Parenting Fails

How Not To Find Out Your Mom Had a Stroke

My daughter, LV,  burst into my bedroom today and told me that she’s just found out that her mom had a stroke.  Her mother was in Massachusetts to visit her family there and she was due to fly back today.   Her mom has been in very poor health over the past year or two, suffering several small strokes and other complications of diabetes.   My daughter was worried, naturally, but she was also angry and upset.  It wasn’t so much knowing that her mom had suffered a stroke, but how she learned about it.  She found about it on Facebook.

She had been trying to get in touch with her mom for awhile this morning to find out what time she would be arriving back in town tonight.  She got no answer to her texts or calls.  She tried her grandmother and two uncles, no response.   Then she read a post from her uncle on Facebook saying that her mom had had a stroke and asking everyone to pray for her.  That was it.  A public post asking everyone to pray for her.

She tried texting and calling everyone again.  Still no one replied.  She tried her stepfather, also no reply.  Finally she got through to one of her mom’s good friends who told LV that her stepfather had texted her to tell her about the stroke.  Now she was hysterical, and angry.  Hysterical because the post on FB had ominous overtones, and angry because her step-father hadn’t bothered to let her or AJ, her brother, know.  This wasn’t the first time he’d done that either.

I finally managed to get through to one of her uncles who told us that her mom had a very minor stroke and was up and walking and talking, but needed a few more tests before she could leave the hospital.   He promised that he would call her and AJ once he knew about the test results.

When LV finally managed to speak to her stepfather she told him that if he ever failed to let her know immediately about a health issue with her mom that she would never speak to him again.

Her family assumed he had let my kids know what was happening so it didn’t occur to them to call any of us.   Now that they know that, they are keeping in constant touch with the kids.

I have been lucky that, despite the burning hatred that existed between me and my ex for so long, that we have both always put those issues aside where the kids are concerned.  I’ve also been lucky that I have never really had to deal with the stepdad.   In the past, their mom handled things, but with her health problems, she hasn’t always been able to.  This time, with her all the way across the country, we had to rely on the stepdad to inform us.

This brings up an interesting issue that I have never had to deal with:  how do you deal with the stepparent of your child when they are basically being jerks?  I don’t have an answer for that, never having dealt with it, but I would be really interested to know how others out there deal with these situations.  Please feel free to share your personal stories in the comments if you like.

Featured image by MilitaryHealth


Jay is a dad, husband, and pet lover. He has a degree in Theater Arts and works as a Unix systems administrator, mainly because he has a degree in Theater Arts. He used to be a single dad, but now he is married to the perfect woman. He has two teenagers, a daughter, and a step-son. He also has an adult son. He shares his home with his wife, kids, an Australian Shepherd, and a bevy of adorable chihuahuas. He is a skeptic and humanist and tries to contribute to spreading rationality by writing about skeptical topics. You can find samples of his writing on his personal blog at Freethinking For Dummies, the JREF blog, and in Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

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