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~my thoughts about life~



Friday, January 21, 2011

More Pathetic Parenting

This post is actually a vent post.  But it fits perfectly under the heading of Pathetic Parenting.  It's a bit long so bear with me.

Son #1 came home from school visibly upset Tuesday.  He told me that one of his best friends since Kindergarten "pretty much got kicked out of his house."  What?  He's 12...there's no way his mother kicked him out of the house.  But first I must give you the back story.

When I first met this family, they were newly married and she had 3 sons.  I considered them a good Christian family.  The wife eventually had two more children with her new husband.  They were a very nice looking family.  My son quickly became close with the second oldest.  Two years ago, The Nice Family lost their third grade son to a horrible illness.  My son took it badly, as did I.  We tried to help out the family any way we could, financially, babysitting, and of course through prayer. 

The family had to have two separate funerals, one for the mother and one for the father.  They couldn't get along well enough to be in the same room for their son's memorial.  At the mother's funeral, the step-father was a wreck.  He sobbed and cried.  The mother walked around the room greeting people and smiling.  She even took her youngest to the bathroom during the service.  Several people offered to help but she refused.  I reasoned with myself that everyone deals with guilt their own way.  She wasn't outwardly grieving so she must have her moments in private.  But this was the first time that I noticed something odd with her behavior.

The son started hanging out with us more and more.  Maybe it was my imagination but it looked like the mother augmented herself after the death of her son.  Oh well, each to their own.

Then one day, Son #1 told me that the parents of The Nice Family were getting divorced.  I was so saddened for the children but explained to Son #1 that when a family faces a trauma in life, their marriage can often fall apart. 

Shortly after that, the mother showed up at my house in a Land Rover.  They had always driven modest cars and now they were separated.  But Son #1 explained that the car belonged to the mother's boyfriend who was a doctor.  They were living together.  Nice.  Now I'm starting to get a little judgemental.  It may be beside the point but this doctor would rank several slots below the mother and both fathers on an attractiveness scale.  Now, I'm not saying she's a gold digger...

So over the weekend, the two oldest boys were asked to move out and live with their natural father.  He wasn't available to pick them up at the time so it was the ex-step-father who temporarily took them in.  Something is just not right with this picture.  The step-father lives locally, the mother now lives approximately 15 minutes from the boys' school, and the father lives 30 minutes away.  The two sons will likely be pulled out of the school they've attended their entire life.

It saddens me so that I almost feel like offering to take them in myself.  Am I being too judgemental or is this mother totally out of line?  She seems to put her own needs and desires so far above those of her children.  Now, I've never walked in her shoes.  But I hope I would have seen the needs of my living children and tried to help them through.  They have also endured devastation. 

6 comments:

Theresa said...

I swear God always shows us what we need to hear or read or see...

I have been struggling with something similar. In my case, it's my husband's cousin who I was very close with for a long time. When I first became close with her it was because the rest of the family had basically just distanced themselves from her and she started calling me crying. I could not understand a family abandoning one of their own when the person was in obvious crisis. I thought when the current mess she had gotten herself into was over she would be in a better place. She really seemed to want to live a good Christian life. But over the next 7 years, I watched her get out of one bad situation only to put herself and her family into another...and cry about it. She would be annoyed if I gave any advice, I was supposed to listen and agree with her. Over time, i just could not do it anymore and I pulled away, as all of the other family members had done. I tried to avoid a confrontation, but that is how she is...and she said I was a bad Christian and judgmental. that was a year ago. I've been working on myself not to feel bad about it... She lives on the opposite coast from us and is coming here on vacation...and I am not sure what to do...I do not want to distance my kids from her kids, I want that connection with her children, unfortunately that means opening myself up to her as well...

I have to say that every day, I find a blog, a book, a Bible reading that makes me think I need to just hold still and do nothing right now.

I think that if you are patient, in time the answer will come to you.

Taking the child in would be wonderful. But does his natural father not want to? Would you be opening your family up to something with this family?

Mimsie said...

Selfishness with a capital "S" on the part of the mother is my quick reaction. Do parents ever stop to think about the permanent emotional scars they will leave on their kids? Taking the boy in permanently, even if it were legally possible, would not be healthy for your own family, IMHO, but.....if it were me, I would let my son know his friend is always welcome to come to our house to visit, to escape to a "sanctuary" of family normalcy and emotional warmth from time to time.

~she~ said...

Taking in the boy is not a realistic possibility...it's just something I wish I could do. Yes, his natural father wants him but I question his parenting ability also. I wish the father lived closer so that the boy could come over here as often as he would like. But since they live 30 minutes away, I'm sure he will switch school districts soon and we may never see him again. He came over after school yesterday and it just made me sad for him. I told him he's always welcome.

Mimsie said...

You have a very kind heart.....

Guru Mama Mel said...

The mother sounds almost numb. I cannot imagine losing a child so I haven't got a clue what she must be going through. Maybe she is trying to detach herself from everything that has the possibility of reminding her of the child she lost. I don't know what I would do if it were me...but I do know I wouldn't be moving on so quickly. I agree with the above statement...you have a kind heart. Maybe the best place for the other children is NOT with this woman. And you do have every right to feel the way you do about it. It stinks to watch kids go through things like that. Your son has probably learned some good life lessons from all of this.

~she~ said...

Mimsie, thanks. I would rather be remembered for having a kind heart than a rockin' body or augmented chest. :)

Mel, you are so right. I never thought about the fact that moving away from their mother might be the best thing for these boys. And you're right...my son has learned some valuable lessons. I think he actually appreciates me more. Thanks for being my glass half full gal!