I have always felt, deep in my heart, that your family is one of the most important things one can have in your life. The bonds between parent and child, sibling and sibling, and extended family is one of the things that keeps us sane. I have always said that I would do anything for my family, and in turn, my extended family through my husband.
Oh boy was I a complete idiot!
What I have learned so far in this life, is that we have progressed from a world where family was revered and respected, to a world where everyone is looking out for #1 and be damned with everyone else! I learned about that when we were living up north in Memphis with HHH's mother. Once there, she began to charge us exorbitant rent and electric fees for staying with her. Sometimes it was more than the bills amounted to! (We were also providing all the food for the house as well.) When she was tired of working, she would "call in sick" and we would have to pick up the tab. We weren't expecting a free ride, but dammit man.....where does the nickle and diming stop? Of course you all know about the BIL and his family....how we were staying with them while we were homeless and gave him money, merchandise and food for such privilege, and then were subsequently thrown out on the street by the BIL's in-laws. That was another great family moment. BIL never spoke up, never gave us any money back, and never said he was sorry. Or how about my own mother and father, who verbally attacked my husband for getting fired from the Stuart job and told me they were done with me. Yeah....that one would have made a great Norman Rockwell print. Then there is my perpetually insane sister, who in her short life has been a drug addict, slut, prostitute, liar, and schemer to defraud the government. Yeah.....she married a Pakastani National to get him a green card and get him into the country a year before 9/11 happened. She did it for a lousy $20,000 and in my heart, I wonder if her "husband" was one of those who have been put on terror watch lists. Her "husband" disappeared, and she just got crazier. She also tried to tell me my dad raped her. Right after I had left my mom's and the awful confrontation she decided to lay on me, good old Sis calls me and proceeds to tell me that Mom and Dad are done with me and everything that went with me. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Don't call, don't write, just hit the road. I said ok and haven't called them since.
Well, that was until yesterday, when Fay went over and pounded Okeechobee, FL a lot harder than the weather forecasters said it would. I had that stupid ass nagging voice in the back of my head saying, "C'mon. You gotta at least call and see if they are ok!" I ignored that voice for a while. Told it to STFU and did other things. Played Mobsters on MySpace, checked Twitter on and off, and cleaned up a little outside. I told myself, "Self, they were so over you and your family. They didn't want to help you then, so you shouldn't give a damn now!" But there was that voice in there. Annoying, squeaky, constantly repeating the mantra that I have since adopted in my life...... "YOU ARE A BETTER PERSON. BE THE BETTER PERSON."
When my MIL was sick, I still worked and handed over my paychecks because I hoped the good Karma would come back to us. One of the last things I remember doing for her was making her wedding cake at the last minute because the RELATIVE who had offered to do it for her decided to charge her $300 a week before the wedding! (See? More nickle and diming relatives!) I did her cake and catered her wedding. I hoped that the Karma would come back to me. MIL ended up trying to hold the title of a car we bought from her for more money instead. Still grubbing for money........
The BIL and his family have moved out from under his in-laws and into a house that doesn't include them at all. He is struggling to pay bills and to care for his 4 kids because he never finished high school, just got a GED and there isn't a lot to do here in this neck of the woods. We take him grocery shopping every once in a while because I care for those children. It's not their fault the parents are fallen on hard times. Everyone needs to eat. I take him shopping in the hopes that the good Karma will come back to me.
I called my parents number. I was nervous. Would I get hung up on? Would I be greeted with "What do you want!"? It rang. It rang again. Then my mom's voice came over the line, gravely from cigarette smoking, tired from a night battling Fay. I asked if she was OK. I asked about Dad. She didn't know it was me. She thought it was my sister. I explained that it was me and I wasn't going to bother her, I just wanted to know if she and Dad were OK. She seemed ok with me talking to her. We chatted about the weather, about how they were without power for the moment, how she was disappointed that she was unable to send me or the kids a birthday card. I was confused. Didn't she have my sister call me and basically tell me to fuck off?? No, apparently that was just a task my sister had taken upon herself. I apologized. I explained that I was misled by my sister into believing that they were no longer wanting to be in contact. We chatted some more, I explained that I was still upset over her attacks on my husband, and to her credit, Mom wouldn't back down from her opinion. I figure I'll just agree to disagree and leave it at that. She said to call her when we get settled in Sarasota and perhaps set up a time they can come visit. I'm not going to hold my breath. They are in their 70's and can hardly drive, let alone attempt a trip like that. I am not comfortable going over there either. I cannot forget the merciless verbal hacking she gave to me about HHH. I will have to think about it.
That damn voice won't stop though.
"YOU ARE A BETTER PERSON. BE THE BETTER PERSON."
I guess I'll be making a trip out to Mom and Dad's soon.