Saturday, August 29, 2009

Conversation with Sister

I had a nice phone call with my sister. She was more relaxed than she has been in months. She took my niece to college and had a stretch of time by herself in the hotel room. She was in heaven.

And she used the time to call me.

She's debating what to do about her marriage. She wants to give BIL a chance to change. She feels like if she doesn't, she will always wonder if he might have. She also is trying not to hope too much. Even Niece1 tells her not to get her hopes up. She asked me if I thought he would. I said that I had known people who had made major changes in their lives but that the one thing they all had in common was that they wanted to change. She said BIL doesn't think he has done anything wrong, but he is willing to go to counseling. I told her that in Alanon I often heard people tell other people, "Do what you have to do until you have to do something else."

"What does that mean?"

"That means you stay as long as you need to stay, and then you go when you know it's time to go."

She told me about my niece's college, the ups and downs of getting there, about how Niece1 seems to be adjusting better than she thought.

I asked her if she got the box I sent her a while back. She said she did and then told me about how that very morning she had told Niece1 that she knew she was going to regret wearing the outfit that she put on because she always where jewelry with it and she has none. None has come back from the company that is supposed to be restoring it. She wore it anyway, and then when she got the mail there was the jewelry! I know it is the sort of thing she likes: pendant and matching earrings significantly bigger than the stuff I wear. So she was pleased.

I told her what was going on with Gary. We talked about adopting the boys.

She told me that my father did get to go to China, which is good for several reasons, including that he instructed the person who is taking care of his finances to make major payments on her debt from her medical bills and student loan. That is going to be a big help to her.

We also talked about whether living in the apartment behind Dad's house would be terrible. She's thinking that it might be her best option. I think right now plan A is to "give BIL a chance" until Niece2 graduates from high school next June. That is actually only a few months because he will be in Iraq for another six months, I believe.

We talked about her church, about how she has cut down her activities to the absolute minimum required for her daughter to attend church, and about how the pastor is harassing her. BIL is being helpful there. He never liked the pastor and would have switched churches long ago. By mutual agreement he is emailing the pastor to say he knows Sis has fallen from the path and he will "handle it" when he gets back. He didn't actually SAY "leave my wife alone" but he says he thinks he successfully sent that message. He promised Sis that he would fulfil the weekly attendance obligation when he got back. He of course will be hoping that they work everything out and find a new church after Niece2 graduates. BIL is not all bad, especially when what you want is a big, strong man to fix things and keep other guys from bothering you.

Mostly though it was just good to hear her not-exhausted.


  1. Just want to say that I think you have been a wonderful support to your sister. You've been non-judgmental, haven't pushed, yet have been willing to be there when she needs someone.

    It seems that the ability to be a good foster parent extrapolates to the ability to be good in other relationships.

  2. I'm glad to hear things have settled down a bit. Sending your first kid off to college has to be quite an adjustment, but at least it's the good kind.

    Any chance of an update on nephew as well? I'm really hoping he can pull through this and get his life on a better track.

  3. Best to walk away knowing you did everything you could, I think you gave her great advice


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