… except for me.
Since my Dad’s death back in the fall of 2008, Mother has, in one way or another, gifted vehicles on all the licensed members of my immediate family. DNOS got the ball rolling when she asked for Dad’s car (mostly to make sure that Mom didn’t give it to our brother, CB, who behaved in a most heinous manner in the days following Dad’s death). She drove it a bit but ended up selling it in the end.
Which resulted in Mom buying our nephew, N1, his first car. He’d been promised Dad’s car and when he found out that DNOS had sold the car, whining on a toddler level ensued from both the boy and his mother, my youngest sister, Baby.
N1 promptly wrecked the first and second car he received due to his Grandmother’s guilty conscience, so she bought him a BMW, used, causing Rob to remark,
“What do I have to fix around your Mom’s house the next time we visit to get her to buy me a BMW?”
The beemer came to an untimely end within weeks. The State of Iowa decided it had enough around the same time Mom did. The state pulled N1’s license and Grandma closed her car loan office.
At this point in the story its cars 4, immediate family benefiting from free cars just two. CB, Baby and I were still free car free.
After N1’s infamous visit to CB last fall (his reward for losing his driver’s license, dropping out of high school and wrecking 3 cars was a holiday in Cali), CB was forced to decamp back to the mountains for some life rebuilding. Of course, he needed wheels and naturally, Mom mailed a check.
Cars 3. Siblings 2 out of 4. One grandchild/three wrecked vehicles.
Not long ago, Mom and I were chatting and she admits to me that despite vowing to close the Bank of Mom/Grandma, she lent money to Baby and N1 for … cars.
“Seriously?” I said.
“Well, Baby’s car engine blew up and without a car she’d have to move back in with me. That’s not happening.”
“But what about N1? He lives with his Dad. What’s in this for you?
“The temp job at the plastic plant worked out. It’s shift work. Without a car, he won’t be able to hang onto the job,” she said. “It’s the first job he’s had.”
“I guess spending the winter moping in your Dad’s attic is an inspirational vision quest sort of thing,” I replied.
“And he has a girlfriend.”
Who lives in his Dad’s attic with him. Or so I am told. Only way to salvage some manhood in such a situation is full-time employment and a car.
Although Mom insists her latest bit of largesse is no gift because she required both Baby and N1 to sign contracts stipulating repayment, I have my doubts. Baby still regularly grocery shops in Mom’s pantry and has no end of cagey excuses to try to con cigarette money from Mom’s purse. She wouldn’t have to do either if Lawnmower Man wasn’t drinking up her paycheck now that he is “too disabled” to work. And it won’t be long before N1 has some emergency that will cause him to skip a payment.
“You’re going to be a Great-Grandma before you know it,” I told her.
“Oh, I better not be. I had a talk with him about that.”
I didn’t ask for details. It’s giggle-worthy enough to picture my 80-year-old mother giving the birth control what-for to my 18-year-old nephew without them.
Now however, it’s everyone has gotten a car but me. When I pointed this out to Mom, she stammered a bit because it honestly hadn’t occurred to her, and it wouldn’t. This is just one thing on a long list of perks afforded my younger sibs that being the oldest makes me ineligible for. Being the prodigal’s older sib is perk free. It is known.
It’s not as if she’s never helped me out; she has. I am not forgetful or ungrateful, but it’s disconcerting to hear her fear for her financial future, knowing that the only reason she won’t retire is out of fear of going broke and knowing that she’s spent thousands and thousands on cars.
And I didn’t get one.
“She couldn’t afford to keep you in the wheels you are accustomed to,” Rob said.
“Well, that’s your fault,” I countered.
“Indeed, I spoil you.”
He does at that, which is interesting because I wasn’t raised to be such a woman. I don’t have expectations of jewels, luxury holidays where I don’t prepare a single meal or even the latest techie toys (which judging from my clusterfuck experience with my smart phone’s voice navigator today is just as well). My Dad would be quite pleased with how modestly I live. His eyes would wiggle like one of Santa’s elves if he knew about the cars though, but when they met up again somewhere in the future, he won’t say a word to her about it. He spoiled her too.