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Ripples in the pond

It’s been a busy, long season.

I’m having coffee on the patio with Bear this lovely morning and reveling in the emptiness of today’s schedule. At some point there will be grocery shopping, but otherwise I’m free, and on break from classes for another week. Full on relaxation is happening today.

Having been in classes to become a licensed massage therapist for almost a year (!) I can safely say I’m looking forward to having my time become my own again as much as I look forward to being certified. Possibly more. Don’t get me wrong, the classes are great, and I’m learning a ton- but I am about fed up with replacing my entire life with studying. My classmates are (mostly) lovely. There are one or two folks I don’t connect with, and I get outright annoyed at a few sometimes, but in the main they’re a good bunch of people whom I’m very pleased to know. I couldn’t ask for better instructors- they’ve both shown themselves to be exceedingly patient and kind with our various learning curves. I’m quite grateful to my Hula sister for pointing my way there.

….

My brother called me late last night- his ringtone is ‘man of constant sorrow‘ for a reason. He and his girlfriend are addicted to heroin (discovered that about 6 months ago), they have a baby, and he recently quit his job of 13 years (hasn’t gotten a new one yet). They were evicted from their apartment a couple months ago, so they moved in with a friend. There is so much more back story here it would take a week to write it all…. Anyway, his call last evening was to ask if they could stay the night with us.

I said no.

I felt like an asshole, but I still said no.

I know many people would look at that information and say ‘ how could you leave your family hanging in the wind like that? They have a baby!’ My answer is this: I have a child as well, and my job is to put his well-being and the well-being of my immediate family first. Monkey is a teenager now, and while we have had many discussions about drugs and healthy behaviour, and making healthy life choices, my actions speak louder than my words. How can I expect him to make difficult choices, even if they are right and healthy, if I won’t show him how? Bringing my brother and his family into our home to stay -even for a night (which we all know turns into a weekend, which turns into a month, world without end amen)- would not be healthy for my family on any level. So I said no.

And I feel like an asshole.

I’m considering building a shed on our property, so that when people ask if they can crash I can point to the shed and say- there’s nothing in there, it’s yours for the night. I thought about loaning* my brother the tent for the night, but that’s like feeding the local strays**, which is always a bad idea as well. I feel bad for the baby, but I don’t know what else to suggest or do.

*read: giving
** yes, I know this analogy in and of itself makes me a terrible person.

Every time I’ve offered advice or help that isn’t money or otherwise tangible I’m met with large quantities of agreement, a lot of head bobbing, and epic inaction.
I’ve offered to help him get to NA meetings, suggested avenues for getting assistance for housing and getting on his feet, offered to help hook him up with counsellors I know to help him sort out his anger issues- and nothing ever comes of it. He doesn’t want help, he wants someone else to take care of him. He’s 30 years old and been saying he is “a grown-ass man***” since he turned 18. I’m just expecting him to start taking a little responsibility.

*** if I never hear this fucking phrase again it will be too soon.

Meanwhile, here at the pond, the ripples from last nights disturbance are beginning to smooth out. I remind myself that I’m not really a bad person. Bear and I discuss the facts and look at the situation from various angles to ensure we haven’t missed anything. Monkey is glad not to have to share his space and deal with all the drama his uncle brings, which is really sad. I can’t fix my brother, I can’t fix his life. All I can do is reassure him that I do love him, even though he can’t stay with us.

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