My youngest siblings cannot be counted on for anything except their knack for injecting melodrama into my mother’s life whenever her attention is focused on something happy and it includes me. For some reason, my having Mom’s almost undivided attention forces one or the other of them to a full code blue.
Last June, as some of you may remember, it was my younger brother CB’s emotional implosion and suicide attempt coinciding with Rob, Dee and I coming back to Iowa for a visit and family reunion. This year, Mom is preparing to come for a visit here with my Auntie and the culprit is Sis (aka BabySis).
Mom and Dad uncharacteristically got a hold of their spines simultaneously last spring and ejected both Sis and her son, Nephew1. Nephew went to live with his father and paternal grandmother in a river town to the south of Dubuque where, not surprisingly, the boy is thriving. Sis moved up to Wisconsin to move in with her boyfriend of more years than I care to remember, LawnMower Man.
I have written a bit about LawnMower Man before and if you care for backstory, you can find it here and here. But the short version is that when he was 21 and she was 16, he knocked her up and then ran off. The baby was put up for adoption thus mercifully escaping knowing either of them and is hopefully a better person today for that one act of selflessness on Sis’s part. Sixteen years later, he showed up again. Divorced and a full-blown alcoholic, he professed his deep and forever feelings for her and she swallowed the whole revolting package – literally – but I try not to go there.
It was the perfect set-up for him. She lived with my folks and visited for booty during the week and stayed on the weekends. She neglected her son for him. She gave him half her paycheck – because she was eating and using utilities while she was with him – and she picked up the check whenever they went out. A sweet deal.
Lawnmower Man never came to the house. My dad’s hatred would have melted him to a puddle such was the heat it gave off. Lawnmower Man stayed away even after Dad was semi-disabled that’s how afraid he was. He is not afraid of Mom. Ever since Dad died, he has been after Mom to let Sis move back in. He calls the house and harasses her.
Sis came home tonight. Bruised and professing in her childishly prattling way,
“You don’t just stop loving a man after seven years.”
Even if he is belting you upside the head and had left welts on your legs that the old southern plantation masters would have been proud to call their own.
DNOS is dealing, but this is not her territory. She took wonderful care of Dad and has dealt with Mom beautifully, but the crazy younger siblings have always been my cross to bear. I can’t do much from this distance and told her so.
“Sis cannot be allowed to stay at Mom’s while she is visiting up here,” I said. “Mom will never get rid of her and you know within a week she’ll be sleeping with that turd again and he will be coming around the house.”
I went on to point out that he is a drunk and wouldn’t think twice about abusing our mother right along with Sis.
There is a shelter in town. Sis could go there tonight, but no one will make her. DNOS’s brother-in-law is the police chief across the river in Illinois and urged DNOS to have Sis file charges. Instead, DNOS called our cousin and his wife and went up to LawnMower Man’s to retrieve whatever might be left of Sis’s stuff. I will get the lowdown on that before the night is over. DNOS was shaky and in tears when she called me. I don’t blame her. Mom fell apart. She’s had a rough last few weeks with the six month anniversary of Dad’s death, her birthday and then Father’s Day.
“I talked to your Dad tonight and told him I just can’t do this,” she told me on the phone.
If I were a 5 hour car trip as opposed to plane ride away, I would simply pull Dee out of school a few days early and go down and take care of things and bring Mom back with me. And trust me, things would be settled before I left. I am a force to be reckoned with. LawnMower Man would have no doubt which daughter was the chip of the Simmering Block. But I am here. I can offer advice – which no one will listen to let alone take.
“This is why I am estranged from my siblings,” Rob said.
And he wasn’t being unsympathetic. Just pointing out a fact that at some point the siblings have to be neutralized and left to fend for themselves. His own mother is now far enough away and finally able to turn down cries for assistance that his sisters and brother are no longer an issue for him. Ultimately this is for my mother to deal with, but she and I need to have a talk, I think.