Changing Places



There is an old adage that says: Never judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.  I don’t put much stock into it.  After all, it is very hard to project yourself into someone else’s position.  However, when it happens inadvertently… That makes you take pause and think.

I have a sister who is ten years my senior.  She has two children, both boys.  I am 13 years older than the oldest and 15 years older than the youngest (both of whom are now in their late teens, working on going into their twenties).  Their childhood was not very good.  And when they asked to move in with my mother because of my sister’s bad habits and other contributing factors, my mother agreed.  At the time, I had just started college and it became my primary responsibility to make sure they got to school, got their homework done, etc.

During this time, I often turned to my best friend for advice.  I wasn’t really interested in the responsibility of children, let alone two of them, but I felt a sense of obligation to help undo some of the damage that my sister and her lifestyle had done.  Her standard answer was “you have choices and this is the one you made.”  At the time, I resented that answer, because it was true.  I did make the choice to help my nephews grow up and try to stop them from becoming serial killers.

Sadly, the shoe is on the other foot now.  She has a nephew, he is four.  Her brother (a single parent due to his wife passing away from complications of birth), is much like my sister… Disillusioned by the fact that he has a child, he uses the child as emotional blackmail against the rest of the family.

She occasionally calls me, upset by something done by her brother and asks for my advice.  So far, I have rehashed advice she gave to me so many years ago with some flaring of psychology.

This week though, she really hurt my feelings.  When she called me upset on Monday, I knew that either her brother was being a jerk or someone had died, that’s how hard she was crying.  She said to me “You must be loving this” referring to our changing positions.  I laughed it off Monday, she had enough on her plate, but I did mention that I was not that vindictive.

Yesterday and today though, it has bothered me.  I don’t get hurt feelings very often and very few people have enough impact on me to do cause such an emotion.  But coming from her, it did, because it did imply I was vindictive.  Sure, I have moments, we all do, but not towards our closest friends.  I know she didn’t mean it, but still… I don’t know that I can brush it off.

Shit, I’m going to have to talk to her about it…

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1 Comment

  1. normally i give your post 4 or 5 stars. i couldn’t today. not because i didn’t care about what you wrote, but it is personal and hurtful to you. i didn’t want to really like it because of the content. Make sense? Taking care of someone else’s kids is a big responsibility, I know. My 80 year old mother is raising my cousin’s 11 year old. The cousin has now moved in with my mother yet doesn’t take full responsibility for her son. I hope you and your friend get this worked out. Hugs.

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