Friday, January 17, 2014

my small friend Tim

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a very ugly relationship with my younger sister, Jessica.  I have not spoken to her since June of 2012, ever since the incident, and have no plans to speak with her anytime soon.  The downside of this relationship with her is the fact that I haven't been able to have a relationship with my nephew... until now :)

The Friday after Thanksgiving, Jessica dropped my nephew off at Michelle's house because  my younger sister had been kicked out of yet another one of her friends' houses - the fourth place she had been living in the last six months - and she needed to find a new place to live.  In the past month and a half since Timmy has been living with Michelle, I have largely benefit from the fact that my younger sister is such a trainwreck.  On November 30th, I got to spend time with my nephew.  It was the first time I had seen him (besides our brief encounter the night Natalie was born) since October of 2012.  Since the 30th of November, I have either physically seen him, talked to him on the phone or facetimed with him at least once a week. It has been awesome.  Brandon has been just as excited as me to be a part of the little man's life.  On the way to Michelle's house to watch the Iron Bowl, we had to stop to pick up formula.  Brandon went a little crazy and bought Timmy two huge toy trucks, a life-size Pooh and his first baseball glove.  Like I said, finally being able to be a part of his life has been awesome.  It has also been very tough emotionally.

Uncle Brandon & Timmy playing trucks :)

Pop-Pop Duckie reading to Timmy :)
Selfie with my little friends :)
My younger sister has been a less than stellar parent and it is terribly upsetting to see how emotionally, developmentally and physically stunted my nephew is. Don't get me wrong - Timmy is an awesome little boy, but he definitely has some difficulty and it's going to be a long road to get him where he needs to be.  He needs stability and nurturing.  He needs good, solid role models.  Michelle has taken on a huge task with him and she definitely needs to be commended for it.
love that little stinker :)

such a hambone :)

Michelle & Timmy after bath-time :)
In the past month and a half, Michelle has taken him to different doctors and specialists to see where Timmy stands as a small human.  As it turns out, at just two years old, Timmy has PTSD, severe sleep deprivation and serious night terrors.  He has not measurably grown since March of 2012 and he needs to see a speech therapist.  At twenty five months old, he is developmentally between 14-18 months old and some days that's being generous.  The lack of proper stimulation, education, nutrition and nurturing have taken a toll on my little friend.  We have also recently learned that Jessica tested positive for drugs in the hospital when both Timmy and Joie were born.  Regardless of the hardships and challenges he has faced and is still facing, Timmy is the sweetest little boy and to know him is to absolutely fall in love with him.  He loves his little cousin, Natalie, he worships the ground his Uncle Brandon walks on and he makes his Aunt Tori laugh with his goofy antics. He is a challenge some days and I am really impressed with how well Michelle is handling those days.  She says his good days make the bad ones seem not so bad.

All of these factors, along with my younger sister's inability to keep a stable job and living environment, played a role in Michelle's decision to file for sole legal custody of my nephew.  A decision I stand behind 100%.  To add to the situation, after two years of telling Darrin, and everyone else, that Darrin wasn't Timmy's father, Jessica filed for child support from him in November.  Michelle recently met up with Darrin and what we found out was incredibly upsetting. Darrin has spent the last two years trying to be a part of Timmy's life only to be lied to and pushed away.  The most hurtful part of it for me is that Jessica told Darrin that I wasn't a part of Timmy's life because my husband and I are racist and we are disgusted by the child because he is mixed. [Can we please take a minute to process this? My daughter's Godfather is black. Three of my husband's best friends from college are black. Two of my best co-worker-friends are black. But we are racist... riiiiight.] Darrin wants to be a part of Timmy's life and we all agree that he should be.  The icing on the cake is that Darrin signed all of the paperwork  supporting Michelle's decision to file for custody.

It's a tough situation to be a witness to.  Jessica thinks being a good parent is posting pictures of her children on facebook and saying publicly that she loves them. Michelle has been more of a parent to Timmy in a month than Jessica has in a very long time.  After giving birth to Natalie and really becoming a parent myself, the situation makes me even more upset.  Knowing all the ridiculous over the top things I want to provide for Natalie and do for Natalie on top of giving her the things that she needs and knowing that Timmy was never given some of his most basic needs makes me so angry.  Maybe it's just my opinion, but I think giving birth to a child absolutely makes you a mother, but giving that same child your time, love, guidance and the stability that he/she needs makes you a mom, or in Michelle's case an absolutely incredible, totally devoted aunt.

Here's to hoping that the courts agree with me and that they award Michelle custody of my small friend Tim, because I really love getting to watch him grow up.