Friday, January 15, 2010

How I See It

How do you know what you're doing is the right thing to do? Since there isn't a life manuscript to follow or some sort of guide to say 'yes, if you do this then things will turn out this way' how do you decide? I always question if life is predetermined, a destiny, or fate. Is it simply based on karmic values you get out of it what you put in or is it based solely on every choice you make. Some choices being those you didn't make which in the end is ultimately a choice too.

I question this a lot when dealing with the girls. Am I going to screw them up and they will end up spending half of their adult life in therapy talking about the horrible childhood they had? So far I personally think things are good but you never know what or how someone else truly feels about a situation. I think back about when my brother was attempting to divorce his wife... First let me tell you they are still married sadly. My brother couldn't bear the thought of leaving his kids so he's sucking it up I believe in a loveless marriage until they are old enough and out of school. During the time he had moved out of the house he told me that his divorce was really all my dad's fault. My dad didn't tell him not to marry the first girl he dated, didn't talk to him about sex, never took him on vacations... He blamed my dad for anything he could to take the blame off of himself and his horrid wife.

My brother had wanted to leave for 3 years but something always happened and he couldn't tell his wife he wanted to leave. First she got pregnant with their 3rd child, the next year her mom committed suicide on Christmas, and the third year he had an affair. He figured if he cheated he would have to tell her the truth and it was his way out. Well it was for awhile. The girl he was dating was awesome. Even though my brother was spineless and asked me to breakup with his mistress for him we still talk through FB. She married a really nice guy and is very happy although in a perfect world I think she is totally still in love with my brother. Anyway when he went back to his wife he gave up himself essentially. My brother is a perfectionist. He is a cardiologist with high honors. He has been accepted to every program and school he's applied for. He has never failed. Until now. Having an affair and getting divorced was a big fat "F" in my brother's eyes. (Keep in mind I don't condone having an affair at all, but he's my brother and I supported him when he needed it.) So instead of living and learning and accepting his decisions he passed the buck onto my dad.

I explained to my brother through all of this that we are given two parents for a reason. That being that one person can't do everything so when dad can't do something to help you you always have mom. (Yes I realize there are single parent families, divorced families, gay families, and all different kind of families but I am speaking of OUR family only. My parents are still happily married.) When I needed something car or house related fixed I would ask dad. When I needed relationship advice I'd ask mom. I knew what their strengths were and I would go to that person for that thing that I needed. My brother understood and then talked about how we never went anywhere as kids. That's a lie. We went camping every year, we went to the world's fair, on a cruise, and to see relatives around the country. OK so maybe it's not the most lavish vacations but good Lord, my dad worked 3 jobs most of the time and when I was in high school he took a fourth job as a Jr. college teacher 2 nights a week. He was at every one of my swim meets and for a few years was the official during the meets. My dad worked hard and we had everything we wanted. We never had to worry if we could afford groceries or pay the bills. We were safe and well cared for. Now don't get me wrong my parents aren't perfect but they tried their best and I feel they did a good job.

So in the heat of my brother's divorce fiasco a very fine line was drawn. I wasn't going to tell my dad all of the horrible things that my brother said about him. I also was tired of dealing with my brother's wife. She had told him he had to choose between her or me (weird I know). Just as a side brother's wife is a very jealous person. They have 3 boys. When she heard 4 years ago I had had a girl everything changed and she became really mean. Thinking back now she was always deceitful but it was hidden better. Anyway she yelled at me one day for not wanting to bring the baby out to see her on her demands. At that point she started treating me funny. I told my parents but at that point they thought I was overreacting. Then a few years later the virus spread to them and they saw for themselves it wasn't me but her. She definitely was being a jerk. I talked it over with my brother but he wouldn't get involved. He's a coward like that. Can't confront an issue because that might cross the lines of communication. (But later when he listed the reason for wanting to divorce her they were they same reasons I felt like I couldn't take her anymore.) She also had done some pretty despicable things to my parents and my parents decided they no longer wanted to have any contact with her and she didn't want to have anything to do with them.

So here I am. In the middle. Trying to maintain something with my brother and trying to make things work out with him and my parents despite the fact that he decided to go back to the wife. Whenever I spoke to him we would talk all around the big pink elephant in the room but never about it. Finally I snapped. I just wanted to know how things were going to be. Were we supposed to be calling him on his cell phone only because his wife was erasing the messages although you can't tell him that because she says she didn't, he had an affair, and now he can't challenge anything she says. She used to buy and send x-mas presents for the kids... would he be doing it now or are we just going to stop the gift giving? Will my parents ever get a picture of their grand kids again? (Here again she says she sent them to everyone- her 'everyone' just didn't include my parents.) I just wanted to know how things were going to be. All I got back was denial.

So let me note a few things before I go on. My brother is 5 years older than me. When he left for college I was 12. He never came home. My parents think he was ashamed of them that they weren't doctors or something with a great title. My dad actually has a very successful business he started from scratch. Anyway because he never came home we never spoke. People would always ask me about my brother but it was like telling them about a cousin or something. So once I went to college, he was in the military for school so I saw him at his graduations, or wedding, or the births of his kids. I could be a real ass and point out the only event he has come to for me was my college graduation. He did not attend my wedding, he has never met Ava and saw Olivia once at a wedding for my cousin. I was never a priority for him. Anyway we were never tight until he had the affair. We actually were like brother and sister for a few short months thanks to his mistress. It was really really nice. He was a totally different person. I liked him. He could share his feelings. He told me he never failed at anything and this was killing him. I told him all the dumb things that I did in the past. He said he always wondered if his success put stress on me to be like him. Actually it freed me. My parent's already had the Messiah therefore I could do whatever I wanted. Yes, they wanted me to be an Olympic swimmer. I never wanted that kind of stress. I wanted to be free to change my mind and go on my own journey without guardrails. And I did.

