A Tale of Two Brothers and Stumbling Motherhood….

Some readers have asked me to keep them updated about my   ‘two ‘boys’ and this Christmas visit.  I woke up with some thoughts this Christmas Eve.  They  have been troubling me all morning.

Last night we heard from Christopher #2, the younger one, off in the Navy for the past two years.  He was trying to rent a car to bring both of them down from Virginia.  Why he was doing so when his brother had a perfectly good car for this road trip was beyond me.  Apparently he never considered asking his brother. If this sounds strange to readers, well, they just met this summer, and there probably is shyness,  other things going on between them.  Learning the new ‘brother’ on both sides probably takes time and consideration.  Our son (Christopher #2, being younger) was having trouble with his credit card, and I didn’t want to hear about it.  I was exhibiting my usual impatience with our squirrelly son, and I could feel these old sensations of something creep into my brain.  Our son joined the Navy right after some years of college and immediately bought a Jaguar.  He is in love with Jaguars, being given my old one at 18 for a birthday present.  That was a mistake on our part, the parents, because the money drain of a car like that is unending.  The new Jag, a silvery blue one, beautiful and running well, was a sight to behold until the floods in Virginia this summer.  The entire electrical system, designed by the Prince of Darkness , flooded  and our son was left with an expensive and continuing repair. Again, the nasty money drain on a young man who doesn’t have a clue about financial things in general. 

Talking with him last night, I was struck by his determined optimism about coming down to Atlanta for Christmas. He was coming and bringing his ‘new’ brother — Come Hell Or High Water.  It just never occured to him to ask his brother to use his own car.  Our son was determined to ‘be responsible’ in these things…regardless the obstacles facing him.  Enterprise car rental would not use my husband’s card because he had to offer it in person according to our son.  Five minute later, in the next phone call from him, everything was fine, Christopher #1 agreed to use his car, and Christopher #2 would do an oil change.

This morning, in the midst of preparations for Christmas and their arrival, I am feeling shame.  I recognize some of the same behaviors of another person in my family: impatience, distain, annoyance at the troubles of others.  The cycle truly goes on when you aren’t aware or conscious of these things.  And they don’t make for being a good mother or a good person.

I became a mother to our son in my early 40’s.  I had no experience with children, and I think at the time I had no real awareness of what it really entailed.  Though having a child from a previous marriage, my husband didn’t either.  We were locked in a selfish, self-centered marriage, not really emotionally mature enough to recognize this huge thing we were facing.  Having Christopher in our lives broke a lot of that crap down, but I don’t think we really understood the changes  necessary.  That took too many years and only in the last 6 have I understood where so many of the deficiencies of my own parenting came from.

The good news is  I did not have to repeat these unending patterns. Narcissism is, in part, an inability to place the suffering or discomfort of another person first in your actions: it is usually a total lack of empathy for the situation, the condition of someone else.  Of course, narcissism is much more than this, but the lack of empathy is key in defining pathological narcissism.  It’s a horrible ball of wax.  Narcissism contains so many disruptive and destructive elements, but it is truly poisonous to children.  They have no real defenses against it, and when it comes from a parent, it is debilitating for life until therapy shines some light and understanding.  It disrupts any real family life.  It makes a mockery of unconditional love, something we are called to especially in this season.

How truly wonderful the optimism and fortitude of my son.  How wonderful they both are working in tandem to come down here, and want to spend Christmas with us.  It is also amazing to me that Christopher #1, (28 apparently, not 29 as I thought) wants to come and spend this precious time with people he really doesn’t know.  He’s coming here on a wing and a prayer, not knowing  knowing for sure his place in this family.

He, a new Mormon, (a mysterious religion to us)…is stepping out in faith. 

I am humbled.  I am humbled by the constancy of my son who will ‘walk through flames’ to be home for Christmas.  I am humbled by Christopher #1 who is determined to be here, to throw himself into a new family who  wants him as family.  But most of all, I am humbled that two young men can teach me the real value and meaning of love and Christmas: they desperately care and are not afraid of showing it.  Their youthful optimism cuts through doubt and darkness.

They want to be with us as family, their family, and they bring love with them.  The plan is that they will be here around 1opm- midnight this Christmas Eve, and they will be amongst the most important  blessings this season brings.

Lady Nyo, wishing you all a wonderful Holiday. 

Chris #2, if you read this, you have to set up the Creche.  The camels are waiting.

