24 November 2007

My sister the enabler

On Thanksgiving, I called my older brothers house where the family had gathered to wish them a happy turkey day. I could only talk for a few minutes, as I was about to sit down to dinner my self here in California. I talked to my brothers oldest daughter, getting caught up on the holiday festivities in McHenry Illinois and her life. I found some irony in her telling me that she has to travel and hour back in forth when she does visit her parents. I told her, I did that all time when I lived back there. My three siblings, including the one who will be talked about here, all lived an hour away when I lived in Oak Park.

Funny how things change, yet remain the same.

Anyways, after years of hemming and hawing about the expense of Christmas, how getting individual presents for everyone was costing more and more each passing year, my older sister brought back the name pulling thing. Essentially, all the family names would be thrown into a hat, and you would pick a random name and get that person a present. One gift and that was it. Again, that theme had been kicking around long before I left the state of my birth.

So, while talking to my niece, she mentioned that they were going to do this name pulling thing, and I agreed to be part of it. Since moving here 27 months ago, my financial growth has not really grown. So, I backed out of Christmas 2005, due to just moving here, and continued with Christmas 2006, citing money issues again (and had I stayed in Illinois, while I would’ve contributed to presents in those past two Christmases, I would’ve cut back severely).

I could say at this point, that the name chosen for me was God’s way of telling me something. But buying something for my younger sister is not something I’m comfortable with. I’ve not spoken to her since January, if only because I feel she has lost what ever respect I once had for her.

In the last 6 years or so, I’ve come to the conclusion that my sister is a liar and a very bad mother. When her late husband was diagnosed with cancer, all the focus of her family, including her two children, went towards her husband -a man who refused to give up the smoking that was killing him. Had he stopped, there might’ve been some hope, but once he had the facts, it appears my brother-in-law decided that his fate was sealed and he took the soul of my sister with him when he died in April 2006.

Now, as my sister began to take care of her ill husband, her attention began to drift from her two kids, who both soon discovered that the only way to get attention from her was do things that got them in trouble. Both niece and nephew were at critical junctions in their lives during this period, with my nephew just entering into his teens, and my niece only a few years behind.

And as my sister became an enabler to her sick husband, she did the same for her kids. She was allowing these loved ones to behave in very destructive ways. I understand she acted out of love for her husband and her children, but she made a chronic problem worse by being this way.

I cannot list the things that both of her kids did, but I will say these two kids where super smart and had great potential. But all of that has been thrown away, caused by my sisters inability to see the forest for the trees.

I kick myself these days for defending her during her husbands illness, when I heard the things my nephew was doing. I yelled at him, made him cry because I thought my sister need support and not problems. But I was a fool, and did not see until a few years later that this was not all of my nephews fault. Nope, a lot can be laid at my sister’s door.

I know that both my niece and nephew are not fully innocent in the things that have happened. They created their problems, but from my outside point of view, they did what they did because their mother never taught them the values they needed.

Those kids got everything they asked for, never caring or wondering what the expense might be to their parents. They were never taught that world is cruel and unforgiving and that you have give a lot before you receive.

That the universe runs on one principle: cause and effect.

I know my supposable smart nephew has no idea what this means, and I’m beginning to think my younger sister, who I always thought was smarter than me, does not know either.

Now, as I hear from my Mom and older sister, that my younger sister believes the family has abandoned her, because she’s getting on with her life, by seeing another man and pointing out her children need to grow up and move on from the death of their father.

To that point, I give her. Yes, both of her kids need to move on, but the point remains that I don’t think either of the know how, because they were never taught that by either of their parents. They lack the necessary tools to achieve the goals that will put them on the track to success.

And I could careless how many lovers my sister wants to have to fill the void in her life, but at the end of the day, she is still responsible for a 16 year-old and a 20 year-old. She needs to be home, not spending days away from them. She needs to give -if I can use the term - the moral compass to point her two children in the right direction.

Right now, both are rudderless kids, navigating an unstable waters filled with sharks who prey on the weak and the uniformed. Both need a mother willing to sacrifice -because, I think that is the ultimate definition of a mother - sometime with her boyfriend to make sure her children are on a path that will lead them to a better life.

It’s her job, in many ways, and she’s given up on it. She apparently feels that there is nothing more she can do for either of them, and seems to think the die is cast with them.

So here I sit, in November of 2007, given the task of buying a gift for her this Christmas. Maybe God is telling me to forgive her, but I cannot see what for. Will she change and take the responsibility she took when she decided to have children? Her kids are not bad, but they lack the mentor they need to make sure they grow up to be somewhat good humans. Will she listen to anyone of us, with out countering our points with a “but?” Will she care that her oldest son is doomed to be nothing but white trash like his half-brother? Will she care that her daughter is bound to end up in a self-destructive relationship like her mother, as history is on a runaway train towards repeating itself?

She is my sister, and I love her, but she needs to understand that I cannot forgive her anytime soon, for letting her two precious children become what seems to be destined to be, unless she comes to her senses. And that she needs to understand she is an enabler and must stop that practice, beyond the whole liar thing.

I cannot in any good conscience become an enabler either, by getting her a present for Christmas.

And the sad part is, I do feel some guilt for not doing this. But, I also feel in many ways, this is the right thing to do, because redemption and forgiveness cannot be handed out like so much Halloween candy. It needs to earned, and I feel my sister has not seen the light.

Until she does, I will love her, but I will not be made an ass and I will not be sucked into her psycho-drama any more.

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