And then it happened. After a few times of my brother packing his kids in the car to send them home with their mom he broke. He couldn't take it. I don't blame him. I would have probably done the same thing unless I had sole custody. So he returned to that dark place of marriage hiding his feelings and passing everyday by saying everything's OK when it wasn't for the sake of his kids. During this time I had two thoughts that were always crossing my mind. First, this sucks that he's doomed. I wouldn't wish this on my enemy. I miss the brother I had for a few months and I know he's not happy. And second, She will force him to pick between us.

So going back to when I said we were having the conversation about how things were going to be and all I got was denial. I could hear on the phone that day he was already gone. We got in a huge fight. I told him all of this was his fault, their fault. Yes, I was probably out of line but I felt it was the truth. Our family was screwed up because of their actions. I was done trying to fix it. He hung up on me. Typical for him. He can't tolerate confrontation or being wrong. So I called him back and left him this message, "I can't do this anymore with you. I can't fix it between you and mom and dad. I can't not talk about what's really happening. I love you and the boys. I hope you have a happy life and wish you the best but I can't be a part of it anymore." I gave him the out that I knew he couldn't do for himself. I know if he would still talk to me his life would be scrutinized by his wife. She'd treat him bad and I'd be to blame. Eventually he'd would have just stopped talking to me.

You may think this wasn't the best solution to our problems but I had to move forward with my life and my family and taking one major issue off of my brother's plate was the best gift I could have given him. I think sometimes if he decides to divorce her 10 years from now when the kids are grown would he call me or me him? I don't know. I don't know what he'd do. If he called and he needed a sister, although I would be pissed at him for not fighting for me, I'd be there. I'd be there because it's the right thing to do. I'd be there because although I couldn't be part of his life I still love him like a brother even though he always treated me like a cousin. I'd be there because even though he's a stupid stupid sh*t, he's my family. His wife can not take away the fact that he is blood related to me. Nothing can change that. As for me...would I or will I contact him? No. Wow I can answer that so fast. When I think about fate, how our lives are supposed to turn out, is it destiny or just whatever the heck we make of it... I think that things didn't turn out so bad. He left me with a great a friend, his mistress. And when I think of her I think of the one time in my life that I truly enjoyed my brother. I think of how happy he was with her. He was free with his emotions with her. He entwined our lives and maybe this was the reason. Maybe subconsciously souls know where they are headed and his knew he and I would be no longer so he left me with the next best thing. Who knows. What I do know is that none of my brother's issues with his wife have anything to do with his childhood and the lack of vacations he felt we had. I certainly hope he didn't spend his time in therapy (2 whole sessions) telling the therapist it's all my parents fault.

When I started this post this I wasn't even thinking about my brother. I was thinking of my girls and if I am doing a good job parenting them. Will they have to spend their lives in therapy because we aren't giving them enough or doing enough or whatever? Are we too hard as parents or are we too easy? Where's the freakin' book that tells you what to do in every situation? How do you know when you are ready for another child or ready to stop having kids? Is money always going to be the issue that dictates our lives and chooses our path for us? Is it wrong to throw caution to the wind and just take the big leap of faith that it will all work out how it is supposed to in the end whether it's good or bad? How do you know you'll stay married forever? I mean you get married to be married forever but as we see divorce happens. People's ideals change during their lives and what if what one person wants is different than the other persons wants and they just stay together but are resentful or they need to leave to attain the things they now feel they need. I only have one divorced friend. It was out of her control. She tried everything but unfortunately everything didn't work. Her partner's ideals changed and she couldn't live the 'married with kids' lifestyle anymore. Some things are just out of our control. We only really know how we think and feel inside. My brother secretly despised his wife for 3 years without telling her. He already had a new checking account, a divorce lawyer, girlfriend, and an apartment before telling his wife. My friend's wife knew for months she was leaving but waited until she felt the baby was old enough that my friend could handle it. Deception is a nasty aspect in relationships. Even when it doesn't happen directly to you, it's hard to not wonder if one day it will happen to you or if it will be you. Don't get me wrong I am not secretly planning on divorcing my husband and I don't think he's planning on leaving me either. We are in a good place in our marriage. Sometimes I just wonder with all the mayhem around us will it one day affect us too? Is it just silly to think that we can escape the odds and choose the right road for success? Would making one bad decision destroy the whole picture or are we strong enough to survive anything? I hope so. I hope that whether or not Dave and I hit a bump in the road or our ideals change that we both can change together or somehow agree to disagree but still love eachother and want to be with eachother. I don't want to think years from now that I really didn't know what I had until it was gone.

Well that being said, my girls having been playing by themselves for quite some time now and have very good even though they both have colds. I need to fix them some lunch and spend some quality time with them because in a blink they'll be grown and I'll wish I had these moments back. That and they are chasing eachother with a shark and a whale and yelling "sperm." Maybe I shouldn't have been so graphic when I told them the difference between the whales was that one was a sperm whale and the other was an orca. Hind sight stinks.

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