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12 Responses to “A Tale of Two Brothers and Stumbling Motherhood….”

  1. Chameleon Says:

    Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) to you and all of yours, from another Sailor in Hawaii. Hope your son gets home soon. If he needs a little extra cash, there are options, including the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Merry Christmas to you, Chameleon!

    Oh no, he has transferred the necessary funds into his credit card….but this is a much better option. thank you so much for your concern.

    They are supposed to arrive around midnight…..and what a Christmas present that will be!

    My very best to you, another Sailor. I hope you are home???

    With gratitude for your service…

    Lady Nyo

    Like

  3. katiewritesagain Says:

    Have a lovely holiday, Jane. Enjoy your sons-both of them. We humans are imperfect. Most of the time we’re just getting by-regardless of how much money we make. When someone is making the effort ot be with you, just go with it!
    have a lovely, lovely holiday.

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  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Katie!

    Merry Xmas, dear heart!! Wish Margie could be with us but she’s not forgotten.

    Yes, imperfect fits the bill…but conscious of my imperfection! LOL! One step forward, two …..

    You know the drill.

    Just heard from them…I am renaming them ‘Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee”…neither one of them has a sense of direction, and they just started out at 5pm. They said they were still on ‘a gravel road’ somewhere in North Carolina….doesn’t sound very promising. LOL!

    Well, you and I know both of our histories, and any grasp at a ‘normal family’ is rare and a blessing! LOL!

    Have a lovely holiday yourself, dear heart. Enjoy the blessings of Nature that float our way.

    Love,
    Jane

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  5. brian miller Says:

    nice…i hope this all worked out and you had a great holiday jane…hope your new year turns a beautiful new page as well.

    b

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  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Brian…well, it was a mixed bag of nuts here.

    These two were two of the most socially inept young men I have ever come across. They just sat on their phones, texting the entire visit. I guess this is the ‘norm’ for today? Well, it’s rude and uncouth in any case. I had to tell guests at Xmas dinner to turn off your phones!

    I am exhausted, Brian. I’m not open to doing this again any time soon. Thankfully, they both have a year to mature and get some social graces. the Navy doesn’t seem to push that with our son, and since I didn’t raise the other one, I don’t know about him. BUT!! I think my son was trying to be ‘dominant’ here, and it wasn’t going down well with his mother.

    Since they are so much into ‘communication’, I sent my son an email telling him how I really felt, but he is ignoring it. So….

    Brian, when your children are young, they are sweet and precious. When they are in their 20’s …what the hell happened??

    LOL!

    Hugs,
    Jane and may the New Year bring much Joy and Good Health!!

    Like

  7. Berowne Says:

    Remember Mark Twain’s adage, Jane, which was (roughly) “when I turned 25 I was amazed at how much my parents had learned in five years”. Sounds like a reasonably successful cross between a family dinner and a first date. 🙂 Best wishes to you all for 2012!
    P.S. Did you use those cute salt and pepper shakers that look like little pilgrims?

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  8. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Berowne…

    Well, Happy New Year to you!

    It really was a mixed bag of nuts with them. They stayed on their phones the whole visit….Jesu! The older one never got off, even at dinners, when we were trying to ‘bond’ with him. His girlfriend apparently is very insecure and continually textd him all hours of the day and night and he tried to ‘reassure’ her…of what??? that he hadn’t fallen into a pit of Satanists?? (she is also Mormon)

    Well, next time, they both will drop their cell phones at the door. Frankly, I didn’t give myself enough credit for being a good Mother. They were NOT good children.

    Lady Nyo…and no, we forgot about those Pilgrims….LOL!

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  9. Berowne Says:

    > I didn’t give myself enough credit for being a good Mother. They were NOT good children.

    Agree with the first; but maybe cut the kids a little slack for youth and nervousness and not quite knowing how to behave? I’m sure *we* were never a problem like that to *our* parents; oh nooo… 😉

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  10. ladynyo Says:

    At 24 and 29 I would expect that they had some clue here….we didn’t raise our son to do such things in a social setting. I can’t account for the other.

    I am just soooo glad they are gone. We have a year to figure out whether we want to do this again.

    It was taxing and exhausting, riding herd on these two, but at least it is over.

    Like

  11. Berowne Says:

    Look on the bright side; your kids managed to give you happiness by arriving *and* by leaving! How rare is that?

    Like

  12. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! I like the ‘leaving’ part best.

    Like

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