Archive for category Parenting
The Hippy will be unemployed when her and her pornstar (the boyfriend) move back to their home state to await the arrival of their unexpected son or daughter. This is not making her happy at all. She is very prideful and a lot of her self-worth is tied to how much she brings in. Her boyfriend is more the “bitch, get in the kitchen and fix me a sandwich” variety, but I think most of that is just bluster.
Apparently, the point of contention right now is she is trying to demand that they have all joint accounts since they plan on getting married at some point anyway and wants them to have full disclosure on everything. His stance is more “not no, but HELL NO!”
I’m totally making him look bad, but the guy’s mom blew through the nest egg his parents had been stashing away since his birth and even stole money from her son all of his life while still living with them, and did it often. Her son! Stole from her own damn son!
Of course, this is what I pointed out to her when she was choosing to be offended because he flat out denied her this. Of course he would, he has massive trust issues and a lot of stunted maturity to work through. The attitude in my very first paragraph exemplified that alone.
I told her that as an unemployed single mom, which is what she technically is, she was in a better position to qualify for assistance. They already worked out this was going to be the best way for both of them, so hand over her bills that she will still need dealt with and let him handle it. Her contribution is not going to be measured by a paycheck but it was not to be belittled as any less important. In fact, she would be taking the brunt of the worst of it in a way he would never understand.
Their relationship really wasn’t ready to take on a third party really yet. There’s a lot of conflicts of attitudes going on and ways of thinking that don’t align with the two of them. But that’s part of the process. It’s not ideal, but I don’t think its impossible either.
I told her that different couples had many different ways of dealing with money in a way they both can live with. There’s a reason its one of the top five reasons for divorce so don’t make it such a massive issue she wasn’t allowing any flexibility on it.
Three accounts where only one is mutual and the other two are individual would make for a decent compromise, but don’t entangle herself in his finances in any way until after she was working again and off assistance. Whatever people may think about welfare in the US, the organizations that review cases are truly looking for ANY possible way to disqualify you for assistance. They want you talking so you’ll slip up on something, no matter how mundane it may seem. It’s very much like those interrogation rooms on crimes shows only they wear you down by ignoring you in the waiting room for hours first. The snide indifference is completely free.
In the back of my mind though, their relationship is about to go through the biggest hurdle one can and they weren’t on the best ground to begin with. If this whole situation hits shitstorm status, she can at least make a clean break.
Hopeful, yet ever the cynic, I am…
Personally, my former spouse was of the “as long as we have each other, I don’t need money” and I was more the “bitch, I’m not sleeping in a fucking car with you in -30 degree winters, go fucking get a job already or I will tauntaun your ass for warmth” so my perception is a bit different. We did have all combined accounts and expenses and a 17k credit card balance in their name hit my credit rating along with the house they let foreclose… so I’m a bit bitter on the issue myself.
What struggles have you had navigating relationship and finances and how did you handle them? Do you wish you’d done anything differently?
The Hippy and her pornstar have recently decided that moving back to their home state will be much better for them when the baby comes. He will be in a better position to be promoted as his company is based there since she will be unable to work for a while and both of their families are nearby for emotional and possible babysitting support.
The Hippy comes from a “salt of the earth” family that struggled at times to make ends meet. Her dad had a tendency for violence and a bad temper and her mom bent over backwards to appease him. She knows she is a people pleaser directly due to this.
The Pornstar had more a spoiled brat, men are manly men, kind of upbringing with an emotionally abusive mother. This has made him cynical, brooding, bitingly sarcastic, and distant.
I relate to him more since my upbringing more aligned with his, not the wealth, not even two parental figured, but the emotional abuse I completely get. It’s the part that helps me translate him to her. Just below the surface of those biting remarks lies a person who desperately wants her to stay with him forever and loves her very much. Sadly, its written all over his face only when she isn’t looking.
She was starved for acknowledgement, for doting, for expressions of affection. In trying to obtain these things, she was slinging some pretty biting shit to him too, even going so far as to remind him she could do better. She doted, she catered, she ego-stroked, but when he was less than forthcoming in a manner she desired, she would get desperate and then it just got rude.
It’s weird when you have to tell an adult “how would you react if he said that shit to you?” She admitted it would kill her and I had to point out that by doing that she was making it all worse, he would just sink his heels in and tell her to go. It’s what I would do.
