On Christmas day my sister gave me some interesting news. She’s about two weeks late. Most sisters would be over joyed at the prospect of becoming an aunt for the second time. Most people, though, don’t have a sister who’s battling drug addiction and a nephew who’s now, legally, a brother. She just nonchalantly commented that she was late and that an abortion wasn’t an option.
The conversation was vaguely familiar. I’d heard it over two years prior. I was in living in Connecticut at the time, she at my parent’s house only a month or so out of yet another stint in rehab. On that afternoon I told her that she needed to get an abortion and she told me it wasn’t an option. I reminded her that she’d only left rehab for the sixth time a month ago, that she was a cutter, suicidal, unstable, that she didn’t have a job nor a place to live. That she was penniless and could, in no way, support a child. Her response, just like it was on Thursday was, “it’s not an option, Erika.”
I’m pissed. I’m pissed because the girl is twenty-seven years old. Yes, I said “girl.” Because she still is a girl. She can’t take care of herself and therefore, cannot take care of her child. That’s why my parents are raising her child. Correction, after my parent’s divorce twenty-eight days ago, my mother is raising her child. I was under the impression that my parent’s were done raising children. Apparently, I was wrong.
I’m pissed that she didn’t learn her lesson. One would think that having a child when you’re penniless, homeless, and a drug addict would teach you to use the birth control options that are readily available to you. Condoms, the Pill, the Patch, the Shot, Condoms.
It would be a different situation if she were a stable person. If she had a stable job, an income, a residence. It would be a different situation if she were a responsible person with the ability to take responsibility for her actions. It would be a different situation if the person who may be baby daddy #2 were stable or responsible.
The present situation is far from what I imagined would be the life of my sister as an adult. It’s hard for me to fathom how two children, brought up in the same exact way, in the same exact home, given the same exact opportunities could end up completely different.
So here I am, in New York City planning a life and a future with a woman that I love. That future involves so much planning; mostly financial planning for the children that we both want to have. I want to be an established and published novelist. Which requires me to work on my novel, to work on finding an agent, and to work with that agent to get my novel published. The planning requires for Mirs to finish her research proposal that will allow her to finish her PhD and for her to open her practice.
Then, and only then is the discussion of family and the responsibility that comes along with that an option. I realise that shit happens. I especially realise that in our homosexual relationship pregnancy “surprises” can never happen. But is a surprise pregnancy ever really a surprise? Did we not all learn the story of life in junior high? Did you not learn that when a sperm finds it’s way to an egg that the result is a fetus?
It always baffles my mind that women just happen to find themselves pregnant. I mean, up until three years ago I was having sex with men and I didn’t just happen to find myself pregnant. There was never once an “Ohmigod” moment that I thought the possibility of pregnancy was there. It was simple, if I didn’t take my pill at the right time, then we used a condom or didn’t fuck. Period.
I’m waiting for the time to tell my mother, who just moved into a two bedroom apartment with her two and a half year old grandson(son) after divorcing her husband of thirty-two years that her irresponsible twenty-seven year old daughter who is currently sleeping on her couch informed her other, more responsible daughter, that her period is two weeks late. When is the perfect time to tell your aging mother with a thyroid problem and high cholesterol such amazing news?
I used to pray for my sister in church when I went to church on Sundays. After communion when everyone knees or bows their heads, I would hold my head in my hands and fight back tears of sadness and frustration and guilt for the life that my sister lives. I feel sadness because it’s confusing to me how she ended up the way she did. It’s frustrating to me because I get angry about the stress and unhappiness that she’s burdening my parent’s with. And I feel guilty that somehow I’ve escaped the black pit that is Toledo, Ohio for the land of opportunity that is New York, New York. Guilt that I am the favored child. The perfect child. The one that’s alright.
Maybe it’s because before Christmas, it’d been six months since I’d been to church. Six months since I thought about my sister, really. Six months of living in the bubble that is the unconditional love of my girlfriend that has caused me to forget about all of my troubles at home. It’s true, if I’m being honest with myself. I have forgotten about all of the shit that is fucked up in Ohio. I’ve forgotten about the hard life that my mother has been forced to live because of my sister. More than forgetting it, I’ve avoided it. I’ve avoided dealing with all of it because who wants to deal with all of the hurt and the pain when you’re laying next to beauty and love? Not that my mother doesn’t love me, nor I her. I do. She is, and always will be, the most important person in my life. I don’t want to be the one that hurts her with this news. I know, though, that it will be me. Like it was before. Letting her know that her youngest daughter, her baby, had disappointed her once again. Shit.