February 19th, 2013

Ren

Update on the Family Situation

So, two Fridays ago Michelle, Connor, and I drove up to see my parents because we were leaving the boy with them while we went on our nerd cruise. Michelle was pretty tired so she crashed early and pretty much as soon as she was out of the room my mom asked if I'd talked to my sister about her pregnancy.

The subsequent talk went for about an hour and I thought it went well. While my mom did say that heinous bullshit, she didn't mean it in the way that my sister took it, instead meaning it to say "Your dad is going to act like this other dad (a family friend), who we agree was an idiot, when he found out his former meth-using, single daughter was pregnant." She agreed she shouldn't have said what she did and I told her to call my sister back and let her know, because the sister took it way, way bad. Also, my father didn't say he was disrespected as he didn't even talk to my sister until last week (not because he didn't want to but because my sister was afraid to) so I have no idea where that came up.

During the talk I pointed out a couple of things to my parents in that:
1. At least my sister isn't on drugs, knows who the father is, is in a relationship with said guy, and has appreciable skills.
2. At this point they need to get used to the idea of my sister having a kid because they wouldn't want any of the alternatives to a healthy baby, right? (both of my parents are pro-choice in that they recognize they have no right to tell anyone else how to run their lives and for medical necessity but they don't personally like abortions)
3. My sister's boyfriend has a kid by another woman and he has been as good of a father as he can, putting the kid first, providing for him, and being active in his son's life so we have no evidence to the contrary that he wouldn't do the same for this child.
4. For all of my sister's adulthood, she's still daddy's little girl and is terrified of disappointing him. When my dad expressed that he didn't understand why my sister was nervous to talk to him, I pointed that out to him and that all of his kids have baggage from our childhood when his temper was a lot, lot worse. He seemed to get that, as unhappy as that made him at the time.

Other stuff came up but I think they were both mollified when I pointed out that they fucked up in how they initially handled the announcement; I mean, I can understand they were shocked but that doesn't excuse the epic ball-dropping that happened. However, while I wasn't surprised that my dad was epically pissed at the boyfriend, I was surprised that my mom was defending him AND pointing out to my father he was being no different that the other father I mentioned previously.

I think it also helped that my brother called in reinforcements by having my childhood best friend's mom call and talk to my mother. They've been friends for about thirty years (he and I met in preschool) and my friend's mom went through pretty much this exact same situation with her daughter (except her daughter was on meth, no job, didn't know who the dad was, etc. etc.). My friend's mom cautioned my mom to not do anything she'd regret, because my friend's mom does now have some regrets about how she handled things and I think my mom took that to heart.

We ended the conversation with them thanking me for talking to them (I've always been the family counselor and mediator ever since my brother had to get sent away for counseling and boarding school) and my dad promised to talk to my sister. I told them that if the conversation had gone any other way then they would have seen a side of me they'd never experienced before, which I think surprised them a bit (they definitely believed me). The conversation went so well that even my brother, who hasn't spoken to my parents (mostly) in about five years, was willing to give them the benefit of a doubt.

When I got back my mom was a lot more on-board and while she said she was sad for my sister, in that my sister's life is going to get more challenging (which I think is fair), she's going to try to work out a way to get down before the kid is born and also be there when the kid arrives. My dad has spoken with her twice while we were gone and while he's still upset, he's not AS upset; it takes him a while to adjust to things he doesn't like that he can't do anything about. If they keep going in the way they are then I think they'll both be to the point where they'll be genuinely happy to meet their second grandkid. Do I think my dad will ever be ok with the boyfriend? I think he'll have some grumpiness even if the guy marries my sister (and to his credit he asked my sister if they wanted to go to the court house and do the thing but my sister refused, she wants to get married not for obligation) but we'll see there. As long as they love the kid as much as my own then that's all that matters.

I'm cross-posting here and over on Dreamwidth at The Mad Ramblings. Feel free to comment in either place.