Tag Archives: brother

Oh, Had I a Golden Thread

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My sweet little niece Jada was born last week.  She is sooooo pretty!  All I could do was stare at her delicate face as she slept.  Jada was also born with Down’s Syndrome.

A week before her mom went into labor the doctor informed them that there was a possibility the baby could have it and that her labor would likely be induced to prevent a stillbirth.  There was also a chance of her being born with deformities. After I heard the news I immediately prayed and asked others to pray with me. 

When they told me she was fine I felt relief.  I had to see for myself so we went to visit her as soon as I got home from work. And she looked perfect to me. She did not have the signs of a baby with this genetic disorder–no flaps of extra skin, the flattened nose, or the almond-shaped, droopy eyes.  I immediately thanked God.  Jazmine was sooooo excited and was talking a mile a minute as she paraded around the hospital room telling me all the things she was going to do with “her” Jada. 

A couple of days later the results came back and it was positive. My heart deflated like a balloon.  What in the world would those two do with a baby with mental challenges? I  already help them out a lot financially.  More importantly, how would they handle it emotionally? 

So I thanked God that she was at least born with life.  But this diagnosis still feels so heavy.  When her mom told me I didn’t know how to form my mouth to offer some comfort.  What do you say in a situation like this?  All I was able reply was that it was going to be okay and that they had my support. 

I asked her how they were coping.  She said “I’m okay with it, she’s still my baby girl.”  She said my brother had accepted it as well after a few tears.  At that moment I felt such utter gratitude and respect for them both.  I doubt that I would have welcomed the results with an ounce of their graciousness.  Jada is lucky to have parents who love her unconditionally.

Since then I have contacted the local Down’s Syndrome chapter and requested information for them, did some research for myself, and I plan on buying them a book for parents of children with this condition.  There is no way I can “fix” this so I did the only thing I know how to do–help them become informed.

However, I am still struggling with this. Why them?  We get so comfortable assuming that all children will be born completely healthy and that is not always the case. Now I must find the strength to pray that God may equip them both with knowledge, patience, and diligence required to raise a child with special needs.

Oh, Had I a Golden Thread (Eva Cassidy version)

Oh, had I a golden thread
And a needle so fine
I’d weave a magic strand
Of rainbow design
Of rainbow design

In it I’d weave the bravery
Of women giving birth
In it I’d weave the innocence
Of the children over all the earth
Children of all the earth

Far over the water,
I’d stretch my magic band
To every city,
To every single land
To every land

Show my brothers and my sisters
My rainbow design
Bind up this sorry world
With hand and heart and mind
Hand and heart and mind

Oh, had I a golden thread
And a needle so fine
I’d weave a magic strand
Of rainbow design
Of rainbow design

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The Pancakes

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In honor of my mother’s 48th birthday today, I thought I’d share a story about her.  When I was about 6 years-old and my brother was 4, my mother cooked us a batch of pancakes for breakfast.  Mind you, she was a young  mother and was not very experienced in the kitchen.  To top that off, she was not in a good mood that day so I knew there was no way she would allow us to eat something else.

When she placed the plates in front of us; I immediatedly noticed how weird they looked.  I glanced at my brother and he looked fearfully at the flat, lifeless circular blobs.  I, too was appalled that she expected us to eat those things!

My mother noticed our reluctance and warned us that we better eat every single piece of our pancakes.   For a few minutes she stood guard over us to make sure we’d do just that.  I courageously took a bite hoping for the best.  It was the worst of times.   Even at my young age I  realized she put too much baking soda  in the mix!  Satisfied with my mouthful, she left us to own devices.

My brother sat there with tears in his eyes while I was busy thinking.  We lived in a high rise and was many floors up.  It finally dawned on me that we could throw them out the window if I was clever enough.  I cut my pancakes in fours and did my brother’s next. 

Glancing around furtively for her probing eyes, I made my way to the window.  The coast was clear so I rapidly dumped some of our pancakes out the window.

I told my brother to shuffle the remaining pancakes on his plate to make it appear as if he was eating.  My mother checked on us again and saw the diminishing stacks and smiled.

When she walked away I excused myself from the table with a napkin of carefully concealed pancakes.  My plan was to flush them down the toilet.

Once back at the table I dropped the rest of her culinary science project out the window.  We were saved!

