07 May 2009

Mio fratello

My brother being seriously ill is seriously weird. He's older than I am, but it always seemed more likely that I'd meet some untimely demise long before he died of old age. More likely to me anyway--I have a morbid streak.

Spoke to him today a little bit. He's still in the hospital for pneumonia, and now there's a blood clot in his arm, and there's still whatever lung thing started all this. He may get out tomorrow though to recuperate at home.

I still haven't been confronted with the custodial question my Mom warned me about.

For most people, I'm sure it'd be a no-brainer. He kind of asked me when my niece was first born if I'd be her guardian if anything happened to he and his wife. I told him I was in no position to do so and to think of me as a last resort.

I've never had a moment where I wanted to raise children. However, in a reluctance to limit my options, I used to think if I had a partner who really wanted kids, it wouldn't necessarily be a deal-breaker. Unless I was expected to get pregnant. I could only picture it if I was the daddy figure.

My niece is going to be six in a few months, and she's smart, silly, creative, and often hyper. I enjoy her company but it highlights for me all the ways in which I don't want to be a parent.

Should a person get sucked into parenthood via tragedy because their sibling had kids?

But then I look at the family trees, the other possible options for my niece if something bad happened to both her parents, and I am probably the best young option. My parents breezily say, "Oh, just say yes, it'll never happen." My dad's follow up was, "We'd do everything we could to help you, but she needs someone young, and that's you." Also, "She'll be eighteen in 12 years, and then you'd be done." That, of course, seems ridiculous because I know full well that parenting doesn't stop because you turn a certain age. Still, I imagine I would step up for her if she needed me as disastrously as my parenting efforts might turn out.

Anyway, when I finally got a word in towards the end of our phone call, I thanked my bro for the pony, and it clearly made him happy to think that I really liked it.

A year ago on TTaT: I thought I was doing better...


  1. Hope things will turn around for your brother. What an ordeal this must be. And, on the custody issue, do what you feel you must do. Being responsible for a child is no easy task, and if you're not up do it, don't accept to take it on.

  2. What a sad thing to have to think about. Have you seen that movie Raising Helen? The main character's sister dies so she gets custody of three kids. I wouldn't want custody either. I am not cut out to be a parent.

  3. thanks, E. It's just going to take a long while for him to recover. At least as things look now.

    Regarding custody, I'm not looking for it, but if saying no would put my niece with unstable family members or in foster care... I don't think I could do that to her. If my bro ever does officially ask, I will reiterate my reservations.

    kilax: I've seen most of it in pieces, and yeah, it has crossed my mind. It's the set boundaries and be tough because they need you to be parts that seem particularly hard.