Helping Family: When Is Enough?
On Sunday, my hubby's sister posted a photo of their dad in his uniform on her Facebook feed to honor him on Veteran's Day. It's a great photo of their dad, and the sentiment was touching.
My stepdaughter commented, pointing out how much her dad looked like her grandpa. Immediately following was a comment from one of her cousins that said "It's a shame your dad doesn't have grandpa's personality and values". Another cousin berated the nephew telling him how mean it was to be cutting down our daughter's father. The nephew told her to "butt out" because she has no idea of all the shitty things Mike as done, and that he'd be happy to inform her if she wants to take the time to listen.
For the sake of my sanity and my husbands integrity and all of our hurt feelings, I want to list just two of the "shitty" things we have done for family in the last few years.
1. We bought a home in Albuquerque for his mom to live in. Rent free. We pay all maintenance, taxes and upkeep on the house. This will be our retirement home some day, but for now, his mom has a nice place to live in a nice safe neighborhood.
2. We helped out this nephew's father when he fell on hard times. No strings were attached. He pay us back, but we did not expect it or want it. We just wanted to help him when he was down on his luck.
Now, the reason this nephew is disgruntled is despite numerous requests for him to move in with his Grandma, into our home away from home, we have said no. We've been asked upwards of 10 times in the last 3 years, and we give the same answer each time. No.
"Can ____ move in with me?". Of course there have been many reasons why she's asked. Once was because the apartment our nephew was living in with a friend had smoke damage from a fire elsewhere in the building. The apartment complex he lived in had already moved him and his roommate into another apartment. We said "No". The next time mom asked us if he could move in, she said "____ will help me pay expenses if he lives here". We said "No". Then: "I'm lonely, I want ____ to live with me". No again. And then "_____'s roommate is gay and he wants to get out of that situation". Nope, sorry.
Meanwhile, two years ago, we had serious teenage trouble with our son. All teenagers go through their things, we know this, we weathered it without talking about it to hubby's family because we didn't want anyone to know.
At the same time, our nephew was also going through his own stuff, as a 20 something who hasn't found his way in life yet. We felt bad, but we refused to let him move in with Mom. We felt as though it was not our responsibility to care for this child, and give him free room and board. His parents live in Albuquerque.
We did not call any of hubby's brother's and ask them to take our son to live with them when we were going through our family crisis, and felt that we were just being asked to do "too much" by letting our nephew move into our home in Albuquerque.
The last time we went to visit, hubby's older brother from Colorado was in town, as well as his sister from Savannah. We didn't see the brother who's son we said "no" to, he was mad at us for not taking his son in and would not come to visit. On the second to last day we were there, everyone got up to leave, without saying a word to hubby and I. When we asked where they were going, they replied that they were going to meet Ed for dinner. We were crushed. And we haven't been to Albuquerque since.
We have plans to visit in January for a week, and now I don't want to go. I explained to hubby yesterday that I just don't want to be in an environment where I'm disliked or where I'm living the grudge someone has against us. I told hubby I would stay in Santa Fe and he and his daughter can stay with Mom. I just don't have any desire to face this situation again. This did not please hubby. He said we can't let one nephew dictate how we feel and change our family plans and travels to New Mexico.
This rift in our family is a few years in the making, and has spilled onto Facebook now. There isn't much that we wouldn't do for family, but housing this man cub was where we drew the line. And now we are being slandered by him. And our feelings are hurt.
When is enough? Where do we draw the line?