My mom texted me that we “needed to talk.” Joy. She expressed concern about the situation over at Roofie’s during the 2 weeks LB was there. The dynamic duo actually allowed my mom some visitation time, and of course Grandma didn’t like what she saw. She was afraid Blondie was leaving the kids alone with strangers, that there were “uncles” hanging around the house with LB, and that she didn’t like my child’ behavior when she spent time with her.
I spent the better part of 3 days picturing LB, scared, alone, crying. I imagined dark, frightening male figures lurking in the shadows of Roofie’s house. I didn’t sleep. I googled “how to tell if your child is being molested” and ate copious amounts of chocolate to soothe my nerves.
I talked to LB about grown-ups not doing “grown-up” things with kids. I asked her if she felt scared at her dad’s house. I asked her if there was anyone there she didn’t like. I told her it was my job to protect her, like Littlefoot’s mom in Land Before Time. Honestly, how the hell do you talk to your kid about this shit? I could feel bile in my throat every time I opened my mouth to ask her a question.
I thought about my mother. She doesn’t think she is paranoid, due to the extremely high anxiety her own mother deals with. In comparison, she considers herself very laid back. I beg to differ. When I was growing up, she frightened me with her uncanny ability to predict the outcome of events. When it came to my life, she was almost psychic (being a Cancer, and all). But that was me. I am her daughter. She may be able to see through my excuses and lies and get right to the bottom of it, but is just as “all-knowing” with my kid?
My mom also has 20 years of social work under her belt. She’s seen horrible images of child abuse, domestic violence, poverty and drug abuse. Does this make her more knowledgeable? Or is she haunted by these images, convinced they will happen to her grandchild? Is she unable to separate the anger she feels towards Roofie? I know she doesn’t like the way they run their household. But has that spawned off an emotional tornado which my mom has no control over?
I don’t want to doubt my mother. She is a smart, incredible woman. But this custody battle has brought out an emotional side of her I haven’t experienced before. She’s not as cool-headed as I remember. Maybe its aging. Maybe becoming a grandmother triggers an even stronger maternal instinct than the first time around. Maybe I’m over-thinking this. Maybe nothing is going on. Maybe something is.
All I know is that I now live 400 miles away from what goes on at my child’s dad’s house. I talk to her on the phone. I hear reports from my family. I see Roofie for a few minutes every 2 weeks. That’s all the information I have. And now I have a court date this Friday.
Do I bring this up in front of a judge? If I accuse Roofie of something that’s only based on maternal grandparent speculation, and it turns out to be untrue, he will likely pull a gun on me during our next exchange. You don’t go around accusing someone of neglect/abuse if you don’t have proof. A Judge would throw the book at me, calling me an “alienator.”
But what if it is true? What if LB isn’t safe over there? From my point of view, she came home happy and readjusted herself wonderfully. I didn’t notice anything weird when I talked to her about “uncles” or being left alone. But honestly, how the fuck do I tell? I was molested as a child and I had a “normal” 2-parent family. I was “safe” and “protected” and bad things still happened.
I just want to protect her. I want to keep her away from Sharptooth. I want to trust Roofie. I want to believe my mom. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to get any of those options.