This guy is a stud in her eyes, she thinks of him as the hottest thing on the planet. It’s adorable to witness the two of them.
But their ability to communicate… dayum.
I told her that first and foremost, never treat the person you value most like shit. I have never understood why Grand spent more time doting on strangers while treating their family like crap.
I then talked to her about the language of love… yeah, try not to gag. I told her that my cousin and his wife would always get pissed at one another because they spoke their affections in ways the other didn’t notice.
My cousin would buy expensive jewelry for his bride, stressing over every single piece while his wife just wanted him to take out the fucking trash without being asked. Her life was too hectic and busy to wear jewelry except on really rare occasiona so she saw the jewelry as yet another jab of something else that was not much use to her.
When I was laughing at one of their arguments and pointed this out, they both seemed kind of stunned. But I think later on they started paying attention to one another’s methods a bit more.
I pointed out the same kinds of things with Hippy. He was showing it in his own way as we got to talking about, just not the bullshit they have on rom-coms, which is more what she was wanting. Let’s face it, that shit just ain’t realistic.
They both were trying their best to show their affections. But again, they weren’t appreciating the ways one another did it. So I told her, “express a few to him on his level, something he gets, and maybe he’ll start reciprocating and noticing yours.”
Did any of you ever have a miscommunication with your love languages?
The Hippy and I bonded a lot as two divorced people who had also been thrown into an initially unwanted and thoroughly unplanned parenthood.
Don’t get the wrong idea, there is a decade or so of age difference and the sentiment I have towards both her and her boyfriend is more of a sibling who wants to see them succeed.
Her boyfriend I dub Big Ron the pornstar, due to his epic pornstache that never ceased to be a focal point when he came up as a topic, whether he was present to hear it or not. Neither Tom Selleck nor Burt Reynolds have anything on this guy.
At one point that pornstache was going to be the theme of the entire baby shower that Hippy’s coworkers were planning out for her. Sadly, Yankee Heather hijacked their plans and took over. I found this out from the other department much later.
He is one of two adopted children of a well off couple, his sister a complete mess gunning for a fat wallet to marry. He was spoiled in a lot of all the wrong ways and yes, I see a lot in which he needs to grow the fuck up and be more honest with both himself and the Hippy before he loses her over something stupid, like his dumbfuck machismo bullshit pride and his absolute compulsion to treat all women like his mother, whom he kind of despises.
However the mom… from the stories I’ve heard from both, tries to firmly entrench herself into her son’s life despite his intense objections to the contrary. Its almost as though the more firmly he fights her presence, the more committed she is to being constantly around. She’s also prone to using the Hippy as a means to manipulate them. With Hippy’s desire to people please, this has been a struggle for both of them to establish boundaries.
Even more strangely, he was recently given the news that mom, specifically his mom, has blown through his inheritance. This is casually remarked upon by his father.
His sister’s though, is still intact. Apparently, this has been a part of her character while he was growing up as well. He would hide money he made from jobs he worked only to find it gone, mom having stolen and spent it.
She was the typical stay-at-home socialite with a well-off husband who seemed little interested in his wife’s activities, while still being one of the only people who could put her on a leash when she was going overboard. Dad’s involvement was to push his son to excel and be a man in all aspects.
The mom would call his girlfriends and tell them he had been cheating, was out with someone, tell them wild stories of various nefarious activities involving drugs, alcohol or whatever topic she thought might work to send them running. The Hippy told me she’d tried the same with her, but since they were in different states and living together, it wasn’t exactly plausible and thankfully died out quickly.
It all seems very Oedipal rather than maternal.
When the Hippy was telling me this, I suddenly asked “so how long has mom wanted to fuck her own son?”
She was a bit stunned by my remark (I was too) and I just said if he had no money to spend taking out his girlfriend or using it on gas to visit any of them, then maybe he would have to stay home and spend time with mom instead.
Getting rid of the girlfriend was usually a tactic only done by a person scheming to be the replacement. The way she behaves toward the Hippy sounds more like jealousy of the jilted than a mother.
Hippy told me it scarily made sense. I think we both shared an “Ew.”
I’m kind of surprised that was my take on it. Sometimes shit comes out of my mouth before I’ve had a chance to process what it is.
