Questioning the Things We Do For Each Other
My daughter, Fleur (we will make it simple by using names) told me that her cousin (my niece, –my sister’s daughter) Holly, called her 2:30 in the morning asking for a ride home from work. Holly is living with a man, Steve who has a toddler, a daughter. A daughter he took from her mother through the courts on the grounds that her mother did drugs and often left the child with strangers. However, he has done drugs (and still does and drinks something horrible) with my brother and has left his child with my niece, my mother, and other people who are technically strangers because they are not blood relatives and they have not known each other for very long. Nevertheless, society says it is okay for him to leave his child with strangers to go off for illegal recreation, but, not okay for the mother of the child to leave her toddler with strangers to go off for illegal recreation (she probably would be punished for legal recreation as well and, for leaving the child with a baby sitter to work). His story believed over the mother’s by the courts demonstrates how institutional power staunchly supports men!
Now, instead of examining the past and understanding that every thing Steve has told Holly about Delores(the child’s mother), is his side of the story, Holly believes Steve was wronged by a woman. Holly, willingly stepped in to become the good woman that Delores failed to be and, got herself impregnated by the asshole. They now have a five-month-old baby boy.
I take feminist mentoring seriously. When Fleur told me about Holly’s situation, I asked her how did they know what kind of person Delores is. Have they met Delores? The answer turns out that no one has met Delores. All they know about Delores is what Steve has told them. Without thinking for herself, Holly allowed Steve’s opinion of Delores to become her opinion of Delores. In other words, Steve’s actions and/or inactions are not subjected to scrutiny. For instance, if Delores is truly a horrible person, then why isn’t Steve’s judgment being questioned? What was wrong with him that he could not see that she would be a horrible mother? He made her pregnant. Did he not know what type of bad person she was before he decided to create a child?
Steve is not currently working; supposedly, he is waiting for a call for work on an oilrig or some such work that will take him away from home. Financially, Holly is the sole provider right now. She tends bar at night. They live in a rural area so the bar is not some grand bar that brings in big tips. One time Holly was looking for a babysitter so she could go to work. Remember, only one of the babies is hers, the other he took from her mother. I asked why Steve could not watch the children; after all, they are his children. Turns out that most of the time, he goes to the bar with her, you know, in case some man bothers her. Imagine that.
Steve has been driving his father’s truck for the last seven months. It is Holly and Steve’s only transportation. Holly is not allowed to drive the truck because supposedly it is a condition Steve’s father imposed. Of course, this is Steve’s way of controlling Holly. So last night Steve dropped off Holly at work and agreed to stay home with the two children, –his two children, the first being the toddler girl that he took from her mother, the second being a baby boy that he recklessly had with Holly, a girl who did not think things through /repetition to hammer the point.
Apparently, at 2:30 when Holly needed a ride home, Steve felt that it was too much trouble for him to get the two children up, dressed and put in their car seats to go pick up Holly. After the first phone call, he no longer answered the phone. Holly called Fleur. Fleur told her no because she would have to get up, get her child ready to go out and then turn around after dropping Holly off and go back home and take her child out of the car seat and put him back to bed in time to get up and start the new day. Besides, in rural towns, the police have nothing to do but harass the lone driver on the road and the last thing Fleur needs is the police stopping her in the middle of the night.
But of course Fleur could not go back to sleep because Holly had made it a point to say please, pretty please, something she does not normally do and that bothered Fleur. Fleur began to think about all the things that could possibly happen to Holly at 2:30 in the morning, alone, without a ride home. When she called her back to say she would come, Holly no longer answered. It was not until the following day she learned that Holly was all right.
I asked Fleur to examine the situation. To look at the position Steve’s laziness put the two of them, her and Holly in. By the way, Holly’s grandmother (my mother) ended up taking her home. I told Fleur that next time she should say, “So let me get this straight, because your boyfriend does not want to get his children up in the middle of the night and come pick you up from work, where you are making money that he is not making, you want me to get my child up and go pick you up and take you home. Is that correct?” Now this will certainly create tension between Fleur and Holly. But, why should two women risk their safety so a man does not have to be inconvenienced? Why should women exert energy for lazy men?