Ever since my niece was born, I more clearly understand the concept of being a “Mama Bear”. I do not have children of my own and she is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me. I would do ANYTHING to protect her. She is only four months old, but it is already frightening to think about all the things in the world that could hurt her- both physically and emotionally.
Growing up, I was super protective of my younger sister. It was always just the two of us and having an alcoholic father made us incredibly close. She is only three and a half years younger than me, but a lot of the time I felt partly responsible for her. And now she has this beautiful, innocent daughter of her own. Our childhood was so painful and traumatic…I just want my niece’s childhood to be a happy one. I want her to look forward to holidays instead of dreading them. I want her to be excited to spend time with her family rather than hating every second of it. I want her to be able to look back on her childhood as an adult and be full of happy, fun memories.
Today, my sister brought the baby to my parent’s house. My dad has only seen his granddaughter a handful of times since she has been born, although my parents only live 45 minutes away. My mom and sister were out together and my mom convinced my sister to bring the baby inside. Dropping by my parent’s house unexpectedly has always been a wildcard and it is something that is generally always avoided. It is just too much of a risk, not knowing if my father is going to be drunk or not. Long story short, against her gut instincts, my sister reluctantly agreed to go inside and my dad was indeed drunk. While she was pregnant, my sister told my mom she was not going to have the baby around my father if he had been drinking. My mom tried to convince my sister to stay and even wanted to placate my father by letting him hold the baby for a few minutes. Luckily, my sister did not have to stay at the house long and was able to make a quick escape before anything bad happened. My dad was sloppy and yelled as she was leaving, but it obviously could have been worse.
On her way home she called me and was upset with herself that she allowed my dad to see the baby after he had been drinking. We both agreed that my mom put her in an awkward spot, which made me recollect a lot of times my mother did that throughout our childhood. Strangely, I have never really held a lot of resentment towards my mom and she, my sister and I are very close. I think I always thought of my mother as a victim, too. However, there are memories I have where she should have protected us more. My sister has made the point that my mother “sacrificed” us- making us bring my dad dinner so she didn’t have to or forcing us to confront him about his drinking.
I hate thinking about my baby niece in that situation. I don’t want her life being influenced in any way by alcoholism or addiction. I also know that I can’t control that 100% or prevent other bad things from happening in her life. I am just incredibly grateful that I am able to be a part of her life (and am able to spoil her!) and I will always do whatever I can to make sure her childhood is as happy as possible.