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

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I hesitated writing this post because it is so disturbing.  However, my brother is at it again and I need to process his latest diatribe against me.  Last night I was out having dinner with a friend when my cell phone rang.  I didn’t recognize the number so I didn’t answer.  But when I got home and looked at the caller ID, I saw that it was my stepfather calling from a friend’s house.

I returned his call and he immediatedly warned me not to go around my brother.  I reminded him that I rarely even see him as I have no reason to do so.  What he said next chilled me,

Your brother has a gun and he’s been talking crazy saying that he wants you deadMy dad (my brother lives with George’s foster father) and the girls (his foster sisters) called me over tonight because he was really talking shit telling them what he was going to do to you.  It scared my dad, he told me.  He said he tried to reason with my brother, which I know is pointless for you cannot reason with the unreasonable.  I was hurt and offended!  I knew what it was all about.  A few weeks back I had written to Jazmine’s mom asking for guardianship for practical purposes and she granted my request.  George also informed me:

  • He feels that I “took” his daughter away from him
  • He can’t believe that my mother birthed such a bitch
  • If I wanted a daughter, I should have had one with my husband before he died
  • I deserve to die
  • He hope someones blows my head off
  • He hates me with a passion
  • I am not his sister, I am just his mother’s daughter
  • He doesn’t care that my husband died, he only cares about his daughter

My brother is also irate because I asked him to contribute $100 a month for her upkeep.  I have only asked this because I no longer have my husband’s income to count on.  I didn’t think it was exorbitant considering that we have been taking care of her without his financial assistance for almost a year now.  Not to mention, I recently found out that he has been collecting money from the state for her–even though he does not have Jazmine in his care!!!

I find this amazingly ludicrous that he is upset over losing $100 of some money that he shouldn’t be getting inthe first place!  He is totally unstable in every sense of the word and he THINKS that he is still capable of caring for his daughter!  The love of money is truly the root of all evil.  He is not thinking of Jazmine at all. 

The few times that he has requested her on the weekends she has returned smelly and sick.  The last two times he had her he had no money to buy her Pull up’s (after she used all of the ones I sent) and put her on adult-sized  Depends–kid you not!!!  He last bought her four outfits in August.

I thought I was doing a good deed by taking care of her for him.  Her mom appreciates it, obviously, he does not.  It makes me bewilderingly sad.  I’m so tired of people thinking I want their children when I am only trying to help.

I called my aunt who acts as our surrogate parent since my mother died.  I wanted her advice.  She had already talked to my brother who had called her two days prior lamenting the same woes about me.  She said she she gave him a stern lecture because he was being so ungrateful, inconsiderate, and asinine.  My aunt even compared him to Eliza.  However, she didn’t know about the gun and was very alarmed and angered by his foolishness.  She called him but he would not accept her call.

She told me that perhaps I should hand Jazmine over to him so he could really see what it took to rear a toddler.  She predicted that he would be calling me to pick her up again before too long.  My girlfriend also suggested this.  But I don’t want to put Jazmine in harm’s way.  He does not have her best interest at heart and is only thinking about himself.  He is very short tempered and drinks and drugs as well.  What if he hurts her?

My aunt pointed out that I should not have to deal with these types of threats from my own brother.  I do agree.  I feel like I am being attacked at all angles!!!  I am exhausted by these trials I am experiencing.  A friend suggested that I read the book of Job for hope.  But I’m no Job.  I don’t have his patience nor his amazing strength and faith.   I am not that good and faithful of a servant. 

Tomorrow I am going to write Jazmine’s mom and ask her if she wants Jazmine to be with him until she is released in December.  I don’t think she will because as she has stated many times before “I know how your brother is.”  When I asked for guardianship I proposed that very same idea to her.  She responded by sending me the papers.

I wish my brother could see that I do not want his daughter for my own.  I know she is my niece and I am okay with that.  And even though I don’t think he would really kill me, it’s still unsettling to hear him express the desire to do so.  Maybe I just need to stay away from people and their kids. My “help” always seems to be interpreted as anything but.

 By keeping Jazmine I thought I was “keeping” him.  How wrong was I?

