Trembling like a leaf on a crazy tree

I’m shaking.

I just got off the phone with the RCMP.

I told them about the boys living in the fifth wheel.

It’s fifty below today.

I’m a little extra nervous because the RCMP asked for all of my contact information. I was about to tell them that I had wanted to make an anonymous call, but then I thought, “Why?” I’m acting on my conscience. Am I afraid that the kids’ parents will confront me if their children get taken away? Not really. Because I could stand up to them and tell them all the reasons I think they are not providing proper necessities for their children. Am I afraid that their children will know it was me doing the reporting, and take it out on their classmate, who is one of my children? Possibly. They are best friends.

I haven’t told The Captain about some of the things I think about when it comes to their family. I have told him that I feel very sad to think that his friend is living in a tiny trailer in the middle of winter. I have told him that I don’t want him playing over there because the parents are smokers, and that’s not safe. I haven’t told him that I worry about his friend’s well-being, and I certainly haven’t told him that I think his friends parents are …for lack of a better phrase… ‘doing it wrong’.

They have substance abuse issues. And their children are all very sweet and kind and very clever. They know their parents depend on them, and they are devoted to their parents. That’s not uncommon.

So why am I trembling like a leaf?

I’ve done the right thing, haven’t I?

Please tell me I’ve done the right thing.

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

13 Comments

  1. Speaking as an erstwhile defender of parents who had to deal with the child protection system, it’s far from a perfect system, but it’s we have for the time being. You did the best thing possible.

  2. It is better to err on the side of caution. My partner grew up in a household where the parents were focused more on their partying than providing their kids with the necessities. She has told me about ‘condiment’ sandwiches (ketchup and mustard on bread). How she started working two jobs (stocking shelves in convenience stores) while she was still in elementary school. She tells the story of making food for her folks and their drunk friends. No one raised a red flag with any authorities.

  3. Yes, you did the right thing. Sometimes doing the right thing is not easy, but required. One can only hope that these parents will receive the wake up call they need and start getting some help for themselves and their kids,… I would hold to much to that hope though, having seen how substance abuse can effect peoples decision making processes, it is more often the case the people need to hit rock bottom before they will seek help, and by that time the damage maybe to great to rest of the family.It is a very difficult place you have put yourself in, but I think it is the correct one.

  4. Sometimes doing the right thing is scarey and that is why a lot of people never do the right thing, unfortunately. There is a lot of cultural innuendos about what you have just done – a “mind your own business” mindset. Although you aren’t exactly atypical of a person in our culture, you have been brought up by it and that is why you are freaked out. You did the right thing. It is never an easy thing, but it is the right thing.

  5. Getting reported in is -not- the worst thing that could happen.The worst thing would be if one of those kids ended up getting severe frostbite and hospitalized because no one picked up a phone.There are a large number of people who have needed rude wake up calls to pull themselves together.And there are people who just don’t know how to get the help they need.Either way – wake up call or assistance – you did the right thing.The scary thing will be if the RCMP/Child Services check it out and decide the minimum is being met. My note; the Child Services people are some of the most compassionate and brave people I’ve met.

  6. It is scary. We recently called the police on one of our neighbours because we feared for the woman, and every time I see her now, I worry that she’ll see something in my expression and realize that it was us that did it. People don’t always want help, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need it. From what we were hearing, she could have been killed that night.

  7. fucking rights you did the right thing!!!! No gray area here. None. If it were me I would have stomped in there, guns a blazin and kicked some mth-head ass. (ok i know i’m assuming here but you get the idea)Some people do not have the right to fuck up not only one but several kids lives. They just don’t. Parenting isn’t a right, its a bloody privledge. Nothing gets me irked more than child abuse and honey thats exactly what this is. I took an oath, to always help and to never hurt. Doing nothing would make ME liable if something happened. SO you were protecting your own ass. We are human and sometimes humans make mistakes and it takes another human to help those parents reach thier bottoms. I certainly don’t mind helping that process along. Its sad that they have made you uncomfortable but when those kids grow up they won’t say what a nosey neighbor..they’ll say good god someone cared. Sadly….in situations like this…nothing changes. But I can hope.

  8. It sounds like you made the best choice in a situation where you didn’t have any really good choices.I wish you peace.

  9. Stop trembling.As a good friend of mine once said,“The right thing to do is always the right thing to do”.Good on ya, Ceno.

  10. Cenobyte,When the right choices are easy, when they cost nothing, when we don’t have to put ourselves into our decisions and stand strong in our principles – then the world will be a better place. Until then, each day is a challenge, and those that have the courage to do what is right are the ones that are striving to make that better world a reality.You did what you had to do. You did what had to be done. Thank you for being brave.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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