I was a bit tortured, knowing I was probably going to have to be pretty firm, probably hurt her feelings, and possibly cause her to physically suffer more than she would if I would just give in to her pretty much wanting to be waited on hand and foot.
I spent some time in prayer. I spent some time crying about this to Chris, my sister, my mom, my in-laws, pretty much anyone who would listen. I felt like it was hard to say “no” to someone I would likely see all the time. She lived across the street and she had started to feel to me like a mosquito buzzing around me all the time trying to suck my blood! If I didn’t answer my phone, she would practically plaster herself across my doorstep.
Everyone I talked to said, “Natalie, you have two young kids. You can not give
But my husband, Chris said it best, “You can’t just help the eating part of her, or the part of her that needs to be driven to the store. You’re going to get the whole package. What we can’t afford is all the emotional distress.” Yes, we are rather “low in funds” in that particular area. The last thing I need is to go emotionally bankrupt over a total stranger and have nothing left for the rigor of raising my two children and having a healthy marriage. According to my father-in-law, it’s one of those situations where it’s best to say in your heart, “I give not, because I have not. But if I had, I would give.” Maybe during a different season of my life I will have more of an emotional reservoir to draw upon for charitable impulses.
She actually left us alone on Monday. But on Tuesday, the multiple calls on each phone were back. We had planned for Chris to help me give her the speech about how we couldn’t have her over to our home every day, and we would like to see her accept some county services. That all went wrong when at 3 pm she was wearing the paint away from my front door from knocking on it so long and hard.
We had just gotten home from swimming lessons and errands, and I needed to feed myself and my kids. I was determined not to return her phone calls (moany sickly voice on my answering machine sounding as pathetic as possible: “Natalie! Call as soon as you get home!”). She was being demanding exactly at the same time that my kids had an important need to eat their late lunch. It sort of epitomized the reasons and arguments that I had for breaking up our relationship as it stood: Demanding Lady Forcing Me To Choose Between My Own Family’s Well-Being And Her Lack Of Adequate Food and Shelter.
I had time to feed my kids & make them comfortable, but I hadn’t gotten to myself yet. Well, too bad for me. She had seen our car in its parking space, and she wasn’t going to let me take my time calling her back. Like I said, she began knocking on our door with the strength I didn’t think a person of her stature had! Eli and I sat staring at the door. I was trying to at least finish my cup of grapes before I faced her. It was no use. I finally answered the door when I heard her fiddling with the doorknob, and I knew it wasn’t locked!!!