With the baby now completely given the full ahead by both parents, they are working on moving back to their home state up north, both to be closer to their familial support network as well as better enable Big Ron to streamline himself up the ladder since they will be on one income for a while. This would put them closer to both sets of their parents, which creates concerns for both of them for very different reasons.
This mom though. I’ve never come across one like this outside a Greek tragedy.
I haven’t really gone into this since I got sidetracked with anger.
The Hippy, who I met through Yankee Heather, works in another department from mine. One in which I rely on to get what I need done, but I get ultra busy and they do too so our ability to interact on topics outside of things we both need from one another tends to be minimal, It makes for a lot of misconceptions about one another when you’re not able to have a conversation with someone you work with so you can get a sense of their personality.
It’s not that I don’t have friendships with people in the department, but they’ve been slowly built over the years.
I had to laugh when The Hippy and I were sharing our first impressions of one another. I was hated and found terrifying and she was so glad I was the exact opposite, though she said a lot of that negative impression had to do with one particular member of her team who has a tendency to project a lot of their internal turmoil on others. It didn’t shock me. I probably would have been more impressed if the opposite were true.
Their team is run by a very tiny little woman who takes no shit and is swift and thorough and somewhat terrifying in her own right, and in that team are at least two who see enemies everywhere, one worse than the other.
One gave me the first impression of “elitist bitch” (this was the culprit) but kind of came off her pedestal over the years, while the other was just prone to being defensive. I once told them “I’ve never learned shit by getting it right the first time” when they messed something up and I was showing them how to fix it, and we’ve been vastly better ever since.
I told The Hippy I’d thought she was awesome the first time I’d met her. She’s laid back, but not lazy, expedient, you only had to point out an error once, she’s personable, intelligent, attentive and curious. She has a similar talent as G-uno in that you become fast friends and she can see right through a lot of shit…except when she has her own emotional investment in the view, I guess. That’s a hard one for all of us, I would venture.
Her and her boyfriend have known each other a long time as friends, went their separate ways for a while, she had been married and divorced once already. an abusive situation, and the prospect of doing it again was terrifying to her. They crossed paths again in the aftermath of bad relationships and just sparked intensely.
Seriously, not once when I met these two outside of work could they ever be on time because they couldn’t keep their hands off one another.
Apparently, I’m at that age where, although I still find it mildly revolting, I also find it adorable in its own right. I always expected to be too curmudgeonly for that shit.
The Hippy recently found out she was pregnant. For all the years she declared to never want kids, when faced with the very real possibility of having one upon her, even with all the fear, she realized was excited about the idea. Especially considering she’d been told she’d never have any.
While she toyed with the idea of an abortion and if they were ready to be parents, when asking for his honest opinion, her boyfriend stuck to his “no kids” sentiment, while at the same time increasing his retirement investment, pouring over his budget, laid out when they should move into a bigger place, and planned out how to fast track himself into a promotion.
It took a while for him to finally admit he really did want this child, but didn’t want to put any pressure on her to have it if she didn’t want it. So she was afraid to tell him she wanted to keep it because of how she felt before finding out she was pregnant, and he didn’t want to tell her he wanted the child because of…. shit….
aw fuck, it all make me want to beat the hell out of both of them from the nausea.
As much as my antisocial tendencies govern most of my actions, I thoroughly immersed in enjoying the company of my two littles cousins. I even started remembering a me that actually enjoyed going out and spending time with others regularly.
I look at these two grown lovely ladies and their free flowing banter and sharp wit, and with a certain expression or just how they would say something, they would transform to two toddlers fresh and crisp in their Easter Sunday best, spinning in the foyer to make their dresses fly up. Golden ringlets, chubby elbows and a laugh that can never, ever be duplicated by anyone past the age of four, completely full of nothing but sheer joy.
It makes me ache in a nostalgic way. It reminds me how little I see them, how much I missed, moving around and completely focusing on my own shit. It makes me wonder if their half-sister ever has these regrets as well, ever looks at them and feels a pang for the time gone forever.
I ponder the days when their half-sister and I were nothing more than gangly, awkward kids ourselves, then young adults completely convinced of our intellectual superiority and ready to take on the world, bent on making it our bitch or just making it better and being nothing like our parents or any other adult we met while doing it.
