First thing this morning, all of the kids were loaded up into my SUV to head towards the Club. R. had camp again, and my son actually got his butt up out of bed bright and early this morning, so he could go there and hang out with his friends. When S. and I arrived back home after dropping them off, she finished with her breakfast, and I got her settled in to watch a video. The plan was to check my e-mails first, then start in on finishing up laundry, and then, since it's been beautiful out today, take her to the park for a bit before I pick up the kids.
While I was on the computer, the phone rang. From the caller ID, I could tell that it was my husband's cousin's husband's number. Now, mind you...we don't talk to most of his family AT ALL anymore (and believe me when I tell you, that's one LONG story!), with few exceptions. But, we never had anything against this particular cousin. In fact, I always liked her, and her mother (my husband's aunt -- his mother's sister -- who is also his Godmother). But, we still didn't talk much to her, either... mostly because we all had our own lives, and she had a LOT of issues to deal with.
So, when we got a random letter from her a few months back, we knew that the contents had to be pretty darn important. She wrote to let us know that her mom had passed away, after a long illness. My husband called her as soon as he got home from work that evening, found out the details of his aunt's services, and wound up going a few days later. That was the first time he'd seen anyone in his family in six years.
His cousin called again a few weeks later, to tell Stephen that she was dealing with her own health issues (she'd ALWAYS been sickly, all of her life, with some rare disease that came and went), and she was getting so incapacitated that she could no longer take care of her 16-year-old daughter. She asked if we would be willing to take her in.
My husband and I talked quite extensively about it, and I prayed about it. A LOT. We both finally agreed to do take her in, even though she was virtually a stranger to us. We thought it would be better for her to be brought into a "normal" home, rather than have her face any of the other consequences. I told him it would just kill me to find out that that poor girl, who'd lived with so much pain and suffering to begin with, would wind up being stuck in some foster home, with people who were only taking her in to get her money for their own gain, or abusing her in some way. I didn't think I could live with that.
He called his cousin back once we'd made our decision, but at that point, she said that she'd made arrangements for her daughter to go and live with her best friend for awhile. My husband told her that the offer was still on the table, and if anything changed, to call him and let him know.
That was about six months ago.
So... when I saw his cousin's husband's name come up on the caller ID today, I thought for sure it had something to do with the daughter. I let the call go to the machine because 1) This man is VERY long-winded (and we all know what it's like to try and talk to someone on the phone with a three-year-old around), and 2) if it was an issue involving the young lady, I thought it was my husband's place to have that discussion about her, not mine.
The message that was left on our machine had nothing to do with the daughter, however. He called to say that my husband's cousin passed away, and that he wanted us to call him back as soon as possible.
I immediately called my husband on my cell phone, and played the message back to him so he could hear it. He called me back as soon as he finished up with his service call, got the telephone number, and his cousin's husband.
In the meantime, I was trying my full-best not to bawl my eyes out, especially when S. handed me a paper-doll like sticker that she put together for me and wanted to hang up on my wall. I told her she could hang it on my bedroom door instead, and she went off to try and put it on my door. She came back a few minutes later, crying and saying she'd ripped her sticker. I told her not to worry, I'd fix it for her.
I went into my room with her, and asked her to go and get another piece of paper from the scrap drawer, in an attempt to get her out of sight so I could take my tape and the scissors out of the top drawer of my dresser (I have to hide these items, 'cause my kids would use a roll of tape a DAY if I allowed it, and scissors and R. just don't mix). I fixed her sticker, put a piece of tape on the top of the paper for her so she could go hang it on my door, then turned my back to try and slip the scissors and tape back into my drawer unnoticed.
My husband called me back when he finished his conversation with his cousin's husband. I was so engrossed with the information he was relaying to me that I didn't realize at first just how QUIET S. had gotten. I called out her name, and got no response. I called again. More silence. I was just on the verge of getting up to see where she was (and more importantly, what she was into), when she came running out from my room, into the dining room, telling me "See, Mama? I got all of the yuckies out of my hair!" She was holding the right side of her hair in her hand, so I couldn't immediately see, and I FREAKED OUT when I finally saw what she meant.
SHE GOT A HOLD OF MY SCISSORS AND CUT OFF ABOUT FOUR INCHES OF HER HAIR!!!!!
My poor husband... here he was, all mournful and upset over the loss of his cousin, and I just about lost my freakin' mind, especially when I went into my bedroom and saw the huge pile of hair on the floor, and another pile on top of my dresser. I started sobbing... her beautiful hair was ruined, and there was no way to blend the cut section in anywhere... she'd chopped it off from the side all the way around the back. The only thing left to do was to cut it completely off.
I'm heartsick over it, but thankfully, her hair grows back quickly!
When I was finally able to calm down enough to actually LISTEN to what my husband had to tell me, he informed me that his cousin's husband asked if we could possibly give (loan) him $1,300 for her service expenses! Neither one of them had/has any money, and the husband said he'd already tried calling all of the other members of the family to ask them for the loan, and we were the ONLY ones who called him back! NO ONE ELSE seemed to either care, or want to bother! He said that he had a service scheduled for my husband's cousin for tomorrow, but if he can't come up with the $1,300, he might have to cancel it until a later date.
My heart just broke for him, but we don't have that kind of money, either. Shoot, I had to cut my daughter's hair myself, 'cause we don't even have the $12 bucks to take her to my girlfriend's salon to get it cut! If I did have it, I'd give it to him in a minute, though.... no questions asked. I wouldn't even want it back. Everyone deserves a decent service.
The moral of this?
1) My husband's family just plain SUCKS!
2) My little one now looks like Suri Cruise! (And shhhhhhh...don't tell her I said this, but she looks adorable with her new "bob"!)