So you think YOUR family is nutso…

Sometimes, when I get into a fight with another member of Clan Purvis (usually my brother or father), I think: “My God, I must have the craziest, most dysfunctional family on earth!” HAH! You better thank your lucky stars, the belly of Buddha, St. Whatshername, or the Great Goat of Gomorrah–whatever him or her you find holy–that you don’t have a family like my friend Melissa! Out of respect for her (and her children), I will leave out the last name(s) of those involved in this sordid tale, and slightly tweak the first names. But they live a few miles from Fort Payne in a charming little village we’ll call “Evesburg”.

Now, Melissa is a nurse. And from what I’ve seen, she’s not only competent, but a highly-skilled and genuinely caring member of that profession. She’s had some bad luck with members of my gender (possibly cosmically balanced-out by my bad luck with members of HER gender), but she’s come through scarred but smiling. She has 3 kids that are, well, kids. Imperfect (as are we all) but interesting.

Recently, I visited her home at a time of great crisis: her 13-year old son (who is a bright, good-natured kid with Asperger’s) had admitted that he’d been molested by a cousin living nearby. I imagine this is every parent’s worst nightmare. I remember how I felt when I discovered my girlfriend’s father (who I counted as a friend of mine, and with whom I had left my young son for brief periods during my 3-year long relationship with his daughter) was a pedophile who drugged and photographed his own youngest daughter and some of her friends.

The problem was, Melissa lives on family-owned property, and apparently her aunt Susanne and cousin Myshelle did not believe her son had been touched. They managed to convince Melissa’s grandfather that the incident not only DIDN’T happen, but was invented by the boy as an excuse to steal a go-kart and some toys from this 45-year old cousin who had–according to her son–held him down, removed some clothing, and fondled him.

The sick thing is (well, ONE of the sick things), this freakish man-child actually ADMITTED what he did…and Melissa’s family STILL didn’t believe her son! Not only that, but they threatened to put her and her children in the street if she dared to say anything! That’s when the story takes a turn into the Twilight Zone. Apparently, the hulking man-child who touched her son had purchased some toys to lure her son over to his house…including a go-kart that he couldn’t even get into. The creep’s elderly father and the offender give the kid the go-kart and some toys, and have the audacity to try to harass my friend at home and at work. The day I come up to her house, I have the misfortune to come up right as Melissa’s family is having a loud, public argument (in the front yard) with her oldest daughter’s boyfriend. Before you can say “My family is insane” I’m suddenly a part of the drama. Suddenly, the family is saying that the boyfriend, myself, and some other unnamed individuals are all members of the mafia, and we’ve somehow convinced Melissa’s autistic son to make up this  horrible story as some sort of “cover” in order to steal some toys. I guess we’re the toy mafia of northeast Alabama, now.

Now, OF COURSE there is more to the story. But if you really think about it, there is only ONE THING that matters: a child has been touched. And if your own FAMILY won’t believe and support you….well, let’s just say that my OWN family is looking much more supportive and “normal” by contrast.

I could blog a lot more about this subject, but it’s making me feel ill. I need to watch “The Sound of Music” or something else relentlessly happy to cleanse my soul before I think about this any further.

The moral to the story–if you can’t tell–is “maybe you really don’t have it so bad after all.”


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