[Quiet Thoughts] The Good Fight

Photo: I’m sure there is a perfectly good explanation for why the yard has disturbed places like this. However, my whimsical mind wants to believe the fox and other animals had a dance around the dormant fire pit last night, enjoying a quieted world and a clear sky. I took this photo this morning, and good thing I did. Right now, my yard is covered in a half inch of snow.


I’ll tell you what: it’s mighty difficult to get creative when the world is covered in yet another blanket of snow. It’s charming and adorable or whatever around the holidays. It’s sufferable during the designated “cold” months. I know that I wrote about trying for awe and finding my appreciation for the winter season. I had my moments. But now, it’s Spring. I fiend for color.

The cherry blossoms are out back home. There were live streams of the bloom on my facebook feed. I shed a tear or two every single year when I see them. It feels so unfair that the rest of the universe gets Spring and we’re all sitting up here just waiting and waiting. Spring is the most unsatisfying of the New England seasons: it’s not as colorful as in other places, it’s certainly not as warm, and it’s brief. Summer does indeed come and it is glorious and it lasts. Autumn is the beloved season. Winter is powerful and long in duration, it brings on the “heartiness” everyone around here is so proud of. Winter earns you something. But Spring? It’s just so terribly meh.

Ok, ok… I’m sorry, I’m bitter. That was all bitter talk.

Truth be told, bitterness has been the main feeling of the week. I was planning a lovely beach vacation at the Outer Banks in July and it has to be cancelled. I was so desperate for a “real” vacation that I decided to plan one with my in-laws, with each of us investing a pretty penny but getting a week in a luxury ocean-front beach house as a result. My in-laws aren’t my favorite people, but anyone can be endured when sun, beach and booze are present. Besides, the boys would be able to spend the week with their cousins. It was going to be pretty magical for them and thus tolerable for me.

Well… my brother-in-law decided to blow up his marriage. Without getting too much into the catastrophic details, it’s a complete and total mess. The four children that my brother- and sister-in-law produced are displaying signs of trauma. My brother-in-law is on a kamakaze mission for his life. My sister-in-law seems to be paralyzed.

Exposing my two children to that would be incredibly irresponsible. That’s assuming the brother- and sister-in-law even make it to the beach, which I don’t think they would. But let’s just say they made it. It would be so irresponsible to expose my two boys to that.

I said as much in a carefully worded email to all parties. I detailed the money, the prospects and, most importantly, the exposure of this adult situation on the children–4 of whom are already being exposed, 2 of whom have not, need not and should not be.

The response was, frankly, incredible: My mother- and father-in-law want us all to go down to North Carolina and play pretend. “Is it so hard to believe we can do this with good behavior? If we can, all the kids will benefit.”

I have been waiting for wisdom for well over a decade. It has yet to be found.

The Husband has decided to remain as neutral as possible. As you can imagine, him not standing on the same shore as I am is causing a bit of tension. But that’s okay because:

I’m thinking clearly.

My name is on the lease.

I’ve got the power.

This ish is canceled.

We all lose our deposit. If I act fast, we might not be liable for the remaining portion of the vacation that we still owe. No matter what though, the most heartbreaking thing about it all is that I have to tell my two boys they aren’t getting the big beach vacation we were all looking forward to. We all really could have used the R&R. I’m pissed they are being punished because my brother-in-law is the worst kind of person. (All 6 of the children are suffering here. His children most of all. It’s just… disgusting… what my brother-in-law has done.)

My Quiet Thoughts this week are about fighting the good fight. I told the few people I’ve given the full story to that I feel like one of those people on a corner downtown holding a sign that says “The End Is Near.” Everyone is treating me like I’m crazy. No one wants to listen. No one wants to see me. But I know. I know, Dear Reader. It’s a crappy, stupid position. All I’ve been trying to do is the right thing.

Fighting the good fight is hard, it’s often thankless, and many times it ultimately comes with more loss than gain. But, my God, it’s still worth fighting. What matters is that we show up and say our piece, serve our blows and, yes, even take our licks. Some of us are fighting good fights that are extraordinarily public and require bravery and risk. Others of us are fighting private good fights, that come with risks that are more intimate, but just as important.  To boldly stand between my two young boys and the absolute insanity happening in the family is worth every ounce of the fight.

I’m here for it. I know my ideas have consequences. I’m here for it all anyway.

It’s an evening after a daytime snow. The sun is setting in a glorious concert of orange and purple on the western horizon. The half-inch or so of snow that fell is already melting off of the trees and roofs. The cold remains, outstaying its welcome, but it will leave. We know it will. I had two encounters with my fox this week. The kits must be impending or just born. He saw me and my boys, ran away, but always stopped to watch us. “I knew your mama and probably your mama’s mama,” I told him. “We’ve a long accord. Don’t worry about us. Take care of your babies.” He watched us and we walked on. I can’t wait to see the babies emerge from under the barn when the weather gets a little warmer.

It’s Friday, Dear Reader. Fridays are inevitable, but some of them are hard won. This is one of them. It’s a Friday to stop and breathe, to assess and retool. I have wishes for that, because Fridays are for wishes. May a few come true for you, Dear Reader. First, I wish you color. Lord, I wish you so much color, Dear Reader. Head out to a florist if you have to. Get a bouquet and bring it home. Find something alive and blooming and beautiful this weekend, Dear Reader, and treasure it. Matter of fact, I wish you two kinds of color: the living and the created. Head to an art museum or dance studio or theater if you can this weekend, Dear Reader. Even if it’s a free public performance somewhere at a mall, I don’t even care: experience color this weekend, Dear Reader. Be the Spring we’re yearning for! I wish you colorful food, too: light and fresh plates filled with tender new veggies. Indulge in the deep flavors of roasted meat (observing too, of course, the rich color), but try to balance that deep winter taste with something new and fresh from this season. Give in to the temptation of a pastel pastry made with enticing spring color schemes. I wish you balance, so if we’re exciting the senses of sight and taste, do stimulate your ears as well: a new audiobook, a new album, simple birdsong through an open window. Ah, I suppose I must wish you touch as well: I wish you a hug that is tight and warm that lingers for a good moment. We all need one of those.