Twisted Sister

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I vividly recall the day I first met my husband and his sister.  He was quiet and shy, but her, not so much.  It was obvious that he and I liked each other and she thought our crush was the cutest thing.  She wasn’t around a lot because she was too busy chasing boys.  I remember her as his wild big sister, the black sheep of the family.  Back in the day she liked me.  But that was then…

She was never rude to me directly because my husband wouldn’t tolerate it.  So she carefully veiled her animosity toward me in hopes that he wouldn’t notice.  He did.  She resented that I was number one in his life.  It was very clear how much he adored me. 

 The summer we spent looking for our first home we stayed in his grandparents house, who had both recently died.  The heat was sweltering!  I was quite surprised when my SIL came over to take our refridgerator!  She already had one so she kept it on her front porch!  The comment that she made to her brother said it all “Morocco can go and buy y’all  a new one.”   I assume she felt this way because I had just bought a new car.   

During our courtship she started to connect with Eliza because they had a mutual enemy in common: ME.  I asked my husband what exactly had I done to his sister.   He replied nothing, and that she never wanted him to be with anyone.  She always found a reason not to like whomever he was with.  She was iffy with Eliza , too when they were together.  Yet, Eliza tended to cater to her to be accepted so it wasn’t a major problem.  I, on the otherhand, ignored her once I realized that something wasn’t right.  I didn’t see any need to suck up.

When we got married and had Nicholas she was very upset and cried bitterly.  My other SIL told us this.  My husband just shook his head about his crazy sister’s reaction.

She did many other things throughout the years which caused him to stop interacting with her.  He loved his sister but did not like her ways.  We both felt she had a weird fixation with him.  It just wasn’t healthy.  In fact, we even compared her toTony Montana from the movie Scarface because of the questionable love he had for his sister. 

One time we stopped by her house and she took a shower while we were there.  She actually came into the living room with a very small towel wrapped around her body.  However, you could very clearly see all of her vagina and parts of her breasts.  I was very uncomfortable and appalled!  She simply said “excuse me y’all” as she sauntered on through!  My husband also said this freaked him out and was very disgusted by her indecent behavior.  He said she scared him.

And she blamed me that she did not have a relationship with him.  I guess it had nothing to do with:

  • Her smoking “funny smelling cigarettes” in front of the boys.  I’m sure you can guess what she was smoking!  My husband was livid! 
  • She had no control over her tongue and would say whatever came to mind–even in front of the children
  • My SIL told Eliza that she did not like me (Eliza was thrilled with this nugget of information and couldn’t wait to share it with us)
  • She told me that she liked Eliza because “she don’t want my brother.” Huh?…was all I could think
  • When Eliza refused to let my husband get the boys she still allowed my SIL to get them.  If she was mad at her brother for whatever reason, she would not let him pick up his own kids from her house.  Once he tried to do so anyway and she called Eliza on him!
  • She is very materialistic and jealous-hearted
  • She has tried to run his life over the years and is very overbearing
  • She wanted my husband to take care of her and her daughter.  She would often ask him for money and would get angry when he said no.  She also tried to force him to babysit a lot
  • She often badmouthed him to their friends and family and painted the picture that he was upset with her for no reason
  • She thought my husband was wrong for not continuing to interact with his former stepson and often made an issue of it.  She would assert that he was still her nephew and that he was always going to be his son.  I was blamed for this, too
  • Her opportunistic ways
  • She kept drama going with many other people

The night he died I had a sneaking suspicion that she would not handle it well and act crazy.  I braced myself before calling.  I attempted to reach her but couldn’t.  My BIL tried as well as his aunt to no avail.  I even waited at the hospital for close to seven hours in part for her to get there.  She never made it and I was blamed for this, too.  She claimed that I did not try to call her at all.

From the day he died (Saturday) until Tuesday, she behaved very poorly to say the least.  She was running around foaming at the mouth with her hatred of me.  She told several of her family members that “she manipulated him away from us.”  They countered her point of view because of course, I had not.  She managed to do that without my help because he interacted with everyone except for her.

It really bothered her that she was the only one with these feelings of rancor.  His aunt told me that one night after Nicholas and I left her house,  my SIL started crying saying to her “You love Morocco, don’t you!”

She assisted and encouraged Eliza’s family in taking the boys away from me.  She also stated that they should be with “family” and provided the name of the hospital in which Evan was located.

What blew my mind the most was that she called the coroner’s office and asked them NOT to release the body to me because we were ONLY related by law!  That crushed me more than anything!!!   She also thought I was going to have him cremated and wanted to prevent that from taking place.  I found out about the call from the funeral director.

