Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Things We Do For Love

Day 26 of abstaining

It was 6:30 Friday morning and I was at my usual park for my morning gambol. My head was bent and my eyes are darting back and forth and I’m stopping to study every mud puddle I come across. I am steadfast in my pursuit. Finger to my lips, “Be vewy, vewy quiet. Because I’m out hunting. I’m not hunting wabbit, though, I’m hunting those bug-eyed, slimy, wart-pissin’ creatures we call frogs.” Why? Because my grandson wants one, that’s why. Nuff said.

Every summer during my “tween” years my dad would organize a frog hunt. It was a boys only expedition that consisted of a half dozen of my dad’s friends, theirs sons, and a couple of our home town minor league baseball players that stayed with us during the summer. They would head out on a Friday evening in a caravan of a couple of cars and Tommy Hines pickup camper loaded down with kids, and frog gigs and coolers full of pop and beer and a few of my dad’s bottles of homebrew thrown in. They’d return in the wee hours of the morning with the adults sporting hangovers, Tommy’s pickup camper sporting inexplicable dents in the side, and at least one kid sporting a gigged foot. As I look back, I wonder why I was always jealous of my brothers who got to go. A few days later we would have a big frog leg fry in our backyard, the mothers would load our picnic table down with potato salad, deviled eggs and chocolate cake, the dads would drink beer and we kids would run wild, relishing the rare furlough from our parents’ watchful eyes. I loved those nights. They are one of the treasured memories of my childhood. Unfortunately, while for my parents and their friends those nights were a once a summer special celebration, as an adult I tried to replay those good times on a nightly basis until they were anything but special.

But back to my own amphibian quest. You see, I love my grandson beyond measure and would do just about anything in my power to make him happy even if that included carrying a squirming, sticky-slick creature across the park to where he was conducting his own search. That’s always been the case, or so I tell myself, but then I remember last summer. There was a recent post on the mmlist from a father who had left his 2 yr. old daughter alone asleep at his home while he ran down the street to the convenience store to get some beer….again. His first post to the list was several months ago and it detailed the exact same scenario, his wife found out that he had left his daughter alone and he was in deep shit and was feeling like shit. Well, it was déjà vu all over again. Here is my response to him.

I thought someone resurrected your old post when I read this for the first time. Oh JC, I have to admit I was disgusted when I read you left your daughter again, I thought, "Doesnt' he know what could happen in five minutes?" I know you do know what could happen but that damn lizard convinced you that it was more important than your daughter, that old lizard whispered, "Nothing bad will happen." I tend to get very judgmental when I have a few sober days under my belt which explains my knee jerk reaction to your post, then I remembered about a year ago when I had my 6 yr. old grandson to myself up at my cabin. I thought he would be a great incentive to keep me sober. Yeah, right. It started out okay. I had a few cocktails the first night and we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and told ghost stories. The next day we fished out of the stream, Grandma was a little hungover so she nursed wine all day. By the third day Grandma was wasted and by the fourth day I was sick and suffering those lovely palpitations wondering if my six year old grandson would know how to call 911 and tell emergency crews how to get to us. Nothing "bad" happened that week either but it damn sure could have and if it had I would have I'd never be able to live with myself. My grandson is staying with me again right now and I will not be drinking, last years visit taught me that my grandson means too much to me to throw him into the pot when I'm gambling with the lizard.

I didn’t receive a response from JC but I did receive several pm’s from people thanking me for posting my response. One was even from another grandmother who had made the decision to join Moderation Management after an incident when she passed out while babysitting her granddaughter. She had put the child down for a nap and woke up to the baby red-eyed and crying, the grandmother had no idea how long the child had been awake. I posted another post to JC.


I don't know if you are still reading the posts on this lists but I wanted you to know that I have received several private messages in response to my post. You are not the only one that has screwed up and put people you love at risk. You have been given the opportunity to change your actions now before there is any damaging memories for your daughter, your wife or you to live with. My grandfather was a mean drunk Kraut and I remember my mother telling me of a time he chased her and my grandmother with a knife. They had to hide from him in a shed. That is the memory that stuck with me as a young girl and I lived in fear of that man. A few years ago one of my mother's cousins told me another story of how my grandfather had stayed up all night rocking a very ill child of one of his relatives, I'm sure that was my "real" grandfather but I never got to know him because the "real" him was overshadowed by the monster that overpowered him when he drank. I want the people I love to be able to remember the "real" me.

So today I’m out there doing my best to keep it “real” and thanking God that my oldest son, the much idolized “Uncle Josh” has arrived to r


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