Blood Is Thicker Than Water
Family is, for some, the most important thing in the world. Family is revered in some cultures to come before anything else. And in some families, you are protected, provided for, and taken care of by your relatives, simply because you share DNA. Not every place is like this and not everyone appreciates how strong a familial bond can be. However, there are cultures holding familial bonds over everything else.
Even though a person could be born in a culture like this, they might not respect the family structure or bond. This can tear a family apart. It’s not that families are delicate, but they can be proud and it will be a point of contention for someone to act against the family.
Unfortunately, “Nolan”’s family was the victim of a case like this. One person decided to take advantage of the family bond and nearly destroyed the family values. However, never underestimate a mother’s pride or readiness to defend her partner and children. These entitled family members had no idea who they were trying to swindle, they thought they could get away with it all. Well, they should have thought about who was really holding up the family walls.
Nolan grew up in another country with a family whose ties were strong than the rope on an anchor. And they included extended family as well. And in this story, we have Nolan’s Dad, who we’ll call “Dad”, Dad’s entitled cousin “Marigold” or “Mari” for short, and her entitled son “Emmanuel” or “Em.”
Years ago Dad took in his cousin, Marigold’s, son. There was a whole scandal around him. Emmanuel had been a pineapple farm owner, it went back generations. But he had gotten himself into a nasty situation where he was being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Marigold was desperate and pleaded with Dad to take Em in.
This was in 2009, and Dad was in an okay financial situation. He had children of his own, but his cousin also had other children to worry about. However, one key thing to note. All of Mari’s children were older than 20. Emmanuel was 30 himself. Dad had younger children. However, family is family and he took Em in.
For clarification, there was no evidence found to say Em was guilty of the crime in any way. Marigold was nervous the other family would want justice and take it out on her son. And so she needed him to be out of their village and into the city where Dad lived.
And there they were, Em became part of the immediate family. He was in his early 30s and got a job at a restaurant right away. It was like this for a couple of years before Dad found him a job “at an insurance firm.” While living with Dad and his family, Em had his own room and bathroom and never had to pay for any of it. He never paid for groceries or anything else. “Dad took care of him and his needs as though he was his own child.”
Nolan’s mom had mixed feelings about Em moving in. She didn’t like the situation, but she understood the urgency when it happened. However, “Mom’s” opinion was going to matter a whole lot more when Em and Mari tried to take advantage of Mom and Dad’s graciousness.
Several years into this living situation, Dad retired. The money he received from the government as his gratuity, “he assisted most of [the] extended family financially.” He was kind and generous, making sure his family was provided for as much as he could help. He even gave Em a check for about 6k even after all he was already doing for him. Em was very grateful for the money. He was in awe, as he had never been given so much money at once before. Dad was staying true to his word to Marigold about providing for and protecting her son, and now he was going above and beyond.
It wasn’t until 2016 when things took a turn for the worse. Dad began to have financial troubles. It was so bad they barely had food on the table. Em decided to help a bit when he got his paychecks. He would “buy food items and groceries and also lend Dad some money.” However, there was always a catch. He would say these were loans and Dad always repaid what Em spent when he came into a bit of money. Things were tight for some time. It was scary. Nolan believes without Em’s help, albeit not for free, the family would have starved.
Dad also repaid Em because he believed it was his duty to provide for the family. So even if Em had not asked for the money back, Dad would have paid him due to his core values.
It was like this for two whole years, when finally in 2018 “there was a resurgence in the real estate market.” Finally, Dad was “able to sell both properties each for around low six figures.”
The family was saved. However, now more money was involved, Em had concocted a plan.
It Wasn’t Enough
The two years of financial ruin had been really hard on the family. They had even sold their cars to pay for food. And now they were finally able to get back on their feet as a family. They bought a car first thing. And then Dad wanted to repay Emmanuel’s kindness, so he wrote another check from about 6k. This was no small amount of money to Dad and his family.
However, this is where the entitled bit came into play. This was when Emmanuel decided $6k wasn’t enough gratitude.
Em “knew how much both properties sold for, so shortly after my dad bought the car, Emannuel came to him with an itemized list. He informed my dad that he had decided to go back to the agricultural sector.”
Em said it was time to “start another pineapple farm but not just pineapples but he also wanted to grow oranges as well.” He had “inherited some plots of land in the village after his father died. He planned on using that land for the business.” He had also decided 6k was not enough to pay for his new business venture.
At this point, it had almost been a decade of Dad protecting and providing for Emmanuel. And keep in mind Em is a grown man, nearing 40 years old at this point. He had decided Dad would need to extend his graciousness as Em would continue living in the city and working while his mother Marigold managed the pineapple and orange groves. Mari already knew about the plans and was on board completely. She was ecstatic!
Em gave the list to Dad and it totaled $29.4k. Dad was in disbelief.
