There’s gonna be a whole lotta crazy happenin’ here come July

It’s not fair! My dad will meet his grandchildren and my mom never will. I feel like I’m betraying her. My husband told me yesterday, my dad and Betty can visit us, they can stay at our house before and after the weight loss convention in Sparks. There’s gonna be a whole lotta crazy happenin’ around here. Betty and my dad are hoarders, but that’s a story I’ll let my brother tell. She calls my dad, “Daddy” in her New England accent, which is a pretty cool accent. She’s a tough woman, but sweet, “sneaky though” Alan says. She’s from New Hampshire, a beautiful, rugged, state with harsh winters and a devastated economy. Can I just say that? Or do I need to look up statistics and sight details? (To be safe: “Talking about New Hampshire’s economy as a whole is tricky business. That’s in part because the states culturally- and often economically- distinguished by its regions.”)  Betty comes from a former paper mill town. There’s really nothing there and tweak has infiltrated, always does in places like this. I was talking to the lady who lives in my dad’s cabin, way up north from Betty’s town. She told me the tweakers have taken over the whole area. I couldn’t believe it. Way up in the mountains, by rivers and lakes. How could people even get drugs up there? I guess they’re making it. She said they go around and look for cabins no one lives in and steal silver and anything else they can sell.

My grandpa bought the cabin as a vacation home, a getaway from Long Island. My grandma loved it there. Danny and I went there as kids in the summers. There was a “babbling brook” with a smooth rock slide and swimming hole. Danny and I made boats with clothes pin people to float in the water. My grandma always made pancakes and had fresh New Hampshire maple syrup, that’s what most people probably think about when they think of New Hampshire, the maple syrup. Or maybe blueberries or wild strawberries, there was a meadow on a hill behind the cabin where they grew. The last time we were there my grandma didn’t come, she was too sick. It was just Danny, me and our grandpa. He wanted us to work. I spent more time drinking, dancing at the bar downtown, and making out with Patrick in the mud on the side of the river, the guy who helped my grandpa chop and stack wood for the winter. The creek on the property was almost all dried up and the mosquitos were insane. The work had to be done before they came out in the morning. It had got kinda depressing there. One day Danny and I road our bikes to the Canadian border. We had so much fun and thought it was the coolest thing we’d ever done.

My Dad lives at the cabin now. The hog weed has taken over, there’s piles of trash and rats. The roof leaks.

Our grandma and grandpa had stepped in for our dad. They helped my mom out (Sort of) and they made sure to force my dad to write us the occasional letter or give us the occasional phone call. Johnny, the sailor. “He’s a much better sailor than driver.” My god mother Alyce once told me. He can navigate the seas but on land he’s a hoarder and second runner up for a weight loss competition. He should have stayed out to sea, but he squandered away everything. He’s gone through many boats, ones he was going to fix up. I don’t know. Maybe I’m making a mistake letting him into my life like this. What if I can’t get rid of him? My mom always told me, “Don’t trust your dad, he’ll never change.”

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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist