Hello again friends. Last week I gave you a taste of my summer vacation. Rather my summer with my nephew’s kids during their summer vacation. This week, I’ll give you a little background story…
I spent a good amount of time complaining about this job during the summer while the kids were here. If you read along on the Lynnfam blog where I normally post, you probably saw some of my complaining. Some days, it was legitimate gripes, other days, it was just a way to make silly conversation. I doubt I said anything about kids in general that you moms don’t already know. I may have reminded you of a few things you’d rather forget but, I don’t think I gave away any secrets here. To you future moms or those just getting started, I’m sorry to burst any dream bubbles but I don’t think kids have changed since we or our parents were kids. I doubt they ever will and I would call a liar, anyone who ever said, they didn’t want to leave the kids on a corner with a sign and run screaming at one point. I have no doubt that every parent has felt or will feel that urge. The question will become, will you do it?
Kyle, the boy, now 10, is the result of a teen pregnancy. His mother was 16 when he was born and my nephew was about to turn 18. At the time, he wanted nothing to do with school and was always in trouble with the law. If you had known me 11 or 12 years ago, I would have sworn my nephew would be in prison by now. He was really on that path and nothing anyone said to him was going to change that. From the time he was about 15, he lived with my mother. Mom could see that his current home situation wasn’t doing him any good so she offered to take him. His sister too but she declined. My sister wasn’t in good shape at the time and her kids were basically allowed to run wild as a result. I never knew exactly how it was he came to live with my mother but, he did.
He spent several weekends in Juvenile lockup partially due to the influence of the crowd he was running with. As much as I hate that excuse, I also believe it to be true. I like to believe that when he wound up there it was a case of wrong place, wrong crowd, wrong time. The police would just round them all up and toss them in the pokey and let them call their parents. Some parents would collect their kids, others had gotten to the point of letting their little angels cool their heels for the weekend. My nephew once described to me what it was like in there. How it worked with the ‘pods’ which were basically dormitories with a common gathering place (think cafeteria setting). It was no vacation spot mind you, it was jail and bad things could and did happen there. I told him how disappointed I was that he knew all that information. The closest I ever got to a jail cell was bailing a friend of mine out of county jail at 3am over a traffic ticket (unpaid). Anyway, fact is, I’ll never know what it is he did because he’s never been one to say but it was never enough for him to be convicted of anything.
He met these kid’s mom in high school and almost immediately, quit going to school. He would leave to ‘go to school’ and as soon as he thought my mom was gone, would be back in the house, with his girlfriend. Mom even caught him hiding in the neighbors yard at one point. Well, guess what two teens do when they are skipping school and no one is around? If it’s two boys, these days they either get in trouble or stay home playing video games. A boy and a girl, you see the result on the left side of the photo above.. I don’t know what she knew or didn’t know but I know HE knew what could happen because I told him. Before he became ‘active’. I’m sure it went in one ear and out the other because, after all… WTF would Uncle Jeff know about it? I knew enough that I didn’t have kids I didn’t want or couldn’t afford. ‘Nuff said? That isn’t to say I never wanted kids, I did but, it never happened for me. One missing ingredient for the better part of my adult life now, the woman.
So, here is my nephew, 17 years old, with a pregnant 15 year old girlfriend. Did she baby trap him? Who knows but he knew how to avoid it. Nothing to do about it now except deal with it. He did. He straightened his act out, went back to school and eventually got his HS diploma (not a GED) so he could continue with school. At the time, he wanted to go into the Army but, he had a conviction when he was 13 that required financial restitution that never got paid, so they wouldn’t accept him. Honestly, I’m glad he didn’t go. His father was career Army, did 20 years, fought in Desert Storm, and I will always respect that. However, I’ve never liked the guy, never will. Anyway, he married the mother when she was 17 and I think he may have been 19 at the time. The two of them never should have gotten married but, the marriage, produced the girl, Katy (Catilyn) who is about 2 and a half years behind her brother. As a mother, this girl has to be one of the most useless people on the face of the earth.
Nephew and his wife and the kid(s) lived in a couple different places and then hurricane Katrina happened. You know, the one that knocked down the levy and flooded New Orleans. Nephew’s father in law was an electrician and nephew went with him to N.O. to get some of that rebuild money. He should have come back with his pockets stuffed with cash but just like everything else with this crew, that was a giant clusterfuck. He had moved back in with my mother, with his wife and two kids. By the way, my niece was also there with her kid. That’s a whole other Oprah… While nephew was in N.O. his darling bride began seeing someone else, while living in my mother’s house. Got that? She’s living in her husband’s grandmother’s house, screwing around with another guy. Her excuse for disappearing all the time was always ‘taking Kyle to the park’… In the dark, usually after 8pm… It didn’t take long after nephew came back for the two of them to separate, leaving him with the kids, where they belong. He had begun community college some time prior and was working on getting his ticket as a physical therapy assistant. In spring of 2008, he was about to graduate from that program, his divorce was nearly final, and mom was 4 months into treatment for Cancer. In fact, her hair had just began to fall out from the chemo at the time of his graduation. In the divorce, he got full custody of the kids and she was ordered to pay child support. How’s that for a switch? The Mom ordered to pay support? It may happen more often than I know but just like deadbeat dads, she’s a deadbeat mom. Never has paid a cent (and that NEVER goes away until it’s paid. Not in Michigan anyway).
Aside from the fact that she carried and delivered them, this has never been a ‘mom’. Believe it or not, I have a lot of respect for the moms out there who deal with these brain damaged people on a daily basis. Especially after this summer. Getting a little ahead of myself here. The Mom, has never been a real mom, as I said. She doesn’t work yet never has time for the kids. Even on her visitation days, there’s always some excuse why it can’t happen. The result is, the boy has major anger issues and the girl has a few problems of her own (that would embarrass her if she knew I told you). They love their mom I guess but, especially him, has come to accept that if he sees her, he sees her. If not, her loss. The girl, hasn’t completely lost faith, yet. Things happened last spring that my nephew completely took away visitation from the kid’s mom, and her family. There was court dates and all that, and on the final one, the judge was going to completely agree with him and revoke all parental rights from her but nephew, thinking of the kids, made some arrangement for limited visitation (that continues to be a disappointment to the kids). I guess he had a moment of weakness because he can’t stand her any more than I can.
In previous summers, and on other occasions, my nephew has always had his sister watching the kids. She had 2 of her own, each about 4 months younger than each of their cousins (again, a whole other Oprah). In the past year however, she’s managed to get herself another one though she said she couldn’t have any more (I don’t believe a word she says) and now also has a step daughter. She also married this baby’s daddy. My niece isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to her choice in males. I refuse to call any of them Men because I happen to know what one is, and they aren’t it. She followed in her mother’s footsteps on that front. Any of you moms with deadbeats hanging around your homes while you have kids living at home, take heed. Look in the mirror, look at your life, you are looking at your kids and their future lives. I hate to be the asshole that says that to you but if you get nothing else out of this, listen to what I say. I don’t want to tell anyone not to be happy or not to have any fun but, consider what you are showing those sponges (the kids) who absorb Everything, you also have living in your homes. I digress. The result is, she is constantly fighting with her ‘husband’, in front of the kids, and my nephew had enough of it. As I explained earlier, he didn’t want their mother or her family anywhere near the kids, so, he called Uncle Jeff.
Keep in mind here that since my mom died and the Sunday dinners died with her, I see these kids maybe 3 or 4 times a year. I’m never invited to birthday parties or I find out about them 10 minutes before they occur. So it’s family reunion, Christmas, and maybe, Thanksgiving. Oh yes, my birthday dinner that nephew usually invites me to. Otherwise, everything is fine, Uncle Jeff…. I don’t expect to be part of the daily lives of my nephew and niece, don’t even want to be. Unless they need something however, I don’t typically hear from them. As I said last week. For him to call me, he had to be stuck between a rock and a hard place for someone he trusted to take care of his kids. Trusted enough that he didn’t have to think about it while at school or work.
I will give you an example of how reliable the mother is (not)… Kyle is playing, as for the last 4 years, Junior Football. His team is The Mustangs in the city where he lives. He had to sell 100, $1 raffle tickets so he could play. That covered his equipment and the time to be on the team. He liberated $10 from me for that cause and next weekend, I expect it to pay off with a cash prize. If he doesn’t make it to practice, he cannot play in the games. So far, everything is okay with that. However, on team picture day, his mother had him. Her job, was to get him there. That’s all she had to do. Get her fat ass out of bed, on a Sunday, and take him to the field so he could have his team picture taken (be a part of the group photo) and the individual shot. It isn’t like she has a job or anything and was worn out needing a day of rest from work and it isn’t even like it was early in the morning. It was 11 or 12 in the day. Will he be in the team photo? Yes. Only because he has an uncle who knows how to use Photoshop and will make sure he has a team photo with his smiling face in it. In other words, he missed picture day because his lazy pig of a mom, was once again, a major disappointment to him. To me, that is absolutely disgusting because, this is a major commitment for the kid. 3+ hours of practice per day, every day, and she couldn’t be bothered to set her alarm clock after one of her many party nights, to take the kid and get his picture taken. So, 10 years from now will he look at that picture and believe he was actually there or will he remember his fat ass lazy mother couldn’t drag her butt out of bed to take him for the photo and someone had to cheat to put him in there? I suspect, the latter. I know in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter much and he’ll get over it (probably already has) but it just pissed me off. I can’t imagine what his dad thought of it.
I know this isn’t quite what you may have expected but, thought you might like some background. I’ll lighten it up next weekend and tell you some of the tales, many of which you parents out there are likely very familiar with.
See you then, Peace… MTH.
WOW. Jeff, have you seen the movie “The Way, Way Back”? Its a coming of age movie but its also a movie about how one person can have a positive impact on a child’s life. You may be that person for your nephew’s children.
No, I haven’t seen the movie but I know where to find it so, I’ll look it up 🙂
They are lucky to have you Jeff.
Thank you JWIJ 😀
I’m sympathetic to your frustration with your family, Mel. I have two siblings that I keep my distance from in order to avoid the shrapnel when their misdeeds blow up in their faces.
Your time with your nephew’s children may be the most stability they’ve ever experienced. They’re lucky to have you. I hope you can maintain the relationship you’ve built with them this summer.
They have a new future step mom who has helped a great deal with them. She’s become Mom to them… This is one case where I will say the bonus mom, is a good thing. I think their mother, has been a disappointment since day one. A week or so before the ‘job’ ended, the boy said to me, they get to see their mom again. I’ve never been shy about such things so I told him, he had it backwards. SHE gets to see THEM (until she blows it again) … Just like I didn’t trash my sister’s ex in front of the kids, I try not to trash these kid’s mother in front of them…. I let them do it instead.
I so agree with JWIJ, those kids are lucky to have you in their lives and I know that you mean well at all times. A great Master once wrote this: Help out those who are capable to help themselves.
It seems that those kids were a Blessing to your nephew… He found his responsible self, that otherwise just God knows if he would have ever found it at all.
I agree, Cusi… I think they may have saved his life.. Certainly motivated him to straighten up and fly right…
Jeff, You are a light in these children’s lives. I am sure that they will never forget how you were really there for them at this crucial point in their development. They will see you modeling what it looks like to be responsible and dependable.
You may not have your own children, but you are definitely parenting. I’m sure you recognize what a privilege it is:)
Keep the tales flowing. I suspect you and Mel have a million of them.
My nephew tells me how much fun he use to have spending the night here. That was nice to hear so yes, it is a privilege 🙂
Thank you everyone but, I think you are all giving me far too much credit here.
Jeff, You’re not giving yourself enough credit. Without even realizing it, you gave those kids another someone they could lean on and turn to if and when they need it – I think Dr. Phil calls it “a comfortable place to fall.” What you’ve done may not seem like a big deal, but they’ll remember it and learn from it – and from you. That ain’t small potatoes, my friend. 🙂
Well, they did tell me that they liked coming here better than going to their aunt’s, where their cousins are… There was no fighting here and they didn’t get completely ignored. I’m sure there were moments the attention they got, they didn’t want and the only Fighting here, was between them 😉
No. They are not giving you too much credit MTH. Just the other day my eldest neice reminded me of a little thing that I did for her when she was young, actually two things. I did not even recall one of them. Well, she let me know how positively she remembered them. My big strong nephew told me too, how a small thing, hmm.. actually, two there as well, made an impact on him also. The things we do matter with our little ones. As you state yourself, they are sponges. Your neice and nephew will remember this AND it will impact their life. The World and its many interactions are little ripples that affect EVERYTHING. I shall call you LR from now on!! 😀
Hello Empress, I don’t often write but I still read and I love the direction your blog has taken. Hello to all here. I am familiar with your names and I hope you are all well!! ❤
Thanks disgrazia, It’s really nice to know that you’re following and reading the blog. 🙂
I appreciate that Disgrazia 😀 and it’s great to see you posting on the blogs again.
Jeff, your story really touched me. Thank God these kids have you, no matter how much you downplay it, you are one of the biggest positives in their lives.
All it takes is for nobody to care, and these two precious children will not have happy childhoods. Their futures will dim too, because their future choices are going to be based on their upbringing.
Your nephew is doing the best he can. It must be hard, going to school, working AND raising 2 kids. Everything you do to help out will have a direct effect on the kids.
The less they see of the mother, the better. Because she has such a huge negative impact, I hope she is totally out of their lives forever. Some day, they will understand that it’s not their fault that their mother is a pos.
You may remember, my husband & I adopted our son. He’s the most important thing in my life. I cannot even imagine how this pos mother can do what she does to her kids.
She is like a dog that drops a litter of puppies and then gets up and walks away. Yes, I do remember that your son is adopted. I remember seeing his picture on your gravetar. Katy, spent the entire first year almost sitting in one of those baby carriers that doubles as part of a car seat. Literally,, besides her crib, in the carrier. The result was at 11 or 12 months, she could not sit up. Sit her on the porch step or something like that, she would just flop over. Her father was a tyrant on heels at that age and so was her brother. I would lay part of that on my nephew if he wasn’t out during the day busting his ass to make some sort of living while also going to school. While they lived with my mother, it wasn’t a free ride.
I have no words to explain how this has affected me. What I can say, is your nephew and you are Rock Stars, to two little kids. Every family needs someone with your heart. You are walking the walk and not just talking a good talk. Jeff, you make the world a better place.
Thank you so much Karrylyn 😀
Very cool Jeff– Makes me wish you were my kinfolk. One of my sons could use some backup-uncle about now. Sparklemeemaw lives too far away. 😦
Hi Sparklemuffy .. Long time no see… 😀 I hope everything works out for you…..
Thank you for sharing the background story on your niece and nephew. Sometimes writing is healing when you put into words the disappointment in the woman who gave them birth. Your nephew is doing a great job turning his life and his children’s life around. He is being a man, taking responsibility for his children with you helping him. Great he has you in his life as a role model. Good Job Uncle Jeff! 🙂
Yeah, she continues to disappoint…
Thanks, Buttercream 🙂
I wish I had an uncle like you for my own kids, just because you sound so fun and caring. Good work.
I care but I don’t know how fun I am 😉