It reminds me of a time when the little cousins first met Spawn, fresh from the hospital. They rigged up a laundry basket as a makeshift crib and just cooed over them like the most awesome thing they’d ever seen.
Now Spawn stands between the two in height, and is still growing.
I finally get the need to want to watch films of the past over and over. It’s not that you wish you could go and relive it all, but maybe just visit. Get a little more connected. Slow down and give a few more hugs, listen a little more attentively, be more in the moment. It’s a shame you have to get to a certain age before you fully understand that and so much is already lost.
The older of my little cousins, Knievel‘s half-sisters, texted me while here visiting from New York and asked what we were up to.
I managed to see this text one bright early Monday morning when I had to work (about 18-36 hours after it’d been sent, probably a speed record for me) but Spawn was out of school that day. So I pawned Spawn off as the sacrificial lamb of socializing with the promise I would meet them for dinner.
I know lunch and a movie happened but no clue what the rest involved, as is key with most of my family, we are scatterbrained, disorganized and chronically late. Even the more levelheaded and steadfast older sister is prone to this and lost their keys until about two hours after they were originally destined to arrive.
My aunt, their mom, even jokes that I’m the only one whoever shows up on time, but I’m still usually ten to fifteen minutes behind my goal. My other aunt, my mom’s oldest sister (Grand Jr.) is the worst. My uncle, their dad, used to tell his sister to be somewhere six hours of ahead of schedule just so she’d only be an hour or two late. Dinner is at six, Grand Jr. is told noon, and will probably arrive about 8 or 9 and be offended we started without her.
Spawn said they had fun but then immediately flopped in bed upon arriving home that night and was out in short order. I have no idea what wore them out so much, other than talking. Of course, the stoic and mostly silent Spawn would find that rather tiring, I suppose.
Spawn likes going out almost as much as I do.
I met up with both of my little cousins and my kid after work, at a place I’d never been before but the youngest worked currently, so I forced her to make recommendations. Every time I run into them, the youngest is working a different variety of jobs. But mom is still her financial source. I’m not sure how that works.
I know that the youngest has had to endure a couple intervention programs and some “get tough” camps of some sort while in their teens. I don’t really know why, my aunt is rather private about the details but only lightly covered some of it. The older sister was more forthcoming, but I’m sure a little embellishment might have played a factor, or it seemed to, considering her overall frustration with her sister.
I also know she is on medications. I’m sure ADHD is probably one, we seem to have a mix of that as well in that family. Another cousin was diagnosed with ADD well into his 40’s to which I just responded, “ha! you got caught.”
I’m well aware there is a reason I used to blast my music as loud as I could so I could concentrate on studying and I have trouble staying with a conversation at times and I’m chronically distracted. I just came up with my own methods of coping with it.
What I interpreted from the struggles the youngest has had was their father’s lack of impulse control has affected at least two of his daughters. However, unlike their older half-sister, their mom has been a pretty powerful force in redirecting it to something more constructive.
Their dad died when they were still pretty young. The older one was just old enough to start understanding enough to be pissed at him, while the younger keeps their dad firmly on a pedestal. I often regret, for their own sake, they couldn’t both have him on a pedestal. Even if its more than he deserves, they both deserve it very much.
See, my uncle was a drunk. A very functional, but at times, vile-mouthed drunk. When the older sister was an infant, he could slam down six beers in the fifteen minute drive it took to pick her up from daycare. He’d keep an 18-pack between the seats. It was so much a part of him, that it honestly never dawned on me that normal people don’t do this, so why was he? The amount of alcohol it would take for him to show he was even a little sluggish would have probably put most people in the hospital as a human pickle on a stomach pump.
He died of an accidental overdose. Apparently, over the years he’d started adding pills to the mix. He was too selfish and self-centered to have honestly had any notions of offing himself. It just wasn’t part of his character. But authorities, and insurance, were desperate to record it as such. I’m glad for their own sake, his family got it marked correctly.
Although he was a better man than he’d ever been, he was still the selfish being he’d always been. He loved his family, he did. This I saw in the little ways and he took great care of his girls when he could be bothered, but his own motivations would take precedence over all others often. My aunt wanted her corporate world, and he was to take over the domestic portion, that was their agreement. However, there was still a daycare, several au pairs, housekeepers and a slew of other people who had to cover the domestic portion over the years.
