Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Munchkin's Brother

I feel like I should touch a little bit on Munchkin’s older brother. He is a pretty important part of her life, and therefore is part of mine. I would say that our relationship has been strained over the years, but is pretty good now.

He is about two years younger than me, the son of Munchkin’s father (my mother’s husband). As such, he and Munchkin have the same last name, something of which I am at least a little bit jealous. Not that jealous, but a little (okay, I have considered changing my name, since mine essentially has no meaning as it is.)

I have known him since my mother and his father met, which was when I was about 12. We were never at all close, but I wouldn’t say that we really fought either…more often than not he was living with his mother, but he did bounce in and out of our house. He kind of always had a way of finding trouble, never really bad stuff, but always some kind of mischief. And then right before he finished High School he got arrested for the third or fourth time, this time for stealing cars, and got sent to jail for a little bit (I wanna say 6 months or so, but am not sure).

Munchkin doesn’t know this, and anyone who reads this and knows me is to NEVER mention this to her. She absolutely adores her big brother and he is very good to her. So mum is the word.

He got out of jail about four months before my mother told me that she was sick, and then he was involved in suing me for custody of her. That obviously was not something that I appreciated terribly, not did I appreciate him and my aunt telling Munchkin things like I was trying to "steal her" and "make her go to a scary, strange place" and "keep her away from her cousins". Whatever, water under the bridge.

The problem was that Munchkin really likes her brother and I couldn’t…nor did I want to…just keep her away from him. Which meant that I had to find some way to be civil so she could see him and not realize that I hated him or that I was concerned about her spending too much time around the ex-con.

The good news for me is that he has changed a lot, which has made it a lot easier. After jail he went to work for a mechanic (I guess if you can steal cars, you can fix them too) and has been gainfully employed there ever since. He also has a girlfriend who is a complete sweetheart and is, I think, the real reason he has mellowed out.

She comes across as timid and sort of shy, but I think she knows exactly what she wants, and is determined to get it. I also think she knows his past and has made it pretty clear that he does not get any slip-ups. And to that end they have moved away from the old neighborhood a little bit, and as far as I know (and I have pretty good sources) he never sees any of his old friends anymore, which is all very good.

Basically, he has just gotten his act together. He has a pretty good job, a wonderful girlfriend and they talk about saving and buying a house in the suburbs. The last time he was here, he started asking me all kinds of questions about saving and investing and stuff like that. I think the idea of him making plans like that is a very good sign. [Secret!!! They are actually engaged, but haven’t told anyone because everyone will yell at them that they are too young. But they told Munchkin and she was pretty happy about being the only one to know;-)]

They come out to visit about once every two months. The first times they came I chickened out and made them stay in a hotel rather than with us. But since then, I feel good enough about it to let them stay with us, and in truth they are pretty easy guests. Usually me and Smoking Hot Roommate take his girlfriend out for a day and do girlie stuff while he and Munchkin do something together. She gets super excited for at least a week before they come.

He still does some things that annoy me, but I may be overly sensitive about it. Like we went to see her school one day and he said, maybe joking "Her parents would have hated this place." And while he is correct, I don’t really care and it bothered me that he would say it. Again, he was probably just joking, but there is also a chance he was just being snippy.

And like I said yesterday, he took a lot of the heat off of me from his half of her family by telling them all that the Europe trip was a great idea. When I first told him, he even said that he would help pay for it if need be, which was nice of him. And before she left, he gave her a stack of postcards addressed to him so she could write him every day, which she did;-)

One last thing, he did finally formally apologize to me for the whole suing thing. He told me that it was wrong of him to do it and that she was much better off with me than with anyone in Chicago. I know it can be hard for people to say sorry sometimes, so I appreciated it. So I would say that our relationship is pretty good, and any friend of Munchkin’s is a friend of mine;-)


Ally said...

I love the self-addressed postcards idea. It sounds like he's a pretty mature 22 year old, and I'm sure it's nice to have at least one family member who is really looking out for Munchkin. You're full of great stories.

Accidentally Me said...

I think he has matured a lot, definitely. And the girlfriend gets most of the credit, in my book.

I agree on the postcards, too...I thought it was really cute;-)