Just when you think things can’t get any worse…… they explode right in your face while your watching, saying to yourself surely this isn’t going to play out like I think it’s going to……

Background: My brother-in-law is here (Call him E). D had a really sad, hard family situation growing up. It was bad for all of them, but his brother (5 years younger) got to deal with a large chunk of it alone, and carries the scars to this day. He’s a difficult person at best, trying to overcompensate social awkwardness with boisterousness, in an “oh, God I can’t watch” sort of way. And he’s single (imagine). I told him before he came in town that the only single female we know is Oreo (our miniature schnauzer), and she’s the dominant type. Under all that mess is a nice, overly-sensitive guy trapped under a pile of shit, a lot of it of his own making at this point.

Present: D picked him up at the airport last evening and brought him to a restaurant where one of our friends was having a birthday party. It ended up being more people than we thought, and people were crammed around this table, food and payment for food took forever. E comes over to visit with me (everyone’s chair hopping by this point) and I bring up T-giving plans. He’s a bit hostile about that (okay, he blows up – he’s had no sleep in like 30 hours he says – right), he didn’t realize we were going to make a pit stop (2 night) at his Dad’s under very cramped conditions (7 adults, 2 small kids and 2 dogs in a 2BR house), not to mention the fact that he and his father have a very strained relationship. He ultimately calms down and we chat rationally for a minute and he says he has something important to talk to me about, wants to run it by me before D. My heart stops in alarm. I know where he’s going, and D and I have talked about this years ago. And no way is this going to happen. He asks to move in with us, until he can get on his feet. Job, bit of $ saved, apartment, you know. He asks me first, he says, because he doesn’t want to turn into “another Andy”.

Andy’s my brother, who lived on my parents’ couch for about 6 years after quitting school, whose two kids my parents now have sole custody of. Not so much because of him (he’s just clueless), but because his ex is a pit-viper who uses their kids as pawns (big whole ‘nother post.)

That didn’t make me angry, but it made me so sad for him. That’s not an easy thing to ask, and he doesn’t do it lightly, I know this for a fact. I looked him straight in the eye, his strained, pale face about 3 inches from mine (trying to talk about this at a large loud table of people is difficult) and told him no. It’s not a good idea, for lots of reasons, I told him. That doesn’t mean he can’t come, but it means other arrangements will have to be made. Years and years ago, when D’s mother died, I told him that if E ever moved in I’d kill both of them. He will break the marriage we’ve worked so hard to salvage right up the middle. He won’t mean to do it, and he won’t even know how he did it. But that would be the beginning of the end, and D agrees. We are too damaged/strained/exhausted to handle E now.

We have next to nothing left in savings, guess why? No stocks, nothing to cash in, we’ve blown the whole wad on my suck-ass ovaries. Which now puts a financial angle on the holidays. D’s dad is very, very financially comfortable. When we go see him, D’s going to have to tap dance like a maniac, because that’s the role his family and fate have made him good at. He’s going to have to surmount his brothers embarrassment and hurt, and his father’s disappointment and irritation (he’s moved on with his life you see, after their mother died. He has a new wife who dotes on him like a groupie, and her family is much easier than his sons).

I could stay here, and spend T-giving with some friends. They’d be happy to have me, they said. And none of them liked my brother-in-law. I’d love to spend time here with them instead of going out of town. Everything in me screams in anger at how much this trip will suck ass. D and I desperately need some downtime. But as much as it sucks for me, it’ll be worse for D. I can self-medicate and chat nonsense with whoever I need to. We will work it. But this whole situation makes me so, so sad. We’ve both got families who’ve been stretched over the great speed bump of life and smashed flat. What on earth makes me think I can prevent this from happening to my own, if I ever have one of my own? This is one of my biggest fears. That this cycle will continue. That I’ll be a shitty mother, and my kids will never know how much I intended to show I loved them….. perhaps this fear now means that I’ll work overtime to ensure that doesn’t happen. God, I hope so….

Anyone have good suggestions for how to get through a short, evil family trip? I’m loading up my iPhone with all the games and music I can get, but I can use some good book recommendations. I haven’t finished the Twilight series, but I read really fast. Those are only good for a day and a half. Any good books that can be read over background yelling out there?

Update: Gads, thanks for the support, everyone. I’ve thought of everything from renting an RV to bringing my mummy sleeping bag and pitching a tent. A one-person tent. Well, big enough to get me the dogs in, at least….. that which does not kill you, that which does not kill you, (closing eyes and repeating ad nauseum….)