Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A unique offer

So last night I log into Facebook and am checking all my updates and I had a notification that I had several comments on where I put the link for my baby pool.  A lot of the comments were "oh, I didn't know you were pregnant" comments, because I never came out and made a "We're pregnant" update, I just subtly changed my profile picture to Austin wearing the "#1 big brother" shirt that I posted here when I announced my pregnancy.  I thought it would be fun to see who really looks at my FB stuff without putting one of those copy and paste "who reads my profile" updates.

One of the comments came from a cousin of mine on my Mom's side of the family.  I am not really close to my Mom's side of the family.  It's a long story, but if you are up for the read here it goes.  (You can skip down to "The Offer" section if you don't want all the family drama)

Family History
My Mom's Dad was married to a woman and they had three boys.  It was a happy and wonderful marriage from what I heard, and she was perfect.  Then she died from tuberculosis when the boys were fairly young.  My Grandfather vowed he wasn't going to marry again for 10 years out of respect for her. 

Then he married my Grandmother.  She was the oldest of a bunch of siblings, I think 11, so she mostly stayed home and helped raise the younger ones.  She was in her 30's when they did marry, and to some degree it was sort of an arranged marriage as she was Catholic and her family wanted her to marry a Catholic.  They had my Mom and a few years later got pregnant again.  They did not know though that they had mismatched Rh factor and my Mom's brother was still born, or at least only lived a few hours.  On top of having lost a baby and trying to make the step-parenting thing work, their relationship was rocky as my Grandmother wasn't the cook or housekeeper that the first wife was.

Her half brothers were almost adults when she came along and were off to their own lives.  The eldest brother was killed during World War II, and the other two also fought in the war, but returned home to marry and have their own lives.  When my Mom was about 16 her Mother became ill with breast cancer and was given a year to live.  She ended up living three years after that, but in the mean time my Grandfather passed suddenly from a heart attack.  My Mom lost both of her parents by age 19.  She also was married at this point, and of course her brothers didn't really approve of my Dad, so they always had a rocky relationship, but did remain in contact.   I can remember visiting my Uncle Paul pretty much everytime we would visit Iowa.  I remember going to Uncle Ralph's a few times, but it was more of a challenge since he lived in Illinois. 

Uncle Paul and his wife had two sons.  One married a woman who had a child previously and they just raised her and never had their own biological children.  The other son married and they had a baby girl, but she had some genetic disease that caused her to lose all control of her muscles and she passed before age two.  They were told they had a 75% chance of any more children having the same disorder, so they split up and it really messed up my cousins mental health.  So no grandchildren in that branch.  Both Uncle Paul and Aunt Doris have passed away now.

Uncle Ralph and his wife Cecelia (Aunt Ceese) had five kids.  By the time I was old enough to remember things, they were all grown and out of the house, so even though we visited Aunt Ceese and Uncle Ralph I did not really get to know their kids very well.  One of their daughters lives in Illinois and I remember seeing her a few times growing up.  She has two kids who are a few years older than me.  As an older teenager my one brother moved to Phoenix and two of their other kids lived there at the time so we connected with them on a few visits and I got to know them a little bit.  I met the final two siblings who live in Florida when we went to my Aunt and Uncles 50th anniversary celebration.  I like them all and we got along well, I just don't really know them well. 

The Offer
So the two kids of Uncle Ralph's that lived in Phoenix never had children.  The two in Florida have kids who are teenager-ish.  The the cousin who made the offer has one daughter who has a couple of kids, but is apparently done, and a son who is married, but appears to be in no rush, or not planning on having children.  So since Margaret saw that I was expecting and there aren't any immediate babies expected in their branch, and they are in the process of moving Aunt Ceese to an assisted living home and consolidating her stuff, she offered that they have an old wooden rocking horse that was my Grandfathers, and that I could use it for the time being.  She also said that she would assume that my Mom probably played on it as a child and all the rest of the family. 

I am not entirely sure why, but the offer was just shocking to me.  I don't have anything from that side of the family.  When my Grandparents passed my Mom was a teenager so she got very little of their belongings, the brothers kept most of the sentimental family heirlooms.  I guess I just feel so disconnected from them that it just seems odd to be reconnected to that aspect of my ancestry.  On one hand it might be interesting, but on the other I don't know to what level I want to take on that responsibility.  You know, if I took it and it got broken or something.  

I definitely want to talk it over with my Mom and see what she thinks, at this point I'm leaning towards turning down the offer, but I just don't know, a little piece of me feels like I should try to connect and let my kids have that little piece of their ancestry.  Also to consider is that we already have a really cool wooden rocking horse that was a baby shower gift, plus this thing is in Illinois, so we would have to ship it, so who knows how much that would cost. 


  1. Tough call. Not sure what I would do if I were in your position. I also have a very complicated family situation (on my Mom's side as well). It's always nice to know you're not alone...

    Follow your instincts. It's usually never wrong when it comes to these kinds of decisions. Good luck!

  2. Maybe it's her "olive branch" for y'all to have more of a connection. Even if the kids never actually play with it, (you could always store it in a rubbermaid tub or something) it could really make for some great photos. Who knows? Maybe it could be decided that it could be passed down to your kids? That would be cool.


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