You can pick your nose. You can pick your seat. But you can’t pick your family. Some people hold that you pick your family prior to coming to earth
When I met my husband his daughter was 12 and going through all the drama and crap that comes with that age. My husband had sole custody of her. Her mother was alive but lived on the other side of the continent. By the time I was on the scene her mother had married a wonderful gentleman. Stepdaughter (SD) went to see them at least twice a year, paid for by them. The whole relationship between all of us was actually quite pleasant and friendly. I actually worked for her mother for a while when I was back in college full time.
After living together, SD and I started to bond. The phone calls to her mother were filled with things we were doing and she often would say things that I had said. This made Mom pretty upset and she started to insert herself in our situation. I would say, “SD, please do this chore” and she would come back with the “You’re not my Mother” crap. She started to lie. She skipped classes. She spent a lot of time in her room. Some of this was just being 15. The rest of it was her mother.
After living with us for almost two years, she decided she wanted to stay with her mother. We were more than fine with it.
It turned out to be exactly what was supposed to happen. Her mother’s husband ended up having a brain tumor and dying. He did everything for those two. And he had money. It was a mess when he died and no one was there to take care of them.
Fast forward to fall last year and ten years after SD had left… We get a call from SD saying her mother was in the hospital and it was not good. She passed away this December. She left SD in a difficult situation. The ties of SD and her father and I were pretty strained. So SD moved back and is living with her mother’s relatives downstate.
This weekend she came here to stay for the weekend only. She is a mess. Her weight, which is a family issue, is very bad. She is in need of serious dental work. She has not seen a doctor in years. She has no direction and an inflated sense of what she is capable of.
Fortunately, she is also independently wealthy….she thinks. This is where it gets messy and it makes me angry.
SD is a 25 year old who has no idea of how to take care of herself. She has never worked a day in her life. Not even babysitting.
She has no idea of her trust fund and how to protect it. A friend of her mother is the executor. Yikes!
SD does not drive.
And she does not take care of herself. She has no health insurance. She could not even keep up with me when we went shopping for a bit yesterday. I am 60 and have PsA.
But as we chatted last night, SD opened up a bit. I had asked her why had her mother died so suddenly and we were not aware of her being so sick. It was not sudden. Her mother, a long time diabetic (II) never took her insulin or even read her BG. It was like this when she was married to my husband over 20 years ago. This transferred to kidney issues and then serious heart problems. Her mother smoked and her idea of walking was to come down three steps from the office in the house (she worked remotely) to the recliner where they ate and watched TV.
As SD sat at our table, she started to cry. She is angry. Her mother expected her to take care of her and yet, never provided her with the knowledge of how. Her mother was told many years ago that she was on a path of an early death. She needed to lose weight and exercise. SD used to fight with her to take better care of herself. Her mother needed to take her meds and she needed to monitor her BG. She did none of it. The progression of deterioration went to her liver. At that point they said she was not a candidate for a liver transplant because she was so non-adherent. There was no DNR, no advanced directive and we had to tell SD how to become the health proxy so she could do what needed to be done. Her liver failed and SD had to make the decision to have the medical apparatus that was keeping her alive removed. I also cannot fathom how that must have made SD feel.
She spoke about how her mother was so impaired that she could not get her out of her chair at night. You could hear the anger in SD’s voice as she spoke of how her mother made no effort to help herself.
And so, of course, SD has no clue at 25 of how to take care of herself. I chastise myself a bit that we let her go out there. Her life would have been very different. But even deeper inside of me is my own anger at her mother. SD has her faults as we all do. She is also a product of her childhood and the lack of parenting. But she was a child. I did have my own children and it is my greatest regret. It was not my choice either. I am angry that her mother did not cherish her life enough to honor this wonderful youngster and allowed this all to happen.
This is a very smart young woman who is a disaster and who is afraid. SD has an amazing sense of humor and for all that she has been through, she is pretty resilient. I am hoping in time we can get her up and going in a healthy and better way. I think that this might be also incentive for my husband to be a better role model, too. I can only hope.