Childless

I went to an AA meeting the other day where most people talked about issues with their kids and how it affects their sobriety.  It made me so glad I chose not to procreate.

But that does not mean my sobriety is not affected by children and family. I have a niece and nephew who mean the world to me. They are my younger sister’s kids. I was a big part of their life when they were younger. Then she and I have not gotten along since 2011. I am not sure what her diagnosis is but I know she is suffering from mental problems in addition to substance abuse. I suspect the mental issues are secondary. She did not want me in the lives of her children anymore.

My mom has helped raise them a lot. I don’t think my sister would have managed without her assistance. My mom secretly kept me in touch. She would have them send me cards and talk to me on the phone when they visited.

My sister began to show increased erratic behavior last summer. She gave her two children to their paternal grandparents “for a little bit” and then spent two months fighting for them back. (Their father has been out of the picture most of their lives.) The children were returned to her. I heard she seemed normal for a month and then began “acting up”. My nephew is a preteen and the poor kid told me his mom is “sick”. He is old enough to know.

Last fall, she gave them to my older sister and her husband. She signed away her parental rights and sent them a 1000 miles away. She was mad at my mom so did this rather than give her custody. I was worried because I have not gotten along with my older sister for two decades. I could never pin-point the reason. Maybe she has mental issues too. But I guessed I would never see the kids again.

Since they were born, I have sent them postcards, gifts and foreign currency from all the places I have been. I have taught them few words here and there in other languages. I’ve taken them on trips to cities that are driving distance to their home. Now the poor kids were uprooted and taken away from the only life they knew. Besides my mom, my brother has been closest to them. He was my nephew’s best friend.

At first, my older sister contacted me and said she wanted me included in their life. Over the months, new and stricter rules keep being placed that makes it harder to speak with the kids. We are only allowed to call for a few minutes on weekends but my sister and her husband monitor the calls. I do not know if they get the cards I send. Then they told my brother and I we can not visit the kids. It has been tearing us apart.

Then last night, her husband told my mom that my brother and I are no longer allowed to speak to the kids. I emailed my sister asking what did I do to be denied contact. She responded with a myriad of reasons and excuses that did not make sense. When I tried to refute each one, she replied with mean messages and told me “this is not about you!” Then, to add nastiness to her emails, she said the kids do not even ask about me. She said my close relationship to them is made up in my mind.

There are so many feelings going through my head and body. I am hurt and angry. Saddened. Worried. I worry so much about those kids. My nephew is very sensitive and emotional. Before I went away when his mom first started with her problems, he apologized to me for his mom being mean. He cried and told me not to leave. I think my niece is still too young to know what is happening. The times I have talked to him, he talks to me about art and books and the latest Walking Dead. I wonder what they are going to say to him when he doesn’t hear from me nor my brother.

I am trying to restrain outrage and hatred. I have been reading Buddhist quotes to try to find a peace of mind. I am going to start a journal of letters to them but not send it. Hopefully my mom will be allowed to see them this summer (unless she gets cut off too) and she can show them the journal. I hope keeping these letter will show them I never stopped loving and thinking of them. Hopefully my younger sister will seek help and regain custody.

I know I mention that my sisters have mental issues but fail to mention mine. I know I am an alcoholic. I suffer depression. I plan to explore whether my depression triggered the alcoholism or the other way around. Maybe if I can treat my depression, I can fight the drinking problem. I am not perfect. But the kids should not have to suffer.

I am not letting it affect my sobriety. I did tell my mom I wished I could just drink a bottle of wine and call my older sister to give her an earful. I know that was not rational thinking.

I pray for my little K and D.

By your own folly you will be brought as low as your worst enemy wishes. – Buddha

Mistake# 34- I was visiting a friend in Florida. She had her two little girls with her. One was 4 and the other 7. I spent a week with them traveling from Tampa to Pensacola to St Augustine. I was asked to join them to watch the girls while my friend took care of some things. She was going through a divorce.

The week was  a good reminder of why I do not want kids. I even went to the airport early to try to get an earlier flight home. I was drained from spending time with her kids. I was tired of their yelling and screaming. I was irritated by their crying over a stuffed animal or cartoons. I was so fed up with their fighting that I went out alone my last night.

The last night was a visit to St Augustine. It is the oldest city in America. We spent the day sight-seeing. I remember two girls arguing relentlessly and not listening to their mom. That night, I decided to go out alone. I wanted my own time. I went to some place for dinner and margaritas. A guy from the bar started smiling at me and then asked to join me. We talked and had many margaritas. Many! He invited me to a small party down the street.

I got drunk and went back to this party full of strangers. I do not remember much except a beautiful kitchen, more margaritas, and he and I having sex in a bedroom. Then I stumbled back, along cobblestone streets, to find the hotel. I do remember being scared I was gonna break my ankle on the antique road.

The oldest daughter was waiting up for me. She said she was worried when I did not come back by the time her mom went to bed. I told her I got lost.

Shamed by a 7 year old.

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