In the past six-plus years, it has been impossible not to notice certain oddities and outright bizarreness of the children’s other home and the loose screw inhabitants of that residence. One thing I can’t help but notice is that Crow, at 42 years old, is constantly baby-sat.
Yes, baby-sat. As in, watched by an adult, just like a child.
Years ago, when Crow’s parents (with whom she still lives, pathetically enough) went out of town, a relative came to stay with Crow and the kids. The kids were matter-of-fact about it: the relative was there to watch Mama. Not them…her. They found nothing strange about it. Mama couldn’t be trusted alone.
It wasn’t the first, and certainly not the last, time that Crow was placed under the authority of a baby-sitter. It was just the first time that I was surprised by it. A supposedly grown woman allowing herself to be treated like a mindless, helpless toddler? Then again, when that supposedly grown woman is still having her diapers changed by her daddy well into her 40’s, I don’t imagine she has much pride (or say) left.
The other evening, Gary and I went to Hickville to watch Bear’s football game. I chuckled when I noticed that Uncle Fester, the bovine, bumpkin lunk desperate enough to be seen with Crow in public, was not stationed obediently at Crow’s side like a pointer dog…so her father (let’s call him Hitler, as it is rather fitting) was there in his place. Mind you, Hitler hasn’t bothered showing his curdled face at a single game all season. Coincidence he only pops up like a venereal disease when Uncle Fester isn’t there to serve as Crow’s nursemaid?
I have long thought Crow is beneath contemptible. She is everything I would hate to be: weak, immature, a liar, unambitious, selfish, insubstantial. But openly and unashamedly under the watch of a baby-sitter in public at a child’s game? It would be laughable if it wasn’t so pitiful.
This is what the children see each day as normal. They see their mother acting like and being treated like a doltish child, with even less sense and competence than an actual child. They see their mother cowering behind and cowing down to her father, all in the name of keeping the cash flow pulsing through her greedy fingers and staying in line for Hitler’s will.
While we were standing on the sidelines at this particular game, Dove was playing beside Gary and me when suddenly she snapped her head up with a nasty, hateful expression and bellowed across the field to Crow, “Mama! It’s time to feed the baby!” about her baby doll, which she had handed off to Crow earlier. She stomped off across the grass to bark more orders at her mother, and Crow did what exactly? Shut the fuck up and did exactly as she was told. By a 6-year-old.
Gary and I stood, frozen, unable at first to believe what we had just seen and heard. I can’t describe the contempt in Dove’s voice as she shouted at Crow, or the absolute subservience Crow displayed for Dove. It was evident Dove was not playing, and it was evident this was typical behavior between the two of them.
When Dove wandered back to us, she dropped the belligerent expression, softened her voice, and smiled at me. She went back to playing like nothing unusual had just happened.
And, in fact, it hadn’t. Dove is simply responding to what she sees, what she observes, about her mother. She has learned that her mother is not someone to be respected. She has learned that her mother is no more than a mindless twit. She has learned she can crudely boss around her own weak-willed mother, and she knows that at the age of 6, she has more authority than the so-called adults in her other household. It shows explicitly and boldly in her condescending attitude and scornful demeanor toward her mother.
I can’t blame her, actually. I have nothing but contempt for her mother, too.