He couldn’t afford this. Selling the houses had gotten him out of his debt and was paying for his children’s private education. There was no way he could pay $30,000 to Emmanuel. And for what? Em planned to still live at the house and not pay rent or for groceries.
Dad asked Em “if he realized just how much he was asking for.” Dad said he could try to save a portion of the money but it would never come close to $30k. He still had to provide for his family. He had set aside money for his children to go to college. He was investing in their future. But Emmanuel didn’t care. He wanted the money. Emmanuel even tried to ask Dad for a loan of the money. But Dad was smart enough to say no. Who knew if Em would be able to make the money back anytime soon?
Dad offered 10%, with no repayment necessary, but Em was getting frustrated. He wanted the whole amount, not 10%.
Nolan still remembered clear as day what Emmanuel said as he stormed out of their house.
“So you say you won’t give me this money? Ok, no problem,” Em shouted.
It seemed like a threat. And it was.
It had been a Tuesday when the conflict happened, and on Saturday Marigold “came to [the] house unannounced from the village.” Emmanuel and Marigold had come by complete surprise. It almost felt like an ambush.
And this day was the turnaround for their family. No longer would kindness and generosity and protection be extended to those who took advantage of Dad’s graciousness. Marigold took things too far on this day. “The things she said that day; she unleashed every ounce of resentment she had for [Dad].” But how she could have any resentment made no sense. He had taken in her son when he was in danger. She should be at his feet thanking him. Instead, she came with her teeth bared.
“She went on a tirade.” She let out so much frustration it shocked the family. Here is a summary of what Marigold said:
“How can you treat Emmanuel this way? Is this fair? You sold the properties for 100s of thousands of dollars, so what is $29k? Have you forgotten how Em supported you when you were struggling? You have forgotten how he spent his salary on you and your children every month and now you cannot even help him with this small thing even though you have the money?”
She said all of this and more in front of Nolan’s family, his Dad, Mom, and younger siblings. Mom decided it was time for the children to go to the rooms. This was no place for them. Families shouldn’t be treated this way, so they should not witness this.
And then Mari said the final thing to set the conversation ablaze and triggered Mom.
She said, “Have you also forgotten about the numerous times when I used to bathe and clean your mother?”
This was the last straw. It was a touchy subject for the family anyway, but in this context, it was way too far.
Nolan’s grandmother and Dad’s mom had started losing her memory in her later years and needed a lot of help. Marigold took care of Grandma mostly because they both lived in the village and it was difficult for Dad to get out there. He did go see her every chance he got, which was no less than once a month until she passed. The whole time Grandma was in Mari’s care, Dad made sure they were provided for and gave money as well as food to them.
While Marigold yelled and went off on Dad, he stayed silent. He was unfamiliar with conflict and he hated the way things were going. He was also visibly upset at the mention of his mother. Dad was unwilling to take things any further.
However, Mom was not going to let Marigold speak to him in this way. She was the opposite of Dad and mom mode had been activated. And she began tearing down Mari and Emmanuel’s threats. Here is the summary of Mom’s rebuttal:
“Do you think your son would be alive today had my husband not agreed to let him move in with us?
Weren’t they after his head after the allegations made against him?
How many people have given you $6k not once but twice free of charge? How many people would open their homes to someone who is suspected of murder? But my husband did it because he loves and values his family above almost anything. Yes, Emmanuel helped us out when things were really bad and I’m thankful but he was always repaid in full. Do you not care about him training his own children? If he gives you the money, do you not see how that would disrupt the plans he’s made for his own kids? How can you both be this selfish?
How dare you come into our home and raise your voice at the man who has protected, fed, and housed your son for a decade? How dare you bring his late mother into this? When you took care of her, did you receive nothing in return? He never provided for you financially or look after you while housing and taking care of your son as well?”
Marigold and Emmanuel were silent. And this wasn’t even the full extent of what was said. And then Mom asked Mari to leave.
Emmanuel was selfish and continued to show how guiltless he was because he continued to live with the family for months before leaving.
Remember Emmanuel was a grown man. He did all this at almost 40 years old. And to his own flesh and blood family.
To this day Dad won’t let extended family visit the house. And he will not speak of the events that transpired between the sides of the family. It is too painful for him. And I can imagine the whole family felt how awful the whole thing was.
One thing is for sure; don’t betray your family, especially those who have offered you nothing but kindness. Isn’t there a saying like don’t bite the hand that feeds you? Some families aren’t as close as this one. And some families are broken so it is not ideal to be there for them. There are all sorts of families. But the lesson I took from Nolan’s story was we should also be grateful to those who help us and get us out of tough spots. We should always say thank you and be there for them in exchange if we can. I think reciprocity should depend on the availability or ability of the participants. I know I would never treat a cousin the way Emmanuel did. Not even the ones I don’t like.