Posted by: Tricia | Sunday, November 16, 2008

Oh boy, it’s coming

This weather has pretty much been the name of the game the whole day today.  Thankfully, the ground is still warm enough that none of it has been sticking on the sidewalks or driveways, so no salting or shoveling has been necessary so far.  But this is making me realize I better get out and pick up a bag of salt pretty soon!

I also asked my mom this morning (who just arrived in Florida for the winter) if she would pay for new tires and brakes on the Honda.  I told her I’ve put it off as long as I can, but this morning’s weather makes me nervous about driving on my almost-bald tires.  She readily agreed, thank goodness, saying I’ve got precious cargo, and she’d be happy to make sure we stay safe when travelling around town this winter.

I really hate asking her for money.  Not as much as I used to, though.  I remember when the IX had finally moved out of his home with his family and into the dumper apartment with his homewrecker, I called my mom and told her I needed $1500 to retain my divorce lawyer.  She started giving me a list of all the things she’s had to send money to my brother for.

My 58-year-old (at the time) brother.  (Yes, he was 24 when I was born.)  Who used to be in the navy, where he learned fluent Russian.  Right in the middle of the Cold War.  And pissed that away.  The one who’s had pretty much every job under the sun, but none of them for any length of time.  Well, except the warehouse manager position in Luling, TX, that he lost during the big petro-crash of the 80’s.  He has driven a bus, delivered mail, DJ’ed, worked at Home Depot, etc., etc.  He’s been fired from them all, and I wouldn’t even be surprised if he was fired from the Luling job and not laid off like he led us to believe.  He moved in and out of the house between jobs when I was growing up.  And now he works for himself painting houses, because he just can’t work for anyone else.

So anyway, when I asked for the money for the lawyer, she lets me know she’s been having to send money to him for his own car repairs…”he has to get to his jobs,” she’d say.  HELLO?????  I’m trying to divorce my lousy two-timing husband who has moved in with his mistress!  She even suggests that it might not be necessary to file for divorce.

“Mom, he moved in with her.  Why shouldn’t I divorce him?  Please…I tried.  I tried my hardest to get him to stick by his family.  But he’s made his choice, and I want to start moving on.”

She sent me the money, but it drove me crazy that I had to listen to her say that my selfish, lazy, good-for-nothing, pot-smoking brother’s issues might’ve been just as important, if not more so.  He’s not married, (he had two failed marriages), and has no kids.  I’m a single mom, who had been a stay-at-home mom for a decade.  I have two precious babies (her grandchildren), who mean the world to me.  Don’t even say anything to me about sending him money “to fix his car” (buy weed).

When we first put our deposit down on this new home, my mom had said she’d buy a swingset for the RK.  I wasn’t yet pregnant with the IB, and I actually turned her down on the swingset, saying the RK was getting kind of old for one.  So this past spring, with another opportunity for much enjoyment from a swingset (the IB), I asked if the offer was still on the table.  And once again, I get the talk about her funds having dwindled thanks to my brother.  So here’s the email I sent to her:

I have been thinking a lot about our last conversation on the instant messenger, though.  And I just want to tell you that I will not ask you for any more money, nor will I accept any from you as a gift.  I want you to know that the times I’ve asked (and there haven’t been many at all) were my last resort.  And every time, you make a point to let me know just how strapped you are, or how you’ve been having to send money to [my brother].  I’ve never enjoyed accepting money from you to begin with, and that always made me feel just that much worse.  So from now on, I’ll find other ways to manage.

I’m just going to get it out of my system how I feel about this whole [my brother] situation.  I’m going to be blunt, but rest assured this will be the end of it.

You talk about how he had such a rough go of it ‘during the crash’, but that was more than twenty years ago!  Exactly how long should it take him to get back up on his feet without having to depend on his mother to get by?  You’re very quick to make excuses for him, as well as for your own continued enabling.  It’s quite evident that he’s put himself in this position he’s in by having a total disrespect for any type of authority, thus not being able to maintain any sort of normal gainful employment.  Just look at his track record!  It’s my suspicion that he has come to expect this money from you, and doesn’t do anything on his own to try to avoid it.  He has no kids, nothing to show for his life, and although he’s turning 60 this year, one would think he sounds like a 20-year-old if they didn’t know that little fact.

I know he’s ‘your baby’, but I am, too.  With babies of my own.  I’m having to start my life all over through nothing of my own fault, and while I am enormously grateful for your assistance to help me get through the worst of it, you still managed to make me feel like total crud for having to ask.

I feel like I am working extremely hard to get my life and the lives of my boys planted solidly on a new track.  So I hope you can understand how it makes me feel when you give me a hard time about asking you for a swingset for my boys (which you had initially offered all on your own), and you tell me you don’t know if you can do that because you’ve been having to send money to [my brother].  Yes, he has car trouble that costs money to repair, and according to you, that qualifies as an ‘extenuating circumstance’ right up there with me having to divorce my cheating husband.  And even when I finally psych myself up enough to ask you for that, you suggest that it might not be necessary and perhaps I should just stay legally married to him while he’s living with another woman.  (Yes, you did.)

So you can see how I might be a little bothered by these responses from you.

And frankly, it’s just not worth it for me.  I’m cutting corners everywhere I can in our household budget, and I know that one way or another, my boys & I will be taken care of.  So please…if sending money to [my brother] is really that important to you, I’d rather you just send him anything you’d normally send to me.  Just so you know, it’s not about ‘getting what’s mine’ or competing with him for your money…it’s just that I don’t feel like he deserves the help you give him, and then making me feel guilty for asking when I desperately need it and bringing his name into it just isn’t worth it for me.

Like I said, one way or another, my boys will taken good care of.  I’m up to the challenge of doing it all on my own.  So there it is.

She very humbly apologized to me after reading this letter, and let me know that anytime I need help, to please ask. I still don’t like asking, and I try to avoid it whenever possible, but I just can’t come up with any other way of putting new tires & brakes on my car. So I’ll go this weekend while the boys are at their dad’s.

It turns out, though, that this brother of mine has moved in to the house in Midland, no longer able to afford his apartment.  It drives me crazy the way he takes advantage of Mom, but like I said in that email…I’ve said my peace.  If she chooses to let him walk all over her, that’s her choice.

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Responses

  1. NoStar and I have had this very conversation concerning each of us having a family member like your brother. I guess every family has it’s troublesome one. Mine is a nephew and his live-in girlfriend and her baby by someone else. They’ve ingratiated themselves to my mother and are dropping by all the time because they know she’s a softie and will give them 100 bucks if they complain about the cost of gas or doctor for the baby or something. She says it’s because he’s had such a touch time since he got out of rehab. Pffft! Two years ago. He’s fine now. Get a job.

    So yep, I get you. I haven’t talked to my mom yet about it, but I’m going to have to sooner or later.

    But omg! Lookit that snow! I’m so jealous!

  2. My uncle is going to be 48 this month. He has bounced from one side of the world to the other, spending my grandparent’s money, maxing out credit cards, and basically acting like a bum since he was old enough to drive. He never grew up, and they will support him till they die. Its sad, but I don’t think it will ever change.

  3. LC — You can have the snow. Wanna trade?

    Pisceshanna — No, change is probably not going to happen. A sad reality. *sigh*

    I have another brother, too…a recovering alcoholic. He’s more on track than bro #1, though. My mom doesn’t have a very healthy relationship with either one of them, and I think there’s a lot more to the story from around the time I was born than what I’ve been told. As a grown-up, I can now see how my mom probably wasn’t the mother I always envisioned her to be when I was a child. I wonder if I’ll ever know the real truth.


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