A cartoon child dancing on top of a wolf

what does it really cost to raise a child?

I was sitting in the office of my body worker in Uvita studying an article in Spanish entitled “pensamientos para el año nuevo” or thoughts for the new year

the article was basically about how important the nuclear family is to our development and how we should listen to our elders no matter how annoying we think they are. someone from my background might find this viewpoint a bit naive, however you can actually see the folks that are born here behaving in this way, loving their parents and children and being nice to old people, etc. Almost all of the People I have met here are courteous, kind, dignified and rarely seem judgemental.

it is pretty impossible to explain my own “upbringing” ie surviving childhood to normal people so I tend to fly under the radar when people are talking about their family background/growing up experiences. If pressed I say I was raised by wolves.

With my own children I also had many struggles and difficulties. The hardest to live with is what happened with my oldest son.

My son moved out and stopped talking to me when he was almost 40. He had moved in with me and my wife after having some reversals, for example the rent control apartment building he was living in caught fire and he wanted to go back and try to finish college. So he moved in with me (at that time we had an in-law where my kids have occasionally stayed when they needed help) and stayed for 3 years. He paid no rent and didn’t help around the house even though both of us are not getting any younger and my wife is actually 10 years older than me. He was also constantly having a problem with my wife and in turn causing me problems and annoyances I didn’t need in my life, but we all sort of rubbed along together with no major problems other than a few nasty blowups.

during this time he started working at at Whole Foods and met a woman with lots of piercings and tattoos shaved head etc, in other words a typical whole foods employee in CA. Within about 2 months they decided to have a baby together. The woman and I , well it was sort of not love at first sight, but I had no real problems with her. She was a tough broad and so am I so whatever. I knew my son really wanted a baby and he was pushing 40 so I was like, go on then, good for you both.

They rapidly got pregnant and my son moved into her house. Then things started to get really weird. They would come over for dinner or whatever and sit around looking like the Spanish Inquisition. It was like judgement and negativity and some downright nastiness. They the woman asked me to buy them a car and I couldn’t afford it so they used that to be more pissed at me. They I bought them a bunch of baby stuff and they practically spat on it. For example I got them one of those chairs that rocks a newborn and my son was like Mom! what the hell do we need this shit for?

in the meantime my son also was cutting off his nieces who he had hung out with their entire lives, and he caused one of them a major trauma by disappearing from her life that took her months to get over, if she really did. He also fought with my youngest son and cut him off.

Next thing I know he ghosted me from his Facebook.

That was 3 years ago. the baby was born and I have never laid eyes on her, also I am not allowed to see pictures of her. My son told that they are raising her “differently” and that I am to stay away from his family. My middle son just tries to pretend none of this is happening and my youngest says he is relieved not to talk to his brother anymore because of all the problems they have had over the years.

my nuclear family has cost me so much. my pensamientos para el año nuevo might be: love yourself as much as you can, love your family as much as they will let you, don’t give up.

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