Am I My Brother's Keeper?
October 15, 2009 10:15 AM Subscribe
My parents are divorced; my father has custody of my younger brother, but is leaving the country for a few years for work. He wants me to live with and take care of my 16 year old brother until he graduates from HS. I love my brother, but I have some objections and I’m not sure how to handle this. (long explanation inside!)
posted by anonymous to human relations (60 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
God, my family is so complicated.
I’m 24, my brother is 15 and is a sophomore in high school. We live in the same metro area, but about 30 minutes away from each other and in different states.
My father is going overseas as a contractor for a few years to pay off debts/earn money, etc. He wants my brother to stay in the same town and continue going to the same school that he’s in now.
Originally, the plan was that my brother would stay with my mom, who lives three blocks away (yes, three blocks!) from my dad & brother. But then my mom moved from a two-bedroom to a one-bedroom apartment (still in the same apartment complex) and now she’s decided that she doesn’t have room for my brother and she doesn’t “feel like” moving again, even if my dad pays for her to move and pays the difference on her new rent. She's worried that if something happens to my dad's job, she won't be able to afford the new apartment and she'll have to move again, on her own dime. I also think another issue is that she had kids when she was pretty young, and she feels that she missed out on life, so now she’s enjoying an empty nest. (She’s a classic narcissist and probably not the best parental figure for my brother, but then again, I don’t think I’d be a good one either.)
So now my father has come to me, asking me to move out to their town for the next few years to live with my brother. If it were just a year, it would be inconvenient (breaking my lease, living further away from work, living in a town that I hate), but I’d do it. But we’re talking about the next two and a half years. The job I have now will be ending in June, and I have no promise of a new one, especially in this part of the country. I had plans to go to grad school next year, out of state. I'd have to put all of my plans on hold. My brother and I are not close, but I do love him. I just feel like this isn’t fair. I’m only 24, I don’t want to be a mom yet!
My dad is obviously stressed out. He’s sacrificed a lot and he just wants what’s best for our family. At this point, he doesn’t want me to talk to my mom about this anymore, but I think my mom is being selfish. On the other hand, am I being selfish too?
My brother's emotions are key in all of this too. I don't want him to feel like a human ping-pong ball.
I’ve got about a week or so to figure this all out. Everything is happening so fast. Some guidance would be appreciated.
- My brother is not responsible enough to live alone. That’s not even on the table.
- Moving in with a friend is also not an option.
- Moving with me anywhere (in the metro or out of state) is not an option, in my father’s eyes. My brother struggles academically and has a well-developed support system in his current school.