Monday, September 27, 2004

The Lemon is leaving a sour taste in my mouth...

"It's just like buying a new car. You can change the oil, rotate the tires...You can do everything right and sometimes you still get a lemon"

kj4ever's Mother's response to how the hell did her oldest daughter get in our family.

This may sound harsh. The truth is usually harsh.

My sister is 8 years older then me. She was the little princess until I came along, and she did not like vying for the crown one bit. I am pretty sure she hated me at first site.

Needless to say, we did not have a good relationship growing up. You could not get two more different people if you tried. I have always been independent. My sister was clingy and insecure. She was also a huge whiner. Every day of my young life I can remember her bitching and moaning about something.

This person had THREE pairs of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and she only had TWO. Why wouldn't my parents buy her a brand NEW car. Hell, they didn't even offer to buy her a used car, but she always did shoot for the sky. She always wanted what other people had, and she was never willing to work for it.

There were daily fights at my house between my Mom and my sister. I don't know how my Mom didn't kill her. The woman is a saint. My sister was that kid who is always one step behind the popular crowd-A wanna be that never has any true friends because she was always spending her time trying to impress people that could care less about her.

She didn't fit in with the rest of us. My brother, who is three years older then me, and I were inseparable. To this day we are still the best of friends. We were both wildly independent, and were little mini moguls between paper routes, grass cutting, and snow shoveling.

I got a brand new car when I turned 16, but I paid for it...In cash...So did my brother, except he was better with money and got a Mustang. I settled for the Escort, but it was still mine. My sister bitches to this day that we both had cars when we were teenagers, but conveniently she leaves out the fact that we both paid for them ourselves.

Sometimes I think that perhaps my bro and I were that independent because we realized my Mom just didn't have anything left by the time she dealt with my sister on a daily basis. There was always a crisis, always a drama at home. When she went away to college when I was in 5th grade it was the best thing that ever happened.

That year was wonderful. Our household changed so dramatically it was like night and day. My parents were different people. There was no fighting. Everyone did there own thing and got along. When my sister asked if she could stay at college for the summer to take classes, there was no argument from the parental units.

So we had three really great years, and then my parents got a bombshell. My sister had eloped. They had met the guy once, and they totally despised him. The second bombshell came a month later-She was 4 months pregnant. You do the math.

Yes, people have kids out of wedlock or get prego before they get married all the time and it isn't a big deal. This was 20 years ago though, and my parents, especially my Father, were devastated.

Matters didn't improve when they found out that her new hubby had a job making minimum wage. They really didn't improve when they moved in with us. My Dad pulled some strings and got him a labor type job making decent money, and they finally moved out.

My sister proceeded to pop out three kids in a row. They are all a year or a little less than a year apart. Right now they are 19, 18, and 17. The 19 year old has lived with me for a year. The 18 year old is graduating from high school this year and already has her bedroom planned at my house. The 17 year old tells me I have a year and a half to buy a bigger house because I only have 3 bedrooms.

This could really turn into a long, rambling story here, but I'll make it quick with a listing of, as they call it at work, significant emotional events:

After youngest is born, it is discovered that bro-in-law likes to smack women around.

Sis moves back in with parents, I move out.

She brings all the bills with her when she moves in, as said bro-in-law disappears. She's about to lose her house, car, and has 4 credit cards.

Parents discuss with youngest child (me) and end up having to use said child's college fund to bail out sister.

Sister finishes college and gets good job.

Sister moves out with children.

Parents retire down south to help with ailing Grandparents.

I was only 20, but I did not want to live in the south. I stay. I take on horrible assembly job to pay bills and school.

Sister feels cheated by life and loves single status. Children stay mostly with their Aunt (me).

Sister's car breaks down. I buy her another one so she can get to work.

Children's Father is in and out of the early part of their lives. Out is better, as it is also discovered he likes to drink a bit too much. Sister uses this to get me to have kids most weekends. If I don't take them, they go to their Fathers, which upsets kids greatly.

Sister almost loses house for second time and I have to bail her out.

Boyfriend at the time begs me to move to LA with him to write scripts. I can't leave the kids. Just can't.

Sister's car breaks down again because she didn't take care of it. I give her my car and buy another for me.

School clothes, book fees, Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, and occasionally the tooth fairy are all responsibilities I held from 20 to now. She couldn't afford those things, but she always had everything she needed or wanted.

That's it in a nutshell. I have basically raised my sister's kids. Why am I dumping all this emotional bullshit on you poor, innocent, unsuspecting people?

Because I am mad as hell.

She has started calling me this week. As the children have grown to almost adults, the contact I have with my sister is minimal. Yes, we still see each other at holidays and family functions and stuff. She can really be very cool when she wants to be.

The problem is when she starts calling me she needs something. She's being very sweet too, and this scares the shit out of me. It must be big. My niece (the 18 year old) called me and said something about her Mom saying she was selling the house.

Now I know of two times she has said that, and one time it cost my parents big money, and one time it cost me big money.

When do you say enough is enough?? The youngest, much to my horror, was shipped off to his Father's house. My niece could move in with me just a bit early I suppose. It is not in my nature to turn my back on blood, no matter what has transpired in the past.

My God though...I have spent my entire young adult life cleaning up her fuck ups and raising her kids. My dreams were put on hold while she was out having a blast. I just don't think I can do it.

I'm mad at my parents for leaving me with all this crap. I look at my nephew that lives with me. My God, he is just a bit younger then I was when I was totally taking care of myself and my sister and my sister's kids. My parents really did need to take care of my Grandparents, and they didn't just pack up in the middle of the night and leave me...I had a choice.

Is it wrong to wonder what would have happened if I had chose different? If I would have said fuck it and moved and went to school like a normal freakin' kid? To wonder what I would have done with my life if I hadn't taken on a responsibility no 20 year old should have to endure?

Wondering is one thing, but I do not regret. My nephews and niece give me hope for the future. They are great kids, despite all they have been through. They will lead wonderful lives....

I still get angry about it though. Angry at what could have been or should have been...


Annie said...

I am the oldest of five and both of my parents worked which left me to "raise" the kids. I took them to their practices, games, made them do their chores, homework, grooming, you name it. They resented the hell out of me for it.

Now that they are older and some have kids of their own, they see things in a different light. I am now their confidant, advisor, venting machine and friend.

Thank god you did for these kids when their parents did not.

rancette said...

Wow, ok. The good news is that you have the rest of your life. People life longer these days and you still have 40-60 years left, approximately.

Yeah, I look at some of the decisions my parents made, and it's like, why the **** did you do that?

Well, we can't change the past. And we can move on. Although, recently I've kind of discovered that the past still affects us. Oh well. You've been a great Aunt. And that's more than some people will ever accomplish.

Anonymous said...

After reading this... I seriously began to wonder if your sister is a clone of my mother.
That is exactly how things went with her. I didn`t have the luck of my aunt being able to let me stay at her place, so I ended up being pretty much raised by my grandparents. They moved to the countryside, and I stayed with my mother for a bit to not have to change schools.
2 years later, I saved up my money and ran away to the absolute farthest place from her - the other side of the planet - Japan.

You sound almost exactly like my aunt though... I can`t help coming back to read your blog all the time. It`s a sad shock to see another family out there is like mine.

By the way, I`m now happy and secure, far removed from my leech mother.