When you’re fighting the good fight, I believe your light shines at its brightest. You are so loved, Dear Reader, and there are people who admire you more than you could possibly know. Even when you aren’t able to share your fight and no one else can help you, it doesn’t mean you aren’t seen, and it doesn’t mean that what you are doing doesn’t matter. Fight on and shine on, Dear Reader. Be the example so others will feel brave enough to do the same.

Until Monday, Dear Reader, take care.



13 Comments Add yours

  1. Tikeetha T says:

    Take control of your situation the best way you see fit. I wouldn’t want to put my son in the middle of adults having a breakdown. It’s too much.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Right!?!?? Exposure for the children matters. I’ve just decided to be a Whole Bitch about this. Ya’ll ain’t gonna move me into your craziness. I’m gonna be right here with my kids holding down the stability. If ya’ll don’t want to follow, that’s your own fault. It’s a lonely position, but it’s the one I’m taking.

      1. Tikeetha T says:

        Exactly. I totally agree with that. We need to protect our children from trauma and craziness as much as we can. Are they mad though?

        1. K.C. Wise says:

          Ain’t they always? ? My mother in law is playing the victim. She has used the same act for over a decade and I think everyone sees it for what it is. We will all live. Or we won’t. I don’t care.

  2. Selene Smith says:

    Yesterday, looking out at I-90 toward New Balance’s spaceship of a building, I cursed the amount of snow falling. I, too, am looking forward to the Spring, for the color, for a tinge of warmness. And yes, we New Englanders sure do like to let you know how hearty we truly are.

    I wanted to say how sorry I am to read what your family is going through. If I were in your position, I would have done the same thing (not that it matters what I would do but maybe an internet stranger might make you feel less isolated). I have found when we try to be on our our best behavior, that we often fail because emotions and hurt and pain are strong motivators.

    Hopefully soon we’ll all be enjoying more color and warmth in this dreary landscape!

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      That New Balance building is…. something…. I’ve only driven by it twice and I’m like… uh… what?

      And now with Marathon Monday coming with cold and rain, it just feels worse and worse, doesn’t it? Is it selfish to want more out of a season? It is, isn’t it? I know it’s not right to complain this much.

      Thank you for the affirmation about the family situation. It’s hard to feel alone. Especially when you’re just telling the truth. It’s hard to speak truth and doing so comes with consequences. Being an adult… so difficult, yeah?

      Is this your first time posting here? If so, welcome, welcome! I’m grateful you’ve popped in to read and thank you for commenting!

      1. Selene Smith says:

        This IS my first time posting! I forget why you came across my feed on WordPress but I’m glad I stopped in. I quite enjoy your writing, and reading another Massachusett’s author is lovely (and affirming to see the same struggles I am experiencing, as you state in your latest post).

        Yes, I would have to agree being an adult is difficult (I can’t imagine adding children to the mix!). I hope it all works out between everyone; familial relationships are strenuous and lovely and chaotic and trying and joyful.

        Thankfully I’ll be on a train coming back from NYC on Marathon Monday, although arriving into South Station at the height of rush hour traffic in the evening is not something I am looking forward to. I do wish there was more of a Fall season, to be sure.

        Thanks for replying and keep up the good writing!

  3. Trish says:

    I hope you got to take your own advice and find some color this weekend. Maybe something bright and fantastic on the needles, or a blazing cross stitch. I recently drove by a church with a front lawn covered in crocuses and other spring bulbs. I’ll be planting my own sea of bulbs this year as a gift to me in spring 2019. Have you noticed how much louder it is outside now? The color comes slowly, but the birds and the frogs are making a glorious noise.

    It’s incredibly lonely to have the people you love telling you you’re over reacting, worrying for no reason etc. It sounds like the in-laws don’t want to believe their child could be causing such pain; I’m assuming the brother-in-law is their son. Maybe they don’t want to think him capable of it. Maybe if it’s really as bad as it is, they fear their hearts will break. Maybe they worry that they did something wrong in raising him. Whatever the details, they are trying to hide.

    You are being the good Mama Bear and protecting those cubs, from the dangers you know are there. Trust your instincts. I wouldn’t be surprised if given some time, the Husband comes around to your way of thinking. He may be struggling with his own disbelief or desire not to see his brother in this new way.

    In the mean time, keep doing what your heart tells you is right. And when the cubs aren’t around, go ahead and rage at the moon, howl, because the situation sucks and you didn’t do anything to make it that way.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you for this affirmation! Lord do I need it! It’s REALLY hard to not feel like you’re the crazy one sometimes. Telling the truth is HARD and it ALWAYS comes with consequences. Lordy, Lord!

      I want to hear more about your bulbs! What are you planting!?

  4. Miriam Joy says:

    I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with all that 🙁 It sounds like avoiding exposing the kids more is a good decision, though, but it can’t have been easy. Sending good wishes and hoping it gets resolved without further catastrophes!

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you, my dear. I so appreciate that. But I should be sending YOU good vibes! You’re the one with so much going on!

      1. Miriam Joy says:

        Well, I got my dissertation in (two days early) so at least that’s over now!

        1. K.C. Wise says:

          Hey heeeeeeeeeyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!!!

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