Okay we’re back. I’m not trying to test anyone’s patience, I promise.

My kids came back from their mom’s pretty emotionally broken. They were oddly robotic when I picked them up at the end of last month. I found myself forcing even minimal conversation out of them for most of the journey back, really unsure as to why. But I knew something was off. We spent about 4 days with my family after that since we may not see them until Christmas 2020. Drive back took an entire day, and I’m guessing the drudge of it just exhausted them to the point of finally cracking when we showed them their rooms. Every time I had asked them how their two months at mom’s was and what they did… every answer was “Fine” or “Good” or “Not much.”

This was the first time they spent all summer at mom’s instead of only five weeks. They just experienced the new extended stay. Apparently it was not a fun experience.
I pulled my kids one at a time into a separate room to ask what was going on. My 10 year old son painted the typical rosy picture. Rainbows and unicorns just shooting out of the toilet over there at moms. He’s like that. He doesn’t like to cause waves. It’s his nature.

12 year old daughter was more candid. Her mother lives with and supports her own mother “Memaw.” Memaw is a disability scammer, among many other scammer hats she wears, and has been since I’ve known her. Recently lost her Western Union privileges for running frequent, suspicious, and convoluted money order schemes. She has resigned herself to being a shut in in her own room of their condo. My ex pays for everything, which leaves me with virtually no child support since her own mother is now her dependent… on top of my ex’s third child, a 5 year old, who’s not mine. He stays there full time. Welp, Memaw is a ghost. She literally says no words to any of the kids. Doesn’t make them food. Doesn’t do anything other than leave sporadically. My ex works 2 jobs as a waitress and lab tech, so the kids are home alone. A LOT. 

Memaw’s there, but ‘in spirit.’ And by spirit, I mean some kind of demonic one.
There was a ton to unpack. Me and Claire both spent the next 10 hours talking to the kids, and into the following days.

My children’s half sibling has a serious heart condition. He’s also been diagnosed with seizure activity in his brain.
Memaw has been diagnosed with a serious heart condition and high blood pressure. If she misses her meds, she has been told she could die. This was also told to my kids. My kids, while there, were assigned the duties of reminding Memaw to take her own meds. They were also the full time babysitters of Caden, the one that could seizure at any moment.

So, to tl;dr this.. a typical day in the life of my kids being at their mom’s:
Memaw could die.
Their 5 year old brother could die.
They’re in charge of meds.
They have no home phone or means to call anyone in case of an emergency.
They don’t know what a heart attack, stroke, or seizure look like if they were to see it.
They have no idea what to do, and they’re scared out of their minds.

They have a grandmother who locks herself up in her own room when she’s there. She does not talk to them.
Lily to me: “I don’t even know who Memaw is anymore.”
She doesn’t make the kids food.
“One time we got excited Memaw was going to make dinner, but she just made something for herself and went back upstairs.”
The kid’s diet was a daily routine of cereal and pizza rolls. They were limited to microwave only food. And this was apparently when they had food. Sometimes they were told they weren’t allowed to even eat anything.

So.. where’s mom? She can’t literally work 24/7?
No, mom would leave around 3-4am, and not be back until around 8 or 9pm. Damn! That’s a lot of working. No wait… mom’s out getting her nails done or at her boyfriend’s. At the local makeup store buying Kylie Jenner’s $50 sticks of lipstick. Or as Lily said “Sometimes she goes to bars. She took me once.” Okay.. so does mom make food? Maybe a late dinner? Spend time with you?
“No. She brings us Little Caesars sometimes. She never makes anything.”
But what does she do when she gets home?
“She drinks a lot. One time I guess she was passed out, but her eyes were open. We were really scared. We thought she was dead.”

This is on top of Lily saying she has to remove her siblings from certain situations where mom is violently throwing things. “I had to pull them out of the room. I didn’t want them to get hit or like.. involved somehow.” 
So mom is frustrated all the time?
“I can’t tell what mood mom is in most of the time. I can’t tell if she’s happy, or mad or sad. She took me out to eat for a special day thing. We went to a steak place, and mom showed me her bank account on her phone. Saying “look how broke I am.” Then I felt bad like we shouldn’t eat there. It was supposed to be fun but then I felt guilty . On the way home she started crying about money and said it’s stupid she has to pay you money for us.”

So that’s a wonderful double wammy. Make our daughter feel ashamed for a special day SHE offered her, then shaming her for needing money for every day support.

Lily cried several times during this talk and I nearly got to that point too. I told her I was sorry she had to deal with that as she cried into my shirt. And her biggest concern was “What’s going to happen to Caden when we’re not there? What’s he going through? What does he do? What if something happens?” And that is just so crushing. Lily knows no one in that house gives a damn. They used the kids as glorified babysitters and emotional dumpsters for their miserable immaturity. They were alone for most of their stay. Physically, emotionally.. Thank God I found Claire. They can finally see what a real mother is supposed to act like. Claire took her aside and spent the entire next day with her. The kids came back in total rags. Because of the move, we shipped them off with ALL their clothes. Lily came back with one pair of leggings and no underwear that fit. Jackson had one pair of pants and not a single sock to his name. Claire immediately took Lily shopping. She even asked if Lily needed anything for shaving, or knew how to do it. She said “Mom told me how, but didn’t buy me anything.” Just like how mom ‘showed her a birthday cake on her phone’ for her birthday… but never got her one. :\

Lily also told me what Jackson, my 10 year old son, dealt with. Mom and her boyfriend constantly made cracks about Jack’s weight. He developed many nicknames. “Man boobs” and “Three Chins” were some of them. I confronted Jack later about this. Did mom and her boyfriend say these things?
“No, I mean.”
Did they or not?
Immediate tears, “Y-you know. It’s just jokes.. just, you know..” He suddenly gets so raspy he trails off.
Me: “Jackson! You are a human being with feelings. And NO ONE gets to walk all over them. Not me, not mom, not her balding fat boyfriend. No one. And if I ask you if you have a problem with anything, you need to tell me. You’ve told me for the last 4 days everything was fine. Don’t excuse bad behavior just to make everyone else happy. You are no one’s doormat, and I will stand up for you if you need me to. I always have.”
Then my shirt got cried into again. He told me how sometimes they’d wake up and no one was home. They’d never know when. They’d just wake up and be alone until sometime in the night. Sometime go to bed never seeing an adult. Kids 12, 10 and 5. No idea when anyone was coming home or what they’d do for the day. Who to call if they needed to. What to eat. Just an existence of uncertainty and isolation.

So guys I just straight up spent a ton of time with my babies. We immediately just did ‘stuff’ for days. Me, Claire, my two kids, and her two daughters. We just family’d tf out of everything. Board games, video games, movie nights, biking, trampoline, Legos. Oh, and we’ve grilled out and made 3 meals for them every single FUCKING day. There were a few other time consuming things going on simultaneously, but I can get to those later. Sorry for not keeping you more in the loop, but I had to digest most of this myself. Even as I type this they want me to come over and play Uno. Fortunately they walked right into the big, inclusive family environment they so obviously need right now. It’s all going to be okay. It’s gradually getting better and they’re adapting. I just hate it when one parent actively works against another. All this poison I have to suck out. Claire has been a tremendous help.

And don’t worry, everything is currently being looked into legally over these issues. That’s been a big thing on my plate as well. Just research and planning. They don’t go back until December, and that’s if they even want to go. 
Next comic is half done. Will definitely be up Tuesday. $2 and $10 patreon comics just need backgrounds. Really shooting to finally have those up beginning of next week.
Thanks everyone. Love you all. Thank you for being my fans and for understanding. <3