess, including her own self) telling her 14-year-old daughter what to do, or how to act, or to stop speaking disrepectfully, or whatever it is that she thinks I'm going to tell a child who is living under my roof.

You know what? I have too much other stuff going on in my life without my in-laws adding to it. I don't blame E at all, because God knows she's put up with a whole world of problems on her mom's account already, and it's taking a toll on her health, her education, and most of all her marriage. I can say this here, I guess: I am inclined to believe E's side of the story. We have all caught her mother in too many lies over the years. My husband maintains that we have no way to verify the truth of all the he said/she said that is going on over there. "Well my husband said that J said that Mom said..." How is anyone supposed to sort that out? He has a point. Short of spending every waking moment at E's, we have no way to discern for ourselves what actually happened.

Now that we've gotten involved, my husband is all kinds of upset. He wants to help, but he doesn't want to take sides. And since his mother has taken the position of not-wanting-her-kid-under-my-roof, and N has taken a similar position (as far as we know), Bizarro Dad says he is not going to force that child to stay here and then have her run away and get knocked up or something.

So I guess after all that, we're just...not doing anything. I WANT to do something, but I can't help N if she won't let me. We can't afford a lawyer for a custody battle, and nobody wants to put N through that anyway.

See, this drama stuff? Entertaining when it's happening onscreen. Sucks major a$$ when it's happening all around you.

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