ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
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I fell in love with my son the day he looked me in eye and smiled. He was 3 months old. I was so relieved that he was not going to be like my kid brother. I thought I was home free.

My kid brother was always odd, even when he was a baby. I remember the daughter of a family friend who used to babysit us both (we are 18 months apart in age) commenting about him.

"He was the strangest child. He would look at you, but he never smiled. You were okay, Nina. You were a sweet baby. But he was always...different. I can't explain it, but he was."

No Easy Answers )
ninanevermore: (Default)
I handled the announcement well. We all did. No one got too emotional, no one panicked, and no one had to be consoled. Not me, and not my oldest or my youngest brother, either. We were told to keep quiet for now, because my middle brother – who is estranged from us siblings but no longer from our father – had not been told that our father has cancer.

It took me a full 24 hours to fall apart, right in the middle of congratulating myself on how well I was handling the news. I hate it when that happens.

We don’t want you kids to worry, but I guess you need to know. )
ninanevermore: (Christmas)
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I confess I'm one of those people who lugs around a lot of baggage in regard to Christmas. When you are a child, Christmas is all about fun and presents and singing and pretty lights. When you are an adult, it's about expenses and obligations and every memories of every dark thing that ever happened to you during this obligatorily "happy" time of year that still haunt you. Still, I think I'm getting better. I was able to decorate the Christmas tree without crying this year, and if that's not a sign of progress then I don't know what is.

Zombie Dads Are No Fun At Christmas )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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My kid brother Ron has always been weird, from the time he was small. My mother worried it was her fault. She was almost 39 when he was born and had scheduled a tubal ligation immediately after his birth, so he was induced in order to accommodate the surgeon's schedule. In addition to this, my mom's policy was to stop nursing her babies as soon as they got teeth and started to bite. Ron's teeth came in early, at 5 months old. She thought that taking him out of the womb and away from the breast before he was ready may have adversely affected him.

As a child, I was too guilt ridden to tell her that I was pretty sure it was my fault that Ron was weird, because when he was 4 and I was 5 I stood by and let him take an ass beating that I had coming and he didn't. Until Ron was in college and was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, I thought that perhaps this whooping had warped him beyond repair.

My mother died before she got the chance to learn that her youngest child was simply organically and physiologically strange, through no fault of her own. I was glad to be off the hook. Twenty five years after the whooping, I even apologized to Ron about the whooping. I hoped he didn't even remember it, but he did. Decency prevents me from typing out what he said I ought to have done to me for putting him through that, but lets just say he did not graciously accept my apology the way I hoped he would.

Little Girls Will Look You in The Eye and Lie )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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After our falling out this last Thanksgiving, I don't think I'll miss talking to my kid brother as much as I will miss the voices in his head. I liked them, because sometimes they told him to buy me presents. I'm sure they were just trying to buy me off and make me stop referring to them as "The Voices in My Kid Brother's Head" and start referring to them as his "Spirit Guides" the way he does. I can't be bribed that easily. However, I'm just shameless enough to accept any attempted bribes with a sweet smile and a "Thank you," while feeling no obligation to return a favor I didn't ask for in the first place.

My Brother: Putting The Fun In Dysfunctional since 1972 )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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Part of being a married couple is working around have two sides to your one family. For Thanksgiving Day this year, my husband's family called dibs, so we spent it with them. As a consolation prize, I told my father I would bring his grandson over the day after Thanksgiving to spend with him.

Two weeks ago when I asked if there were plans for Thanksgiving, my Dad answered, "Probably not." A few days before the big day, when he learned that my youngest brother, Ron, would not have to work (he is a corrections officer, and his 5-days on, 4-day off work schedule requires a calendar to keep track of when he can come around) and my oldest brother, Randy, would be home from Tennessee, he asked me what my plans were and if I wanted to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. During the first call, I think I did a good job of sounding regretful when I told him I had already made plans with my husband's family. I probably did a less convincing job of sounding excited when he called me back to let me know they would all put off Thanksgiving for 24 hours so I could be there. I had no choice but to resign myself to my fate and ask what I could bring to the meal.

Turkey with a side of stewed discontent )
ninanevermore: (Default)
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I enjoy a good wake. The funeral yesterday was sad and, since it also included a Catholic mass, kind of long. The wake afterward, however, was a party where began each conversation with, "And how do you know...? Oh, yes! I think I remember you from their wedding!" I got to catch up with people I haven't seen in years, and made mental notes about which of us is aging better than the other. There was food and drink (Dos XX beer, to be exact) and, amidst the occasional tears, a lot of laughter. I had a nice time.

Most people knew me as "Ron's older sister." A lot of them remember my brother Ron as the groomsman who fainted at Mark and Kellie's wedding 13 years ago, right in the middle of the ceremony. We all congratulated him on managing to not pass out while he served as her pall bearer. Had he fainted while lugging her coffin from the hearse to the cemetery plot, though, I think it would have made Kellie giggle from her new abode in the Great Beyond.

Same Guests, Different Party )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about one of the most important lessons that I learned from my mother: just because you harbor something ugly inside of you doesn't mean it has to control you. She never said this too me directly; I realized the lesson as an adult looking back some 10 years after she was dead.

My kid brother brought it up one day when we had coffee together, but it was something I had been thinking about a lot myself.

"Remember when mom used to make us go to our rooms and we weren't allowed to come out until she stopped throwing things?" he said, "You realize that she was scared she would beat the crap out of us, don't you?"

It's okay to throw pillows, but never your children )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about my cousin Leslie, who called me last night while she stood outside of a hospital somewhere in Tennessee. Usually, her phone calls last at least an hour, but this one was only about 20 minutes - about the time it takes to smoke 2 cigarettes. Leslie smokes, and when she's stressed she chain smokes and talks a mile a minute. Her son had just been admitted to the hospital, so she was plenty stressed.

Joyful music leads us Sunward... )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on the drive into work, I was thinking about my younger brother, Ron. In a family full of odd balls, he makes me look someone normal. I feel grateful to him for this.

Some years ago, )

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