The Waiting Room

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sins of the Adults

Posted by Seeking Solace |

Truth be told, I don't like the holidays.

I dread the inevitable family drama that comes with the holidays. Whether I stay home or go to visit family in Hometown, there is always drama. If I could, I would go MIA until January.

This year, we are traveling to Hometown for the first time in three years. The anxiety over this started back in November, but it came to high note yesterday.

A little background...

My brother has four daughters and a son. His oldest daughter is his first wife's daughter from a previous relationship. My brother is the only father Daughter #1 has known. Wife #1 passed away. My brother married Wife #2 and had Daughter #4. My bother had an affair which resulted in his only son.

Now, Daughter #1, was raised by her grandparents after Wife #1 died. She has developed into a lovely young woman who is now in college. Daughters 2, 3 and 4 live with my brother and Wife #2 in Hometown. Son lives with Baby's Mama, one town over from Hometown.

OK, got all the players now?

Well, my brother does not acknowledge his son. While he plays child support, he has no relationship with him. He does see Baby's Mama for an occasional booty call. Wife #2 does not want anything to do with Son either. Brother and Wife #2 do not allow my mother or me any contact with Daughters 2, 3, and 4. I did get to spend time with Daughters 2 and 3 over the summer when I visited Daughter #1 on my way to Transplant City. I have not seen Daughter #4 since she was two. Brother "allows" daughters 2 and 3 to visit with Daughter #1 on occasion.

My mom has a relationship with Son and Baby's Mama. She babysits and spend time with him on a regular basis. Son is 6 years old and can't understand why his daddy doesn't like him. He has no idea that he has sisters.

My brother and his wife do not speak to our mother or to me and Husband. Brother and Wife #2 have returned cards that we have sent to our nieces. We were never told the real reason why they refuse to speak to us, but we gather it is becuase Husband and I accept Son as our nephew.

So, as you can imagine, this quite a mess. Yesterday, it got worse.

I was having a conversation with my mom. She told me that she purchase savings bonds for Daughters 2 and 3 for Christmas. She also said that she sent Daughter #1 some cash for college.

I asked my mom if she forgot to pick up a bond for Daughter #4.

"I refuse to buy anything for that child." was my mom's response.

It's no secret that my mom HATES Wife #2. My mom thinks that she is the reason why my brother does not acknowledge his son. She even suggested the daughter #4 may not be my brother's child.

I am going to tell why this is so fucked up...even though I know you already know. First, by not acknowledging daughter #4, my mom is no better than my brother and Wife #2 in their treatment of Son. It's the same exact thing. Second, my mom should know how completely heartless that is becuase her sister pulled the exact same crap when my parents got married. My mother's sister refused to acknowledge my parent's marriage or me and brother because my mom married a Black man. I have cousins who have no idea that I or my bother exist.

But the worst part of it is that there are children who are being used a pawns. The adults would rather punish each other and justify their hatred for each other by using the children. In time, if things don't change, another generation will wonder what they did to make so many people hate them.

Anyway, when I heard what my mom said, I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to tell her how absolutely shitty this is. How I have zero respect for her. I really wanted to. But, no matter what I say, she feels she is right. No matter how much disappointment I feel toward her, her anger and hatred is more important. I can't make her see how wrong she is. I can't make my brother and Wife #2 see how wrong they are. No one is willing to see that these children are suffering.

And that's why I hate the holidays.

I do my best to do what I can for all of my nieces and nephew. Husband and I walk a fine line so that the children do not get into trouble because of their contact with us. I can only hope that I can have a full relationship with them when they become adults.

But, I fear the damage has already been done.


Brigindo said...

I hated the holidays for most of my life because of family drama. Moving down to SouthLite has ended all of that for me, since we absolutely don't go home for the holidays.

I'm sorry to hear your mom is acting like your brother. I know how painful you find his actions and your separation from your nieces. Ultimately there is nothing any of us can do about the behaviors of others, even those we care about. You're doing the right thing and that's what matters. Keeping whatever contact you can with them is going to help them in the long run.

Rebecca said...

My heart goes out to all the children. And to you, because I know this must be heartbreaking...particularly the helplessness. But it sounds like you are doing all that you can and, really, that's all you can do. I hope you do get to have a satisfying relationship with them all eventually and, in the meantime, that you can find peace with the situation until you have the opportunity to do more.

MissDazey said...

I can relate for some of your story. I am an old lady, and family get togethers were always so hard for me. Now, don't do them.

Be as brave as you can. You are a caring, loving person and the people who really matter to you know this and will be kind back.

Isn't it nice we can pick our friends, since we can't pick our relatives.

Merry Christmas!

rented life said...

The poor kids. When will adults learn that kids carry that forever--being treated differently?

I don't want to go home either. Anything I might say will be chalked up to "she's just upset because of what happened to her" not "she has a valid point, we don't treat her fairly." Thank God for the wine we already bought.

Seeking Solace said...

Thanks everyone.

MissDazey: I know what you mean. So many friends are mire like family than family.

RL: I so wish I could drink!!!

Shell said...

I think you deserve a fucking saint award for agreeing to participate in any of it considering your work schedule this semester.

TiredProf said...

I love the holidays but hated the family drama. H and I have spent most of our marriage too far away from family to visit, which has been good.

You are giving those children a wonderful present: a caring relative who doesn't care about the back story but just about them. It will make a difference in their lives.

Despite all of this, I hope you, your H, and the Boy have a wonderful holiday!

brilliantmindbrokenbody said...

I'm torn on how I feel about the holidays.

On the one hand, I really do love buying/making things for people and surprising them. It's fun. It really is.

On the other hand, there's all the family drama. I can't stand my sister, who is the most self-centered person I have ever met. My father's family is always full of cutting remarks and yelling, slighting each other, so on. Add to that the fact that 3 of them are heavy smokers and I'm asthmatic and allergic to tobacco smoke...well, it makes for perfectly miserable holidays.

It's now becoming even more complicated for me because this summer, I gained a service dog. My partner doesn't socialize well with other dogs and is easily intimidated - he does well with humans, but not dogs. Having to protect him from everyone else's dogs (and my toddler nephew, who he is scared of) is quite frankly exhausting, and the fact that my family won't help just adds to it.

I am very thankful that this year, we are going to my boyfriends' parents' house for the holidays. I'm nervous about how my service dog will do with theirs, and how well his parents will do at protecting my service dog, but frankly they couldn't do much worse than my parents.

JustMe said...

omgosh, so sorry for all the drama, sounds bad... especially for the kids. hang in there.

RageyOne said...

oh wow. that really sucks. i really hate to read that the adults in your family are behaving in such a manner. how unfortunate for those children. it really makes me sad for them.

i've never quite understood why adults behave in such a manner.

you are such a tough situation.