Put to the test …

I think there comes a time in some people’s life when they start looking at their parents and realize that they aren’t as wise or smart as they used to think they were.

I love my mom, but for a while I have come to not necessarily trust her instincts which tend to be overly optimistic or pessimistic, depending on the subject.

In the case of my brother, someone who has fooled us all before, mom tends to be overly optimistic.

We have recently learned that my brother was probably carrying on the affair that cost him his marriage (and my niece and nephew a semblance of a secure childhood) for years before he got married.  Needless to say that didn’t make me any happier about the fact that he and his lady friend continue to live in mom’s basement while my sister(-in-law) deals with kids who are progressively being exposed to less and less discipline and are now starting to even treat my mother poorly (and, oh yeah, has seen her life shoved up onto the rocks by a cool and unfeeling jerk).  I know that they are still young, but I am growing increasingly concerned about my niece and nephew.

When my brother got divorced, he and my sister(-in-law) sold their beautiful new home (a wedding present itself), and my brother got half of the money.  He recently purchased a new home in Oak Forest (Al, inform the folks that the neighborhood just went down a notch).  This was a good and necessary step since mo is still trying to sell the house.  What upset e was that y mother gave him a sizable loan to complete the transaction given that my brother’s employment status is shaky.

What further upset me was that in purchasing the house:

1.  He bought a big enough house so that his kids and her kids would have separate bedrooms (yes, she is divorced).  My mother advised my brother to be sure to not put the house in both of their names.  My brother didn’t do that, so now his girlfriend has her name on the deed to the house with him.

2.  I was greatly concerned about “what if the two of them get married?”  My mother assured me that wasn’t going to happen.

My brother called this evening.  They are going to the court house to get married in two weeks. “My next ex-wife” (his words, not mine).


Our phone conversation was civil, but brief, and he probably sensed a distinct lack of emotion on my part.  Predictably, my mom called a few minutes later and I was able to express myself a bit.  Not surprising, my brother was home, and for a moment of family peace I can only hope he wasn’t listening in to the conversation.

The good news is that due to a lack of funds, there will be no ceremony or reception, just a small party that I will likely be threatened into attending at some undisclosed date in the future.

My family has seen its share of divorce (my mom and dad were both previously divorced.  My maternal grandfather lived with us for 2 years after he divorced my grandmother.  My one cousin has a number of kids with I don’t recall how many women (but is getting married again next week).  Three other cousins have been through this, and we have seen the turmoil it wrecks on the kids.  I understand that some people get married and later find out that maybe it wasn’t for the right reason or they changed in ways they hadn’t anticipated or something like that.  It is sad, but that I can chalk up to the unpredictability of human nature.  Cheating on your wife for five years before you get married, and carrying that on through the birth of your second kid is not that!

I knew my mom was going to be wrong about this.  I F!@#$%^G KNEW IT!  Now I am going to have to deal with a very prickly situation that involves not wanting to be around my brother and I guess my sister in law.  Do I need to develop a relationship with her kids?  I don’t want to be rude to them, but why get close when my belief that this relationship working out is not really good.

This is going to make for some stressful coming weeks.


4 Responses to Put to the test …

  1. tjnugent2 says:

    Tom, I’m sorry to hear that things are so stressful. I know that it must be hard. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help!

  2. Beth says:

    I have been in a similar situation with my own brother. I say similar, because (Thank God!) there are no actual kids of his own involved, and he hasn’t actually gotten married (yet?!?) Each of my sisters and I have separately talked with him about his on-again-off-again co-dependent relationships with completely messed up women (and their children for whom he tries to provide…) He can understand our concerns about the latest one, and doesn’t try to force her down our throats. She’s been to a few family gatherings which has been weird, but nothing we can’t handle. It all takes time, lots of time, and patience on everyone’s part.

    This may have to come down to you having an uncomfortable conversation with your brother (and/or mother) about your concerns. He (they) will really just have to respect an “I need time and space” explanation. How can they not? They know you– No offense, but you’re not exactly the most extroverted, touchy-feely “let me get to know you right away” kind of guy to begin with. Now you are simply expected to whoop it up because your brother has finally decided to try and take some responsibility with this long term relationship? That’s an unrealistic expectation, and there’s nothing wrong with letting them know that.

    It stinks that your mom has taken to financially supporting him, but there is nothing you can do about that, either. Trust me, I know how difficult it is to watch your parent get taken advantage of financially and/or emotionally (see above). All you can do is set the (probably unpopular) example with your own money and set your own boundaries. Don’t underestimate the long-term effects of that quiet type of behavior/example. You might inspire her yet, or failing that, at least send a clear message to your brother about what to expect (or NOT to expect) from you in the future.

    As to “what to do about her kids?”… Do they live with them full-time? How much will you actually even see them? It may be a matter of just simple respect for now. Acknowledge their presence, be civil and as kind as possible. Get to know them at their, and your own pace. Chances are, they are asking the same kind of questions about you and your mom and sister…

    Didn’t mean to get to soapbox-ish here. But those are my comments for now. Please know I’m free to listen any time as well…

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