Who’s in your extended family? How often do you see them? Who can you call when you’re in a pinch? Most families are spread far and wide these days, so when you need a parent, sibling, grandmother or grandfather to step in, you’re out of luck. But sometimes, the two linked households after a divorce and remarriage fill that function and it can be such a relief.
On Sunday night, I got a very calm call from my ex-husband David from the emergency room. He had cut his hand with a chainsaw (the very phrase makes me feel queasy) pretty badly, but was doing alright after two shots of morphine. I could hear Carol and Jacob (their four year-old) in the background. Since they live about an hour away from Austin, they needed to know if it was okay for Carol and Jacob to come over and hang out while they stitched up David’s hand (nerves, tendons and muscles had been severed).
Of course it was -- they’ve killed time here before while in town. I told David I was willing to do whatever they needed, whether that was watch Jacob, have him spend the night, make dinner, whatever....
Carol and Jacob opted instead to wait at the hospital, since they didn't know how long it was going to take. I got a report before they left for home and was happy to hear that David had the most positive prognosis possible (trying saying that really fast three times), given that type of injury: no loss of mobility -- only permanent numbness from half his pinky finger on up and perhaps the inability to stick his pinky finger out sideways.
“How’re you going to properly drink tea from now on?” I teased him.
Now imagine what this whole situation might have been like if we hadn’t all gotten along. No easy place for Jacob to stay and go to sleep, if need be. The stress of a strained phone call, where I'd be asked to pass along information to our daughters -- or even the lack of a phone call altogether.
As it was, I was one of the first people they called because our little dual-family dynamic means that we operate as each other’s extended families.
I’m incredibly grateful for this....
(Sorry for the picture-less posts - haven't been able to upload an image to Wordpress for the last three weeks! Any advice appreciated.)
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