Enough of my in-laws finally got fed up with her and chastised her callous, immature behavior.  I suppose they let her carry on as long as they did because she was grieving the loss of her brother–who knows?  On  Tuesday I went to make the funeral arrangements and she came along with my BIL (much to my dismay).  When the funeral director addressed me by my last name; guess who answered, too?!  Granted she had only been married for a week (she did not invite or call to tell her beloved brother about her small wedding), but still, she should have known that he was referring to me!

After I finished and was leaving out, she stopped me to apologize.  She then started to cry saying ”  Morocco, whatever it is I’ve done, I’m sorry.  But I should have never taught my brother how to live without me.”  I had no idea what she was talking about, but I replied “All he did was get married and have a family.  He was still your brother.” I had no fight left in me as I limply tried to comfort her. 

Since that day she has been full of praise for me.  Over the course of the last two months she has called many times saying what a wonderful wife I was to her brother, and mom and stepmom to her nephews.  She has left so many sickeningly sweet messages that half the time I can’t bear to listen to them. They are filled with phrases of love, admiration, and kinship.  It makes me soooo uncomfortable!  How can one change their heart so rapidly?!  I can only think of how she betrayed me with her Judas kiss.

But when the boys were in town two weeks ago and at her house, do you think she called me over for a visit?  I haven’t heard from her in almost three weeks.  And she knows that I am aware that they were in town.  Maybe she feels bad.

My husband would not be surprised by her behavior in the slightest.  He knew his sister well.  And he would be in a rage about the way she treated me.  If she thought he had disowned her then…

She is one of those people that I have a hard time loving.  I definitely struggle with forgiving her.  Do you see why?  During my time of deepest sorrow I had to deal with both her and Eliza’s crazy clan.  The state of shock I was in definitely preserved my sanity that they so desperately tried to break.

She’s Back!

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My brother called on Wednesday so that I could pick Jazmine up.  I guess he had a change of heart.  I had to attend Nic’s open house so I told him that I would pick her up the following day.  When I arrived on Thursday I walked up the staircase curious about how she would receive me.

When she looked up and saw my face she smiled and said “Lemme get my shoes!”  She hopped out of the chair and proceeded to put them on.

I guess she missed me as much as I missed her.

How Dare He?!!!

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I am really incensed right now.  My brother asked if he could keep Jazmine for the weekend so I obliged and dropped her off.  She was very upset and did not want to stay.  We really didn’t want to leave her in such distress, but I thought it was a good thing that he wanted to spend some time with her so we did.

When I called yesterday to pick her up, he refused to let me get Jazmine because he wanted her to stay with him.  He had the nerves to say that I am not her mother and hung up on me!  I was offended beyond belief!!! I was not trying to be her mother!

Of course I was caught off guard because this is not what I expected.  When my husband and I dropped her off on Friday he was not even there.  My stepfather kept her until he arrived home after midnight (he is currently staying with my stepfather who has since returned home).

My brother is not very responsible and spends most of his time chasing women, drinking excessively, and hanging with friends.  In short, he is not stable.

I called him back and let him have it.  I was actually pulling out of the drive way so that I could go her when my aunt called.  My brother called her crying saying that I was trying to take his daughter from him!  My aunt was aware of the “real” situation and was only calling to calm me down.  She asked that I allow her time to talk some sense into him.  We all know that at this point he is not responsible enough to properly care for her.

I talked to my husband as well.  He agreed with my aunt and told me to be patient.  He also said he saw it coming because of how selfish and greedy my brother is. 

My sister told me yesterday that he offered to let Jazmine spend the night with her kids–so much for wanting to spend quality time with her!

My stepfather also maintained that she needed to be with me.  He informed me too that he only wants to keep her because he does not want to give me the measly $100 that he has given me once a month since June.

Unfortunately that didn’t make me feel any better especially if he was only wanting her for selfish reasons.  I could have told him that he could keep the money so that he would allow me to get her, but it is really the principle of the matter.  He wants to have more money in his pocket to waste instead of contributing to her upkeep.  How disgusting!!!

I could contact social services, but honestly, I don’t want to be bothered with CPS again.  The experience that we had with them when Eliza lost temporary custoy of the boys was overwhelming to say the least–and we were not even the neglectful parents!

