i had an awful childhood. there were a lot of adults around me that could see what was happening, and did nothing. i am still a little bit angry about that. now, after steph and i went to visit asheville, it has dawned on me that i was one of the people that saw my sister’s four kids were having an awful childhood, me probably moreso than anybody else, and i did nothing. i am ashamed.
okay, not completely nothing: i berated my sister, long and loud and hard, trying to get her to see how she was failing her kids. she was having none of it. and because she wasn’t, i decided to wash my hands of the entire affair.
i am thinking about how i saw most problems back then: find the person who is screwing up, and berate them like mad until they straighten up. guess how many times that worked.
steph says that i am assigning myself too much blame here. i wasn’t those kids’ parent, i never lived close by, there wasn’t much i could have done under the best of circumstances. i am not so sure about that. i am comically bad at dealing with people in general, but astoundingly good at dealing with people who i feel a connection to. there are five or six people in my past for whom i was the most important person to them, during one phase of their lives. and they are all such interesting kids! all four completely different from each other, all with strong personalities and their own strengths and weaknesses. my life is worse than it could have been, because i shut them out.
another thing has become clear for me, because of this. i’ve never been very close to anybody in my mom’s family. i always assumed it was because of too much friction caused by an ugly past. now i know it’s because they have nothing to offer. some people think being closely related to a group of people is enough to maintain relationships with them; i don’t agree. but my sister’s kids: they are interesting. i would want to know them even if i wasn’t related to them. it’s not just me, steph feels much the same way. she has met a number of people from my mom’s family, and she is non-plussed. then the two of us visited asheville, and it was like a thunderbolt from heaven, shaking up our lives. we both want to be involved with those people.
i am so disappointed in myself. with the information and perspective i have today, i can see that everything i did in this situation was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. small wonder i’ve tended to get such poor results.
but there’s no time like the present. my sister’s two oldest kids are going to succeed no matter what. the youngest two could use a little help. i will try to make up for lost time.