Monday, October 23, 2006


I had my first prenatal appointment this morning at the birth center where I had both Sister and Bean. Not all the midwives I remember are still there, but enough of them were there that I felt very welcome. I'm sure it's a nice validation when they get repeat customers, especially when it's for something more than just buying your toothpaste or your sewing supplies or what have you. They couldn't yet hear the baby's heartbeat since I'm only just over 9 weeks so far, but the RN went overboard reassuring me that my uterus "definitely felt pregnant" and the right size for gestational age. I'm not worried.

But I also walked away not terribly cheered up, as I'd hoped to be. I can't tell if I'm just super hormonal or what, but I just feel blue today. Probably it's got something to do with a talk that Husband and I had last night at the dinner table. A little back story is in order here.

I have a brother 2 years younger than me who is homeless and a previous heroin addict, probably still using. He lives in a city a couple of hours from here and, needless to say, has made a complete mess of his life. He has 2 sons by different mothers, neither of whom he's allowed to see anymore. He pays no child support to their moms, and is employed only some of the time. When he did work steadily, he was a stone mason and made good money at it. Now when he works, it's at drudge construction jobs, and I suspect that his money is spent on fast food meals, helping various friends with whom he sometimes lives for a few weeks at a time pay their rent or gas or whatever, and yes, drugs.

My mother is going to see him tomorrow for his 33rd birthday. She's taking him out to lunch, and to get a haircut and some new, warm clothes. She asked me on the phone last night if she could invite him to Thanksgiving, which Husband and I are hosting this year, if my brother seemed o.k. I told her I thought it would be fine, but that I didn't think that we'd be comfortable with him staying overnight in our house. This may sound harsh to you, but if he's really still an addict, then he could very likely do something stupid like steal cash from our wallets when we weren't paying attention, or make off with some small electronic thing he could pawn or something. My mom thought this was reasonable, and even said she'd likely put him up in a hotel because her own husband, my step-father, wouldn't want him staying there either.

When I mentioned this conversation to Husband, he just got silent. I asked him if this made him unhappy, and he told me frankly that he didn't want my brother to come to Thanksgiving. At all. He didn't want him in our house or around our kids. He'd been keeping tabs of him through his county's courhouse website, had seen his arrest record and mug shots, and just didn't want him here. I didn't know what to say. My mother has also been keeping tabs of him that way, and says that he was arrested once this year for possession of drug paraphernalia and 3 times for failing to appear in court. She thinks he's more or less o.k. now.

I emailed my mom to tell her about my conversation with Husband, and she told me she understood, but emailed me a link to the courthouse website so that I could see for myself my brother's arrest record. When I looked, there were pictures of my brother that I couldn't believe. Just devastating pictures. He looks like a homeless person. He's dirty and underweight and has uncut hair, and in one photo his eyes were rolling from whatever he was on as the picture was snapped. And my mother was wrong. He'd been arrested 4 times this year for possession of drug paraphernalia.

So my husband is right and I don't feel comfortable having my brother around our kids and in our house either, even for a few hours of Thanksgiving dinner. And this is such a shitty thing to admit, that I'm keeping my door closed to my brother, knowing that he won't be with family, won't get to meet Bean whom he's never seen, and will likely be eating a Thanksgiving meal at the homeless shelter, if he eats anything at all. I feel horrible.


Anonymous said...

That is terrible. Terrible. For what it's worth, (and I'm sure it's not much), I think you've made the right decision.
My former best friend is an alcoholic. The kind that sleeps under bridges and probably prostitutes herself. So I know a little bit about what you speak. Although not really, because family is different. Anyway, shutting that door, and keeping it shut, is completely heartbreaking. ANd I'm sorry.

Brony said...

It's so tough. We had a similar situation with my BIL a number of years ago.

You need to do what is right for the family. Never doubt your choice in that.

Sorry that it was such a blue day. Here is hoping tomorrow will be better.

Bear said...

My daughter will be spending her first Thanksgiving away from us - in meth rehab.
Damn drugs.

Beth said...

I think you're doing the right thing. At this point, you have to do what's right for your kids, ya know? and seeing him like that might not be the best thing.

Material things can be replaced if they're stolen, but how your kids will remember him will stay forever. if that makes any sense.

BTW, love your blog.

Lauren said...

Wow. First congrats on the pregnancy! Absolutely great news.

Second, I had a brother who took drugs for a few years, maybe many years. And I'm pretty sure he had an undiagnosed mental illness for decades. He too became homeless. Yes, he was missing teeth. He didn't smell good. But he never hurt anyone. They found pictures of my two boys, who he never met, in his pocket when he died, under an overpass in Berkeley. I'd give anything to have him at my Thanksgiving table.

Mommygoth said...

Angel, you have never had any illusions about your brother. I know you love him, and I also know you KNOW him. He is a sweet person. He is also a junkie. And he is violent sometimes - I am remembering the day out by the pond. I don't think he would hurt the kids, but I don't know that, either. You are making the right decision based on the information you have. Your kids are your priority.

"Grandi" said...

Yes, your family is your first priority - Lauren's comment makes your heart break, but you know your brother, and if you don't feel comfortable with him in your home - he shouldn't be there.

Maybe someday he will want contact with the family again and check himself into rehab and get clean - until then you children don't need to be exposed to that side of life.

Mama D said...

Wow. I have some experience with this sort of thing, but I won't get into it unless you really want to know.(you can email me, if so)

Part of me understands your husband's feelings and thinks he may be right.

Another part of me feels sorry that your brother won't be able to have Thanksgiving with his family.

I do believe that you should do what feels right to you. If you don't feel it's safe or healthy to have him around your children then he shouldn't be.

I'm so sorry. This must be very hard on you.

cubmommy said...

Sorry to hear about your brother. I know you had to make a tough decision. You have to protect your family.

Sorry you didn't get to hear the baby's heartbeat. I know that is tough. For me that is what makes the pregnancy real and I can relax a little. I hope everything will be ok. I will let you know about my appointment on Nov 13th.

Are you having any symptoms yet? I am starting to feel nauseous and exhausted.

Belle said...


None of you are in an easy position. I agree with what everyone else has said, and I know you are doing the right thing. But the right thing isn't always easy.

Manic Mom said...

Oh my God. This is so sad. I am reading a book called CANDY right now about heroin addiction. It's such a powerful and hurtful drug.