Posted by: Kate | July 12, 2008

The Short Version

There is a long version, of course. There always is. But the long version includes a mind-boggling network of details, plus silly little things like safety and confidentiality.

So, the short version? My friend L has been in a not-good-enough relationship for several years, and it kept getting less and less good-enough. But it was a slow, insidious process, and she didn’t realize how truly bad it had gotten until it was unbearable. So she packed up X, her three-year-old daughter, and left.

Various circumstances, legal and financial and professional and academic and familial and, well, you get the picture, they all intervened. As of yesterday morning, the plan was that L and X would move in with her parents in New York, uproot their lives on any number of levels, and start over. Then a betrayal was followed up by a number of other complications, and by yesterday afternoon, she held a lease that expires in six days, could not use the women’s shelter because of its location, and did not have the wherewithal to put together first/last/security funds for a new apartment.

Willem and I had one of those moments of instant telepathy, the same kind that lets you signal your spouse that a small tree is wedged between two teeth after a salad or decides who gets to play the good cop in the current round of parenting and discipline. Later, we went over it all again with several hours of discussion and consideration, and came to the same decision anyway. I talked it over with L, and she agreed.

L and X will be moving in here next weekend.

They’ll be using the room that my father vacated last year.

It’s a lot to process, and of course my brain is trying to address it all at once. My mother wants me to be more cautious and self-protective, and for every variable I’ve considered I’m sure there are three that will catch me by surprise. There are risks, of course, but they feel manageable.

At the end of the day, we’re able to help, and it feels right.



  1. Kate, y’all are wonderful friends. I wish I’d had friends as generous when The Girl and I hit the road eons ago.

  2. I think what you are doing is great 🙂 my parents always did things like this when I was growing up, and now that I am an adult I find myself doing it as well.


  3. I have a good friend who was once in a very bad situation. She left in the middle of the night with her two daughters, and a very kind woman she had met just once let her move in, eight states away, after only a midnight phone call as a heads up. Sometimes good friends are the difference between survival and crippling abuse, or worse.

    You are good people, great friends. If your gut tells you this is the right thing to do then it is the right thing to do. I wish your friend the kind of turnaround in her life that my good friend had.

  4. Trust your instincts. If it feels right, it is right. You’re a very good friend.

  5. You are a great friend!

  6. Same thing here though not as extreme. Owned a house about 7 years and my younger brother (he’s 25) has lived with us about 5 of those years off and on and I can honestly say that we rescued him from his car where he was sleeping the first time 5 years ago and now he would be back there if we didn’t let him live in our extra room. Kudoos to you! Establish some rules early on to save yourself arguments later (like you use the bathroom, clean it, are you cooking for everyone or just your family, etc).

  7. […] 15, 2008 by Kate We have two new people moving in here in three days, including a three-year-old with a good heart but boundless energy and […]

  8. […] then, a few weeks ago, we gained two new housemates, and the little one, the one the Internet knows as X, brought with […]

  9. […] L and X are in the process of slowly transitioning to a new apartment.  On the one hand, it’s going well, because it’s much closer to L’s work and only a few blocks from the preschool she chose for X.  Not to mention, the hope all along was that they would stay here as long as they needed to, but with the goal of moving out and continuing with their own lives.  On the other hand, they have encountered some obstacles and challenges beyond what they anticipated, so it’s been a challenge. […]

  10. […] fear and resentment, loneliness and heartbreak and exhaustion.  Because the mother-to-be is L, who stayed with us for two months and has gradually been moving into her own apartment over the past few weeks.  X will be a big […]

  11. […] Last night, L’s school had Open House Night. She was all set to go: new outfit, decorated classroom, […]

  12. […] up and finishing a few things before moving to L’s parents’ house.  Things certainly didn’t go according to plan then, but at least they were out of that house and physically safe.  Left to his own devices, this […]

  13. […] two months old now, and has got to weigh 14 pounds – because there is a big outbreak of drama in L&X’s life, and so we’re taking the kids for the weekend while L visits the State Police and gets […]

  14. […] For those new to the story, my friend L and her 3-year-old daughter X had to move in with us for a few months last summer, because they […]

  15. […] There’s a Will… I found now, not long ago, that L, of the crazy ex-husband and brief cohabitation, has recently met with her lawyer and officially changed her will, naming me as temporary guardian […]

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