Where the hell have I been? Well, right here really. I was sitting on my new couch, which I bought for staging my home to sell it. It’s an awesome midcentury modern sorta thing, new from Ikea. It comfortably seats five. I was sitting on it, alone, thinking about selling my house... remembering the day my youngest sister first arrived. Her headlights shone through the windows in our front door, with its angled glass refracting the light and dispersing it like pixie dust. I dropped my fork and ran out the door, up the outside garden stairs to meet her. It was like destiny had arrived. I hugged her, so excited that a piece of my mom would be with me for an indefinite amount of time. Her hair was so incredibly soft, I remember thinking that college kids must have the hookup on good hair or good shampoo, or maybe its in the college ramen diet. She told us about her drive, her final exams, job prospects.... And honestly I wasn’t listening. I was in my head the whole time... she was in the background of the awesome intro to my horrible tragedy. The monologue in my head that resounded over all the other noise went like this:

This is my home, and it has my family, and people really do care about us, and my kids will have an aunt. And in two days, my in-laws will move in and my kids will have grandparents, and I will have parents in-law that support me rather than judge me. And maybe this place and its stories will be so awesome we will convince my brother tol come, and the hurt I know he has felt will be something that can heal in this space... because this house holds my family and that is magical. This place is magical.

To fast forward in my movie: Low and behold my in-laws moved in, and so did my brother. My brother got along well with everyone. My sister went with me everywhere... until she didn’t. Until she hid her phone when she was typing so that I knew she was intentional about hiding things from me. I had never even tried to look at her phone before. Until she was angry that I got a bottle of wine that I didn’t offer to share with her, because Drew and I had saved it to sip on the patio one starry night. She was pissed when she woke up to find a half bottle of wine that she was not invited to share when I opened it. She was pissed that I told her I would need to know what time she’d be home so I didn’t stay up and worry about her after one, and wake up and freak the fuck out that my front door is opening at 2am. My front door is between my room and my kids’ room. When that door opens and wakes me up, I’m gonna slice the bitch who gets closer to my kids than I am. My brother was a peace keeper, not wanting to say anything negative about anyone, always helping around the house or playing with my kids. My mother-in-law telling me to set better boundaries.

Fast forward further: My sister moved out and pretended to give a shit about me until she didn’t. Until I called her out on her absence from my kids’ lives, and told her that unless I initiated a conversation, I wouldn’t hear from her for months on end. My brother moved out, and would stop by every once in a while, when invited for free food. He stopped interacting with my kids after a while. Now he responds to texts, and still comes if I offer to have him over for dinner. But I’m sick of it. He has his own place, and could totally have time with his nephews for a board game or video game. He could call them, or email them. They miss him. And in case you’ve missed my last posts, I ended up needing to set stricter boundaries with my in-laws. They didn’t like it, and announced in anger that they’d be moving out, to the house next door, and that I now owned this house that comfortably housed 8, to simply sit on this large couch alone. I could see in my mind the space my brother was supposed to sit next to my husband, and the space for me and my sister. I could see the chairs where I wished my in-laws sat, and the open space on the floor where the kids should be rolling around. The little girl from our failed adoption would be 8-9 months old by now. She should be here too. And then I couldn’t write. I couldn’t reach out for help. I sat there, locked inside myself for weeks, playing my movie. I wanted to call my bestie, and tell her I couldn’t stop crying at everything. I wanted to ask for a hug. And yet, she always has her shit together and I couldn’t fathom dumping on her. I never have my shit together.

In those dark weeks, my other sister visited, with the boyfriend who is grieving the loss of a miscarriage, after he told my sister to abort that baby or he’d leave her. They played happy. Thank god they brought their sweet daughter who lit up my life, because I couldn’t otherwise have handled the rest. They lied about stupid things. They spent all day shopping for houses. They’d tell me they would be visiting in an hour, and four or five hours later show up with gifts for my kids and pretend I hadn’t been waiting for hours. They would say they couldn’t stoop low enough to buy a home in a town that had a trailer park. (WTF town in the USA doesn’t have a trailer park?) When we suggested they rent, so they could get their business set up in a different state and have good income before purchasing, my sister said “it’s okay, we’ll just pay cash”. My sister lives in a house SHE describes as condemnable. The floors are not level, and a bedroom upstairs has a floor you can’t walk on because the sinking spot in the middle indicates that you might fall through the floor. It has mice. There isn’t drywall or even insulation in parts. Her pipes freeze every winter. She called me one time saying the deck had just collapsed and she wasn’t sure if the rest of the house would fall. If they could spend 275k on the houses they were looking at in cash, I don’t imagine she would’ve called me crying so many times about the home built in 1850 with structural issues she currently inhabits and can’t afford to fix. Just my thought. I nearly gagged out loud after choking on the bullshit.

Luckily, life stepped up to distract me from this bullshit. We got a contingent offer on our house. We got the offer while my sister and her mister were sitting on this couch, and I wanted nothing more than for them to get off the couch and let me sit on this extra-large couch with my good news, alone. Not a single family member has provided any sort of honest reciprocal relationship during our time in this home. So now that we won’t have this home anymore, I just want everyone to get the fuck out. Stay off my couch. This couch is for my kids and my husband.

And now, I’m not crying. I’m ready to start packing... as soon as I finish sitting alone on my couch.