Friday, March 20, 2009

Man-Child And His Sibblings (Cousins)

It's been a month since my brother and his family moved into my home. Let me tell ya, it has been an ADVENTURE. Getting the kids used to a different routines, new eating habits, new rules and so much more has been a challenge. Despite it all, we are managing.

One thing I never considered or thought about was the impact this change would have on Man-child. My brother has three sons, Khalil 12, Demarion 9, and Ja'Varea 5, that are younger than Man-child and they WORSHIP the ground he walks on. The first week, it was fun. Man-child helped with homework, getting them ready for bed, doing housework and getting to know each other. They follow Man-child every where and even began wearing their clothes like Man-child. Well, somewhere between that second and third week, things began to change. I noticed Man-child yelling at the boys all the time.

Finally, Man-child said, "I am sick and tired of them. Get them out of here". What happened?, I asked. "They are everywhere, they won't even let me go to the bathroom; they are in my sutff and they keep taking stuff out of my room"!! he yelled. " I don't want them in my room any more and they can't sleep in my room either, as a matter of fact I don't even want to see them".

Oh Boy... I reminded him that I knew it was difficult but we are all cramped and uncomfortable. I told him that the boys look up to him and he just has to be patient. I told him to stop being selfish and share with his cousins. This is what it's like having brothers and sisters. Awww Man.. it hit me again.... Growing up, I was the oldest and the only girl, I NEVER had to share or compromise anything with anyone. My room and things were OFF LIMITS. When my cousins visited, I always let them know what they could touch or were allowed to play with (basically everything - but I had to tell them first). I never shared a room, my clothes - NOTHING. When my aunt died, a couple of my cousins, male cousins, came to live with us for a while - again, my stuff was off limits.

I had to rethink this again and make new rules. Ok. The boys can come in his room only if Man-child lets them and they have to respect his space. They also have to let Man-child invite them to stay in his room. Have things gotten better? There is less yelling and they boys are not clinging to Man-child every move. But I am still on him about sharing, being considerate and accepting of others. I also reminded him that the world does not revolve around him and one day he could find himself in the same place.

I'll keep you posted of our progress :-)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Knock On The Door

Three weeks ago, my brother, his wife and five kids knocked on my door. Still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, his plant closing, unemployment, and so much more, he decided to pack up his family and move back home. I can’t imagine how difficult that decision was for him but he had an obligation to provide the best care for his family.

When they arrived, I immediately called family. Instead of support, I heard, “How rude. They should have called first”, “ I hope you are not trying to be a Savior”, “ How the Heck does he expect to get help here”, “ You should have sent them to a shelter”, and a lot more. I got the same response from friends that I’ve considered family also. Hmmmm…. I thought, is this what institution of the family has become? I got angry and I thought would these same people do the same to me if I need help.

Let me say this… I am not a Martyr. I do what I do because I want to. I recognize that in order to survive you must have the support of your family. Throughout history, particularly for African Americans, families have always taken care of each other. So, why should I change? I recognize that I am a caregiver and a nurturer. Even with all of the negative comments, I am still the one everyone calls. I am the one that remembers every birthday, anniversary, death, birth, graduation, special achievement, wedding, or thinking of you. Then it hit me…. “Trust in the LORD with ALL your HEART and Lean not on your own understanding”. Proverbs 3:5 I do what’s in my heart and I never question my actions or the actions of those that are in need.

My brother’s obligation is to provide the best care for his family. His decision brought him back to Baltimore where he thought he could get support. Am I obligated to help? No. Yet, I know that with my trust in the CREATOR, All is Well. If my obligation makes me seem gullible, naive or taken advantage of, I would say, “that’s okay”. I have to do what is in my heart and spirit. So knock on my door. Anytime.