Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jailhouse Rock

I have a relative who is in jail. I used to have a close relationship with this relative, but we drifted apart long before she landed in the big house. Her birthday was this week, and the kids overheard me mentioning it to Shannon on the phone.

"WHAT!? Your (familial relationship) (first name) is in JAIL!?!?!"

I told Shannon that I would have to call him back, then I turned to face the barrage of questions.

Is she in CHAINS?
Will they give her dinner tonight?
How can it be her birthday if she's in jail?
When she was a little girl, was she bad then too?
How long is she in for?
What did she even do?
How is she your (familial relationship) if she's not your friend?

I loved that last question, although I didn't know how to answer it. The line between friends and family is so thin in our lives, it's hard for my kids to understand the concept of a distant relative, or in particular, a relative who was not also a friend. All I could tell the kids was that I was sad things had turned out the way they did, and that she probably isn't in chains. Yet.

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