He still floated from one enterprise or another. Often one phased out in the weeks it took to see him again and he was onto something new, the only consistency was now his address. He had great ideas, but no execution and follow-through. When he died, he’d convinced Grand to put another mortgage against their house for about 25 thousand. Ironically, he was Grand’s favorite. Grand often accused their eldest son of owing them money, but it was mostly the youngest son doing the actually borrowing. We only found out a lot of that when Grand died and we had to go through the mountain of paperwork.
When I moved back to my home state, they were in the process of getting a divorce and he was sleeping in a houseboat out back, so he could still take care of the girls. This time, with no help. My aunt was a lot… darker… than she’d ever been. If my aunt had a slogan before then, it would have been “That’s Great!” She seem to have been poisoned with the bitter gloom of the clan. Without a word, I knew it was entirely his fault. All of that above, the pills and such, I found out much later.
Again, I felt guilty for having been related to him and not able to fix it. You’d think we were a Catholic bunch with the amount of times a day I can feel guilty over shit that has nothing to do with me, but that was a feature Grand tried to flourish in all of her brood… guilt. My uncle was immune, even when he should have been. At least, I’d never once seen any sign he’d ever felt bad about anything and even busted him once during this time, browsing personals on Yahoo of all things, while Grand and I were visiting them. I guess he felt guilty enough to shut it down when I came up behind him, but who wants to peruse a potential new partner while their parent is there and their marriage is falling apart? Was he wanting his wife to find it or did he just not care?
The last words I ever heard from this uncle were enough that I was done with him for good. I felt almost nothing when he died, felt guilty because of that too, just a happiness that the divorce hadn’t gone through so anything he might have had was unquestionably his family’s. My aunt wouldn’t deny her stepdaughter anything but it would have been a probate nightmare otherwise. I also worried that he might have left behind a financial disaster as well. But if anyone was skilled at eliminating that, it would also be my aunt.
I remember seeing the gloom fade, and she returned much to her usual self, perhaps a little worn out emotionally, but returned to the person that I’d always known and loved. She was the first adult I’d ever met that asked my opinion not sarcastically and sincerely wanted to know the answer. And listened. She took any obscure off-the-wall things I would throw at her and make me work through them, support them, making me alone solidify or alter my conclusions, without judgement.
I looked at these girls and I see a lot of her in them. I see the elements of my own family. The amusing but charming parts: the chronic distractedness, the sharp wit, the quick humor. I see their mom’s fierce determination, kind spirit, strength, and joy with life as well.
One day after New Year’s, one of my little cousins contacted me out of the blue and asked what we were doing. I say “little,” but she’s in her twenties and quite tall. Her ADHD sister is just into drinking age and as their mom says, “works a million jobs.”
I also say “little” since most of my first cousins are around my age, middle age… the sag-starting era when then there’s almost nothing left that’s perky or buoyant and its all downhill from here. These were the last of the first cousins and they are closer in age to our children than to us.
I babysat the older one when I was still a teenager during the summer while their mom ran around and did her high profile corporate thing. Their dad is the one who is my blood relation and I probably would have traded him for their mom in a second if that were possible. He died a few years after my mom did.
He was a phenomenal cook and really a genius. We have a lot of high IQ’s (his was in the mid-160’s) in our genetic line, but the ability to apply this to something substantial or fulfilling seems to elude most of us. I include myself in that. He especially was mostly a financial drifter. Before he met their mom, I don’t remember him ever having a consistent address, job or phone number.
I do remember the “work camp” gran took us to every Saturday afternoon for a few months to bring him a picnic basket and have lunch with him. He wore a jumpsuit like everyone else, their “uniform,” but wasn’t allowed to leave the premises. I might have been about ten at the time but I do remember the razor-wire fence. I asked a lot of questions and didn’t get a lot of answers. It was the most permanent address I’d ever known him to have and I’m not sure when it finally dawned on me, years later, it was a prison.
He also lacked a lot of impulse control. He was never motivated by greed so much as curiosity. The type who would break into a school and steal shit, just to see if they could, or steal a car and go on a joy ride only to get bored and move on to something else, never remembering where he left it behind. He had a lot of run-ins with the law in his youth, and it ended up haunting him into adulthood.
