Sunday, May 29, 2005

What Does It Take?

Today was our fam damily reunion. I got to see all of the people I normally only see at funerals and their kids, and their kids, and their kids. My 2nd cousin, Shannon, and I were talking about how our children, his two girls, Sydney and Regan, were playing with Nate and how... damn, that used to be us. Although I believe I had seen Shannon since our last family reunion over 10 years ago, I was not prepared for how deep his voice was or the fact he had two little ones. Even worse, what a piece of crap his hopefully-soon-to-be-ex-wife is. He was telling me how she had him arrested in front of his daughters on a trumped up domestic violence charge, how they had her on videotape locking the girls out of the house and the oldest, Syd, having to use the bathroom in the yard because she refused to open the door, no one being home when Syd gets home from school, and she’s tested positive for meth, etc. etc. Yet... they don’t have enough evidence to support a neglect and abuse petition. Exactly what does it take??? Syd can’t be more than six or seven years old and RayRay is even younger. Exactly what does it take??? So now Shannon has the girls four days a week and every holiday. He has them every holiday because his wife doesn’t want them. (Does this sound familiar?) He even has them Mother’s Day because she said that is her chance to get away from them. They appear to be very typical little girls and are well-behaved and well-mannered. Of course, I’m sure they can go at it, just as typical siblings do. Regan is more outgoing than Sydney but both are fairly talkative. In short, adorable. On our way to the cars, Regan came up beside of me and said, “I’m going home with you.” “You are?” “Yep. I’m coming to live with you.” “But Regan, I don’t have any little girl things. I only have boy stuff.” “That doesn’t matter. I’ll go to my mommy’s and get all my stuff from there.” If that doesn’t speak volumes, nothing does. “Well, I’m not really prepared for anyone to move in right now. I would have to make some plans for that.” “Oh no, I can come right now.” “Regan, we can visit each other, maybe at the park Daddy takes you to sometimes.” (They live about ten miles from me, although neither of us knew it.) Shannon intervened and told her she needed to get in the truck. Regan continued to chatter away at him as he closed the door. He turned around and said, “She said she’s not going to visit, she’s coming to live with you.” We laughed and I gave Shannon my number in case he wanted to call and we could take the kids to the park or he just needed an ear to bend. I will give him credit, knowing him growing up as I did, I never thought I would see him so responsible, mature, and, frankly, such a great dad. I know he’s made a lot of sacrifices to be in their lives. Let’s just say, when the price is right... Exactly, what does it take? ******************************************** If you would like to see the town I work in, please check out He’s a wonderful photographer.
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