Saturday, February 27, 2010

Be Careful What You Say

When the phone rings at 5pm on a Friday, and the mother of one of your kids' friends asks if you have any plans for the weekend, watch what you say. You could end up having plans made for you!

Remember the woman who would bring her son over around 4:45 to play with Patrick during the fall (until it got too cold to walk the few blocks to get here)? She's baaaaaackkkk.

When she asked me what I was doing this weekend, I said that we didn't have much to do other than usual stuff, and she said that she needed to take two of her other six kids to a wrestling match this weekend, and needed to stay overnight there. I said, sure, he could come over, would it be Friday or Saturday night?

Oh, there was no 'or' about it. She wanted to drop him off in an HOUR, and he would be staying until Sunday. That would be, Friday dinnertime until lunch on Sunday, k-thx.

I could hear him pleading in the backround, and she said that she had been trying to call family to watch him, but he had been begging her to call me, and that frankly she was more comfortable with him staying with us, anyway. What could I say? He's a really nice kid, and I had already said that we didn't have plans. Ta-da! Instant plans!

Of course, she didn't mention that he's got a cough. She said that she'd call when they were settled at wherever the match is, but she didn't. In fact, I didn't hear from her until this evening, when I called her to ask what kind of medicine I should give Boy, because he's been coughing since she dropped him off. In fact, we went to the MD Sci Center today, in Baltimore, so the boys wouldn't get sick of each other and start fighting or something, and he got progressively droopy until, on the way home, we stopped at a Starbucks to get drinks and snacks and he didn't want cocoa or a cookie - that's feeling bad. Had I known that he was heading that way, we probably would have stayed closer to home, but at least he got to go somewhere fun and educational that he's never gone before.

So, I called her, and she said that she just gives him whatever she can afford, and that tomorrow we should call Boy's dad before we drop him off to make sure that the man is up, and not down at the garage working on his bike, but that 12:30 should be OK. If he doesn't answer, call her, and she'll call him and make him answer.

I'm sorry, WHAT? We will have had the boy for two days by then, and the man can't be up and waiting for his son, even if he knows EXACTLY what time at the crack of NOON we're going to be dropping him back off at home!? Especially when he's SICK, plus I think a little homesick, you can't, I dunno, CALL HIM to say goodnight, or call ME to make sure things are OK?!

I get so mad at people. Boy is a great kid, sweet and kind and polite. I know his next oldest brother, too, from school, and he's the same. They're both lagging in their school work, and I'm pretty sure they don't get enough attention at home. Their mom is missing several teeth, and dresses like a teenager. There are seven kids, plus the mother and her boyfriend, plus whatever other adults happen to be living with them at the time, in a townhouse the size of a two-story single-car garage. All of this together makes me want to call her back and say, you know what? We'll just keep him here.

I'm not mad that he's here. I like him very much, and I meant it when I told his mother that he's always welcome in our home. I'm pissed that his mother didn't think about where he could stay until an hour before she was leaving, and that there's so much I feel like he's missing out on. Sure, they have video games and movies (and two pit bulls, OMG), but the kid's never been to a museum or science center in his life, and he can't read. I'm annoyed that I feel like she was trying to guilt/dupe me into taking him, when I would have watched him anyway had she asked a week or two ago, like a normal parent, so I could have planned for him to be here. It pisses me off that he's going to go home to a guy who can't be bothered to be awake or away from his motorbike to greet him. Speaking of which, HE hasn't called to talk to Boy, either. Being financially poor is one thing; there's no shame in that. The mental and emotional poverty I'm sensing from this situation, though, is something else altogether.


Anonymous said...

OMG, that poor, poor kid. He's doomed, isn't he? I'm sorry for you for being taken advantage of, but happy he gets the opportunity to experience the good life.

The Workman Family said...

gawd, some people suck.

Marie Green said...

I think poverty is SO MANY LAYERS. Like the emotional stuff goes along with it b/c the adults are too worried about figuring out the next meal/getting away from the crazy uncle/trying to pay the heat bill that the other stuff isn't even on their radar. Not that you don't have good reasons to be frustrated... because you DO. Dealing with these situations are extremely frustrating for me too.

I am so glad the boy has your family- healthy, happy, educated people- to model a different type of lifestyle. You know, you hear stories all the time of people rising above their circumstances, and usually someone (a mentor, teacher, neighbor, or friend) was the one that made them believe in themselves. So, WAY TO GO!

Not Your Aunt B said...

OMG. I didn't know that actually...happened in a non-emergency case. How irresponsible (on so many levels!) of his mom. I feel bad for him and his siblings. We grew up poor but my parents were super involved and sacrificed so we could go to museums or take school trips. We were incredibly lucky that they had such a strong focus on us and our education.

Having said that, I remember the families that were involved in my life- that took me on Spring Break trips or made sure I was applying for scholarships or just participating in more regular social activities (with immigrants as parents they just don't know the system). It was so nice to go to a nicer house and do fun things and kinda see the other side. I am sure he loves coming to your house!

Good for you for taking the high road and giving so much of yourself.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

That's so sad. He's lucky that he has a neighbor like you, and I'm sure when he grows up, he'll remember the time he spent with your family as a bright spot in his life.

Nowheymama said...

I am so proud of you for doing the right thing. I admit that I probably would have said, "No!"

clueless but hopeful mama said...

You are a good person, a better person than me! I'm not sure I could have handled that or been as generous.

This is why I don't answer my phone on a Friday night!