(also at EAD)
I’m not inviting my dad to the wedding. Let alone having him walk me down an aisle. He’s alive, well, and lives two miles away. But if he shows up uninvited, the ushers are also bouncers.
He was by all appearances a good dad. He went to work five days a week, church on Sundays, and seemed perfectly normal. Unless you lived with him, and then it was no good at all.
When I was in college, circumstances changed and it seemed worth another chance. Which did not go all that well. So I changed a few more things and for some time we maintained the kind of Christmas and Thanksgiving relationship that sort of gets you out of being a complete orphan.
Two years ago DJ and I moved in together, and three months after that my dad failed again, this time with my little brother. He was eighteen at the time, so when my dad called to tell me that the kid was homeless, I was absolutely concerned. Crying in frustration and anger, concerned.
But really, this isn’t a story about my dad at all, or even my brother. It’s about DJ. He handed me a Red Stripe and asked what we could do. We. What we did was bring my brother to live with us, and for a year and a half DJ was as generous as he would have been with his own brother. Maybe more. More than anyone would have expected. It was enough to get my brother on his feet, with savings and a plan and (still) a key to our house. DJ has never once made anyone feel bad about this; it was just the thing to do and we did it.
My dad, by the way, has never admitted the utter crappiness of his actions. Or thanked either of us for pinch-hitting as parents, to the possible detriment of our relationship. (We were actually pretty good, and our relationship hasn’t seemed to suffer.) So my dad is out of chances. DJ is very diplomatic. If there are sides, he is always on mine. I know he thinks the current plan in the best one, but if I changed my mind he’d support that too.
That “for better or for worse” thing is no joke. Things can get worse and worse and worse, until you can’t remember when things were better. It’s really good to have someone to hand you a Red Stripe and get to work on a solution. It’s really good to be on the same team.