And as my husband pointed out, I should not have to go through such a process with my own brother.  I was doing something to help him.

So what can I really do?  I am not her mother as he so astutely pointed out.  I did not even have guardianship over her.  I didn’t think it was necessary considering that I was not trying to take her from her parents.  And I trusted my brother enough (my major mistake) that he would not pull a fast one.

I just hate that Jazmine has to be in the middle!!!  She is the one who is going to suffer the most.

I am calmer today, but still upset.  I can’t think about anything else.  I prayed last night that if it is God’s will that he will find a way to bring her home.  If He does, I am going to take the legal steps necessary to ensure that this does not happen again.

Party of Six

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We started off as a family of three, then overnight five, and now Jazmine, my 21-month-old niece, makes six.

Jazmine is my middle brother’s daughter.  Her mom is incarcerated in the same prison as Eliza, believe it or not.  My brother was doing the best he could with her but I knew that I could do better.  My niece needed me.

I know that it worried my mother that my brother was raising her alone.  And shortly after she died I decided to get her longterm.  In fact, I took her home from the hospital that very night.  I kept her for a week and relunctantly returned her back to my brother’s care after the funeral.  I couldn’t stop thinking about her.  My brother wasn’t doing so well dealing with his grief.  He wasn’t taking good care of himself and thus was inacapable of taking appropriate care of Jazmine.  I toyed with the idea of getting her on a permanent basis but I was just so tired!  Then practical thoughts about daycare and really just starting all over again scared me into not taking action.  I knew I would have to sacrifice a lot.  I also knew that I would need my husband’s help and consent.

So I left it alone but God didn’t.  He put it on my heart to get her and filled my head with constant thoughts of her.  He reminded me that he would give me all the strength and resources I would need to take care of her.   He cleared the path for me.  Therefore I had no reason not to get her.  Even before I could pose the question to my husband, he already knew what I needed to do.  He immediatedly encouraged me to get her which relieved me greatly.

I had no idea how my brother would feel.  When I approached him with my suggestion, he was pridefully hesitant at first.  I think too that he may have been slightly offended because he thought he was doing just fine.  I pointed out how he could not even comb her hair adequately or that he could hardly find a sitter for her while he was at work.  I gently reminded him that I was there to help beacuse I was his sister–not a social worker.  I also pointed out that she was my niece, too.  I guess my arguement was convincing enough because he gave me permission to take her with me that following weekend.

That was over four months ago.  Jazmine is like the daughter I never had.  She is an adorable, smart, and inquistive child.  I just really love her so, as does my husband.  She is the little princess of the house.  Just ask the boys!

Not to say that I haven’t had to get used to having a little one around.  I have in a major way.  I can no longer sleep in, we now have day care expenses, frequent diaper changes, the pain of teething, immunizations, potty training in the very near future (can’t seem to remember training Nicholas because he was SO easy!), carrying a diaper bag (can’t seem to do this! I just stuff a couple in my purse or stash them in the car.  My husband finds this hilarious!), and pushing a stroller to name a few new routines that have been added to my already complicated life.

But she is a real peach.  She often calls both me and my husband “Mommy,” which I find hilarious!   Every time I whip out the camera she automatically says “Cheese!”  She loves to talk on the phone and says “hello” just like Scooby Doo.  One time I was talking to Rhonda on the phone when I noticed that someone had picked up the line.  I was confident that it had been picked up at Rhonda’s house because only Jazmine and I were at home at the time.  When Rhonda checked the phones in her house and gave the all clear, I realized that it could only be at my house.  Still in disbelief I said “Jazmine?,” and just as clear as day, she said “what?”  To this day, Rhonda and I still get a good laugh at that episode.  

 I am a neatnik and I think I may have rubbed off on her.  When I sweep, she dashes to get the dustpan.  After eating she meticiuosly picks up even the tiniest of crumbs.  If the plate she is eating from is paper, she puts it in the trash pail afterwards without being prompted.

In a way she is helping me heal.  I know that my mother would have wanted me to help my brother.  If my mom is watching us, I know she is pleased.  And that is a great feeling.  So I actually  feel quite lucky to have her.  Even when she is being “Jazmania” as I like to call her when she is having one of her frequent temper tantrums.  Still, I know I made the right decision.  Yet I know we will all be sad to see her go upon her mom’s release.