The Needles and the Damage Done

I hadn’t started a baby sweater since I gave Cricket up; finally, inspired by Meghann, I started another—a toddler sweater, really, big enough for Joey next fall. I got enough yarn to make two sweaters—teal and red, for two cotton sweaters for my Snerkleberry. One in size two and one in size four. This is such a weird time to hear about Ruth and Nora—while we’ve moved firmly into toddler time, with hitting and biting and that sort of stuff, Joey and I are mostly having a pretty idyllic time right now. We’re having the kind of times that get written about on different blogs than this: feeding apples to friendly horses and having picnics under trees as leaves fall all around us and laughing and playing and just generally enjoying each other. It’s part of why I was able to jump into knitting sweaters again, honestly. And now things are getting worse for Cricket in a huge and measurable way, and there’s essentially nothing I can do.

Should I knit him a sweater? I asked Mr. Book, and he said probably, that Cricket could probably do with a couple extra gifts this year. (His moms don’t knit or anything similar.) But knitting for Cricket is what got me to pack the needles up for three years. (Okay, I made some dishcloths and hats and similar—but no sweaters, no big projects.)

I didn’t expect Cricket to have his own pony and swim through heaps of gold like Scrooge McDuck; we didn’t even a little bit prioritize that kind of thing when we were looking at profiles, and we never expected that his life would be perfect. But my God, it is striking how hard it is to watch his life get worse than Joey’s. —I know that might not be fair to say, I get that, but of course that’s how it looks from here, and what we’re afraid of, and Mr. Book was talking last night about the odds that Cricket will use drugs as a teenager because it looks like things are falling apart. Because a couple of pretty big things really have fallen apart. I know that Cricket will be provided for, but both of my parents have already asked separately whether we can ask for him back, and it just makes me feel shittier about the position in which I have put myself and my firstborn—and my husband, and my other kids, and my parents. Both of them first apologized in case I was offended, and I couldn’t figure out how to say “I don’t feel offended; I feel as though you just punched me in the face as hard as you could. And it’s not like I don’t deserve it.” Of course children of divorced parents turn out okay; of course adopted persons turn out okay; of course kids who grow up without their biological siblings around turn out okay. But how many of these are going to stack up for Cricket? It seems like the math is less and less favorable for him. I’m working on imaging some kind of happy-times Brady Bunch outcome for him, but it’s hard to picture right this very minute. Ruth hasn’t worked for years, and she has some significant health problems: Will she need our help? If the plan for their extremely amicable arrangement doesn’t work out, will we still see Cricket?