I try to be a tolerant and loving person, but some of my extended family just yank my strings. I’m ready to cut those cords permanently, but a little part of me thinks there may some day be redemption with these relatives.
The Three Bear family (Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Miss Crankypants Teen Bear) have some relatives that believe society owes them an existence. Thank goodness for welfare and charities because the Bear family — supporting these relatives — would be even poorer than we currently are (rich in family, friends, and faith … poor in pennies after the bills are paid).
We get the regular phone calls asking for money, co-signatures, bill payments and car repairs. Papa Bear almost always says no (it’s his side of the clan). Woe the Bear family if Mama Bear picks up the phone, because she usually looks at Papa Bear with pleading eyes and says “We have to help them.” (But no more, you’ll read the story in just a minute.)
That happened this winter, when one of the clan called crying and whining, asking for money to reconnect her utilities so her toddler cub would have some heat. Silly me! All I could think of was that poor cub shivering in the cold. I never thought to ask how they had money for tattoos and smokes (you figure it out!) but not enough to pay the utility bill.
Then there’s the member who always needs emergency money wired to her, always for an emergency, always for a good cause (like groceries or a bus ticket). Do you know how much the fees are for these wires?
Well, I returned home from errands the other day, to see several calls and voice mails from one of the clan. Uh-oh. Repeat calls are never a good sign. I listen to the messages in rising panic, and phone Papa Bear. The clan member is babbling something about her mother being dead and calling her brother, and it’s not a joke.
Papa Bear is worried. The previous night Sister Bear told of being harassed by four teens while she was riding her bike home from work. The punks were throwing things at her and calling her names and saying things about needing to avenge a certain teen that’s been in the news. Papa Bear was concerned that somebody may have taken a step too far in the harassment.
I spend the time waiting for news; shaking, crying, and praying. I can’t eat my lunch now, because my stomach is in acid-y turmoil. I’m shaking so badly, I’m dropping things on the floor. I’m selfish, I admit it. I’m thinking about how this is going to affect Papa Bear and supporting him in his grief. I’m wondering how we’re going to pay for the funeral services.
An hour later, I get the word that everything is OK. Papa Bear’s been in communication with Sister Bear. I take it upon myself to call the clan member who was worried, and BOY! do I get an earful.
Turns out she was really calling because someone texted her the message “Your mother is dead.” A few minutes later another text comes in, “Really, she’s dead.” Clan member gets on the phone to her half-brother (who her mother is living with) and eventually gets in touch with him. He denies sending the message. He then tells her the text message was sent by her own mother, presumably as a joke. Clan member says I misunderstood the voice mail she left. Her intent was to alert Papa Bear to the text message and get him to growl at the rest of the clan for tasteless jokes.
A mother sends a text message to her own daughter, saying she’s dead?
I’m done with this clan. Done, I tell you. No mas.