His eldest kid, half-sister to the two little ones, is three months younger than I am and looks more like my mother than I ever have (I unfortunately got the Grand genes).
Her young mom was about seventeen when she was born, did the best she could, but smoking pot and teaching your kid how as a bonding experience isn’t exactly what I’d call an ideal environment for a child. Combine that with the impulse control of your father, and it was a recipe for disaster.
It’s weird, but I always felt like if I’d not been around, she might have had a better chance because maybe Grand could have taken her in instead. But then, I’m not exactly sure my childhood was better, so much as just different. I was raised by a crazy person, her mom was young and broke. It’s kind of a toss up. Personally, I would have given anything to have had my mom instead. So maybe I have this all wrong.
Her dad, my uncle, wasn’t much a part of the picture. Even when his eldest would come to visit, she stayed with gran and me. She might have lunch or dinner with him once or twice, or have an afternoon, maybe once overnight, but for the most part, he was a ghost.
When my cousin, who I will dub Knievel, was around, I knew we were both going to get in a lot of trouble. I just hoped to the keep out of the law side of trouble, though we brushed against that one too.
For some reason, I could never deny her wishes, I remember arguing logic with her many times, but I also remembering doing whatever it was I didn’t want to do anyway. I have never been prone to any kind of peer pressure, in school or otherwise, but my cousin could make me cave like a souffle during a stampede.
I smoked pot the first time at fourteen from the pressure of said cousin. I remember how terrifying some of the shit we pulled was and sometimes, the rush of it. I could never, ever be like that my entire life, I would have caused myself a heart attack before college, but it broke my safety shell in a ton of other more beneficial ways in my interactions with other people.
Maybe her and her dad were seeking the high of it. Maybe life is just too dull and muffled for some and they don’t know a better way to seek out any kind of sensation. I can’t imagine feeling like life on its own just wasn’t enough or I just wasn’t able to make contact with it as everyone else seemed to. She grew out of it eventually, well mostly, but not before paying a price that will stay with her forever.
I hate to put it this way as well, but she was a terrific liar. She could talk herself out of a speeding ticket in no time, and probably convince them to give her a siren led escort to her destination. She could wile her way into any place with a simple hair toss and a few words. She is the kind of person who could spin and weave a tale that would put you in the midst of an epic adventure. If she was the one recanting the Lord of the Rings, she’d make you believe it all happened in downtown New York ten years prior. Or yesterday.
To this day, I tell her she should write, and keep writing. She laughs, perhaps from lack of self-confidence or she really just finds the idea amusing, but I cannot imagine not being one of her biggest fans if she’d just try.
Her dad… Her dad met what would become the mom of my little cousins and became the dad Knievel always wanted, deserved and never, ever had. He was doting, carted them around, was proud and attending, showed up, bucked up, and grew the fuck up…but by then his eldest was long grown up. He wasn’t picture perfect, but he was a lot more than he had ever been before.
Ever have times when you feel guilty for something that has nothing to do with you?
I felt guilty for being his blood family.
I felt guilty for being born.
I felt guilty even though I had a mom just like him. Absent.
I felt guilty because she didn’t have what she should have had from either of her parents.
My aunt was the exact opposite of what fairy tales lead you to believe. She wanted her new stepdaughter around, often. She tried her best to glue back all the broken bits of what gran had destroyed. If there was a center of gravity by which my familial remnants orbited, my aunt would have been it.
I watched as Knievel tried so hard to both rail against this new element, and simultaneously try to embrace it. She was getting real face time with her dad for the first time in her life, but only by the influence of someone that wasn’t her. My aunt was just impossible to hate, my cousin was truly loved and for the first time in her life, spoiled by her. This didn’t change when my little cousins came along, perhaps the demands for her presence were even more. It’s got to be a turmoil of mixed emotions. That feeling of being an outsider, of feeling like you’re intruding, even if you’re being emphatically welcomed.
You weren’t wanted by the ones you wanted before, why is it different now? Why wasn’t she enough to at least be around some?
Now that he has passed, my aunt has still not changed, still tries so hard to stay connected to her stepdaughter, sometimes she’s successful, sometimes not.
I wonder how much things might have been different had my uncle said he was sorry about anything, even once.