Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

November 23, 2012

stepfamily neighbours

Dawn and her five year old son moved into Ben’s house when his ex wife and sons set up home elsewhere, and she became perplexed one evening when the boy complained about his bed being wet. Was he bedwetting? Was there a leak in the roof? Or was there something more sinister going on?

"My son's pajamas were dry," explains Dawn, "but his bedclothes were soaking wet."

"It hadn't been raining so it couldn't be a leak in the roof."

"Ben suggested that Perry must have been playing with water and didn't want to tell us the truth," says Dawn, "but this didn't make sense to me. Anyway, lost for any other reason I agreed with my husband, changed the boy's bedding and had a good night's sleep."

"The following evening we picked Perry up from his after school babysitter and when we got home he went to his bedroom and a short time later he came rushing out to tell us that his bed was wet again."

"Ben got angry at Perry and demanded to know what he was doing playing with water," says Dawn, "but I could tell from my little boy's face that he was telling the truth - he hadn't been playing with water and was as perplexed as I was about his bed being wet."

"I changed his bedclothes again - and spent the rest of the evening feeling unwell."

"I'm usually very healthy so becoming suddenly unwell was an indication - to me - that something really weird was going on."

"The next day my husband took Perry to school and I stayed home, calling in sick," says Dawn. "I was desperately tired and just wanted to stay in bed all day."

"In the afternoon I got up and for some reason I wandered into Perry's bedroom and I couldn't believe what I saw!"

"Water was pouring down the wall next to Perry's bed!"

"I was still dressed in my pajamas," says Dawn, "but I rushed out to the back of the house and saw Ben’s neighbor - a shift-worker in a bakery - up a ladder against the wall of Perry's bedroom with a high speed hose pouring water under the roof eaves."

"I screamed out to him and he nearly fell off the ladder in surprise," says Dawn. "Obviously he expected me to be at work."

"He had nothing to say to me - no explanation, no sorry, nothing."

"He just smiled at me with the cold look of an assassin, took the ladder away, turned off the hose and went back inside his house."

"I was shaking with shock," says Dawn. "I called my husband and told him what had happened and we discussed calling the police but decided against it."

"Since Perry and I had moved into Ben’s house the guy's wife had been pleasant enough to me but he had always been cold and unfriendly," explains Dawn.

"He was an old guy with two grown-up daughters – so maybe he resented the fact that we were young and Ben had money to buy a house that he had probably saved up all his life for.”

"A lot of young professionals were moving into the area and old guys like him probably resented us like hell," sighs Dawn, "but taking his hate out in this fashion was not just extreme, it was diabolical."
“Then again, maybe he resented that I had a son – and Ben had three living with his ex-wife – and he didn't?"
“Ben finally divulged to me that the old guy had a thing about marriage and ranted at him when his marriage broke down and probably saw my moving into the house he had shared with another woman as some sort of blasphemy.”

"If that was the case, then that he chose to pour the water in Perry's bedroom - not ours - frightened me because it indicated that he was getting at Ben and I through hurting Perry. What might he do next?"

"Friends chided us to get tough with the guy,” says Dawn, “but I didn't want to put up with this sort of hate constantly undermining our happiness.”

“It was probably a mistake to move into Ben’s old marital home,” says Dawn, “so now I am working on Ben to sell up and buy a place just for us so that we can have a fresh start together.”

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