I have a love-hate relationship with my in-laws. Come to think of it, I have a love-hate relationship with both families – mine and M’s. There are a lot of things that occur with both families I have an issue with that no matter how much I voice my displeasure, it seems: 1) No one cares; or 2) People care but not nearly to the point where they actually want to do something about the issue.
The issues involve both of our brothers. My older brother, M’s younger brother. They’re both very much alike. They’re both completely different. They both have one thing in common: they drive our parents up the wall. My parents, for example, have been raising three of my brother’s four kids (by two different women) because he refuses to have a steady job with benefits. It’s not that he can’t find a job or a career; he just doesn’t want to. I can honestly say the majority of his income is dependent on my parents and generous friends of his.
Now, my parents are in their 60s. They’re at a point in their lives where they
probably shouldn’t be taking care of any children and only see the grandchildren on the weekends and some selected weekdays. My parents aren’t also in the best shape due to various medical ailments. I always wonder exactly what will happen to my brother’s lifestyle if our parents suddenly died. Would he actually step up to the plate and take care of his children? Or would he carry on like nothing ever happened? It amazes me that my brother doesn’t look at that scenario as a true possibility. I always want to ask him,’If our parents suddenly died, who is going to take care of your kids? Because certainly, you can’t even take care of them while our parents are still alive!’
My brother-in-law is a special snowflake. He’s in a volatile situation with his (ex?) wife. Before you get your panties in a bunch, it’s him being abused; not the other way around. I say “ex” in that manner because it’s unclear if they’re actually together or not, despite living together. Yeah, that situation beats the hell out of me as well. For years, there’s been ongoing drama surrounding them. And for years, it’s always been M and his parents to the rescue. It concerns me on a few levels: 1) Parents shouldn’t get involved with what’s going in their children’s marriages, especially if the child has no plans on leaving; 2) Children shouldn’t have their parents get involved with their marriages, especially if they know they have no plans on leaving; 3) There’s a level of co-dependency/enabling going on that makes me very uncomfortable, as if certain people aka my mother-in-law thrive on the drama.
I’ve spoken to M about this several times and he agrees with me – so he says. I think he agrees with me to an extent. You see, M and his family are first generation immigrants from Ukraine. There are no other family members here in the country; it’s just the four of them. Unfortunately, due to a variety of circumstances I rather not divulge, M’s mother doesn’t have any friends. So as you can imagine, we’re BET, CNN, MTV, and HBO wrapped into one. It’s something I’ve gotten used to and not because of want. I’m pretty much forced to. I do feel if she had hobbies or friends, she wouldn’t be so emotionally dependent on family. As much as my mother-in-law says she hates what is going on, I do wonder if she secretly likes what is happening, simply because it gives her something to do.
Back to the topic at hand…there’s only four of them in the country and as a result, they are tight-knit. As a result, they do look out for each other. As a result, they also have a tendency of not wanting to stir the pot because of certain situations (remember my issue of them conveniently ignoring Ethan?).
My issue with both families is that it seems the parents will let their children practically get away with murder because it’s just easier than to sit them down and say, ‘Hey, that shit you’re doing? Please stop it.’ Now, I’m saying this from the outside looking in. Maybe being non-confrontational is better than addressing the issue in some aspects. Maybe some things are just better not commenting on than acknowledging them. Maybe. Personally, the moment an issue affects your health and quality of life, that’s when you need to put your foot down.
I’m very concerned for my in-laws and how they deal with my brother-in-law. His situation is very unpredictable and makes me extremely uncomfortable, to the point where I don’t even want to bring Yoda to family gatherings knowing him and his wife will be there. I asked M, point blank, ‘Do you honestly believe your parents will be able to take care of your brother and watch a newborn at the same time?’
I feel with both families, I’m being ignored or I’m getting the, ‘We’ll handle this, stay out of it’ type of response. For the most part, I do stay out of it because even I can admit with information passed to me, not all of it is truthful and transparent. There have been more than a few situations, from both camps, where it was clear some key details were purposely left out.
I think before I got pregnant, I felt annoyed but shrugged it off. As I’m rapidly approaching the due date, however, I’m starting to become more protective of Yoda and I want to shield him from the bullshit. I’m not saying, by any means, that Yoda won’t spend time with his grandparents. What I am saying, pristine clear, is I wonder how much love and attention Yoda would get from his grandparents when they’re too busy wiping the shit from their son’s ass? My brother is damn near 40. My brother-in-law is almost 30. At what point do you fucking grow up and stop sucking your mother’s tit?
I can’t predict how I’ll be as a parent. I simply don’t know. I might be lax. I might be strict. I really don’t know. I do hope, learning from example, I will raise independent children who don’t need me to rescue them every other turn.