My Mom is a Mom, you know?

“Great thread title you got there, Marley.”
“Yeah, for some reason I suck at these.”
“You do. This one isn’t about anybody dying, is it?”
“For once, no.”
“Still, that’s a head-slapper of a title.”
“Can we move on?”

So we’ve had some unusual drama in my family of late: the short version is that my Mom, age 56 and (so you would think) looking forward to being done with having young kids in her house, since my youngest brother is nearing college time, is caring for her two youngest nephews.

This wasn’t supposed to happen, obviously. Both the parents have serious problems, and the father (my oldest cousin) has been in and out jail, I think three times now - hey, maybe going on four! Sometime last month, he punched his wife and was hauled away to jail. He may still be there, because my family is too pissed off to bail him out. Or maybe he’s been sentenced. There’s not much contact happening at this point, for obvious reasons.

Shortly after he was arrested, his wife called the police and said they should come and get her two sons, ages 6 and 3, because she’d overdosed on pills. I get the impression this wasn’t true, but again, I wouldn’t know. I think I’ve met her once, very briefly, the other time her first son came to live with my parents. I believe she really did try to kill herself that time, but it was five years ago and only lasted about a week.

So the boys were sent to a foster family. Their grandmother, my mom’s oldest sister, was not considered a decent choice to take care of them because she’s a space case we hardly ever see, and, well, you can see how well her son turned out, and her 18-year-old daughter ran away from home to live with her high school boyfriend’s family after giving the mother a fake story about taking a house with a bunch of friends. So she was not considered, at least within my own family. I don’t know if she was interested. My mom’s younger sister also didn’t seem too interested in the situation, but my mom found it unacceptable.

And so my parents hosted CPS for all the appropriate interviews. They were awarded legal guardianship Wednesday and the boys moved in yesterday. Nobody knows how long this is arrangement going to last, since presumably one of the parents would have to prove fitness to take care of the kids again. They’re allowed supervised visits at some point, presumably after the kids get acclimated to my family (if my experience is any indication, this will take about 20 years).

It’s nobody’s idea of a good situation. My dad isn’t thrilled. The middle brother likes kids, but he prefers to be left alone. And I don’t know what the youngest one thinks because he’s not back from summer camp for another two weeks, but it’s hard to imagine a 16-year-old being very excited about a pair of young kids suddenly coming to live with him and possibly interfering with his plans to play Halo until all hours and have his friends over whenever possible.

That said, it sounds like everybody understands this beats the alternatives. And in particular I’m really impressed with my mom. She didn’t have to do this. That family is not part of our lives at all and it would’ve been reasonable to conclude that she didn’t need to get involved and that somebody else could have handled it. She’s raised three children already, but she’s rising to this occasion. I’m proud of her.

Good for your mom. In light of the alternatives, it sounds like this might lead to the best possible outcome for the small children involved. And yeah, it’s going to be sub-optimal for everyone else concerned, but hopefully once the dust settles, it won’t be so bad. (Is the 3-year-old potty trained, at least?)

I’m impressed with your Mom, too. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do it. (My son is 24 and has been out of the house for 5 years.)

I hope so, but I couldn’t tell you.

This is a minor thing, but I wanted to mention the sleeping arrangements - some sacrifices are going to have to be made here. When I talked to my mom she suggested she and my father would give the boys their bed, and I assume they would sleep on the downstairs couch. There are only three bedrooms in the house (I shared one with my middle brother for most of 20 years, which explains why I only had one roommate in college and now live in a studio apartment), and there are going to be six people there after camp ends. And I’m guessing there is no way Bro. 3 is going to give up his solitary bedroom to share with our other brother.

Your mom is awesome.

Some pictures deserve their own wall, team legends their own retired number, etc.

Your Mom… her own beautiful, comfy pedestal. She’s a good’n!

An ex-sister-in-law of mine is doing this. She’s raising her daughter’s two girls (drug issues with the daughter). I admire anyone with the guts to do it again. Props to your mom!

Bro 3 may have to get on board… :wink:

Your mom rocks. Feel free to help out any way you can! :wink:

Heck, if your Mom was my Mom, bro3 would arrive from camp to find himself in a shared bedroom and hear “oh, we didn’t tell you?”

Good for your parents for doing this, I hope the four kids involved do well (and don’t tell your brothers I called them kids but y’all are definitely young enough to get kicked off my lawn if I had one).

Best wishes!

Doesn’t your mother ever get any breaks? No girls???

I think she must be mighty fine. I guess she has solved her “empty nest” syndrome problems before they could arise. I hate to think of the violence these little ones have seen.

A word about their mom: It is important to pay attention to someone who talks about suicide at all. It’s a way of letting people know that they need help even though it may be done sub-consciously.

He’s been through enough. :wink:

I don’t know what’s happening with the mother, Zoe. I’m guessing her family is dealing with it. And yes, no girls - my dad was sure the youngest brother would be, but it wasn’t in the cards. Empty nest syndrome may not be in the cards either. One of my brothers is getting ready for grad school, which could keep him at home for a while. :stuck_out_tongue:

Why is it even his choice?

I commend your mom, but I think you’re youngest brother should just be told he’s going to share a room and that’s the end of it. Your parents shouldn’t have to sleep on the couch. I know that I wouldn’t have even been asked my opinion when I was 16.

I don’t know what they’re doing for sure, but they really couldn’t fit those two kids into his bed anyway, so probably they’re picking their battles. Or maybe they feel bad for him about that whole brain tumor thing.

I see I didn’t mention that in the OP, which is what happens when you write on a Friday when you’re trying to get out of the office. I can’t explain this properly, but somehow I feel like this is a little bit of a fresh start for my mom. Like she’s getting a chance to throw herself back into caring for a kid after all the craziness from last year.

The official sleeping arrangements are thus, by the way: kids in my parents’ bedroom and my parents’ in youngbro’s full-sized bed, which is not exactly fun for my parents. Sooner or later they’ll go to the pull-out couch in the living room and leave my brother to his own bed.

As I mentioned, I shared a room with my brother basically from age 5 to age 25, excepting college, so… agh.

I’m impressed as well–but a bit concerned about the sleeping arrangements. 3 year olds are not known for sharing beds well… nor are 16 year olds. I wish her (and all of you) the best.

My mom did the same. After raising her two to adulthood, helping raise my step-siblings to adult hood, then, before the one that lived with them left the nest, took in my infant cousin. My little sister (legally adopted at 5YO) is now 12. Some day, she’ll get that empty nest…maybe…

Our moms rock.

For those of you who thought this situation was too boring, my dad is now out of a job, with two extra kids in the house and my youngest brother coming home from camp over the weekend.


It’s never dull at your house, is it… (sorry about your Dad).

It really isn’t. I remember how bored I was when I’d just moved home a couple of years ago and the idea seems ridiculous.

Actually this is one of the few phone conversations in my life I really wish I could have taped. Aside from this drama with the kids, apparently I’m lucky I’ve got all my chromosomes in the right place, because my mom admits she got high all the time when she was pregnant with me.

You know, people admit funny things when they’re stressed and blowing off steam.

I’m sorry about your dad. Is there any possibilty of your parents getting registered as foster parents so they would qualify for some sort of stipend for the boys’ upkeep?