Saturday, October 01, 2011

It Is Not A Game

family: a six letter word maze.  

A couple of Sundays ago both brothers bounced into my day-to-day. You need a little background to know how incredibly odd a happenstance that is: we were never close (emotionally) my brothers and me. Older brother our home state when he was twenty-five. For over a decade there was no communication from or news of him or his whereabouts.

During that period younger brother occupied his time with a variety of nefarious activities, most of which got him arrested and incarcerated. He also found the time to father more children (he'd fathered one in his teens, before older brother split) get married, ordained, and more.  

In the late nineties older brother resurfaced and even returned to IL for a brief stint, until younger brother managed to get himself arrested yet again. Since older brother's return to TX (where he'd been living most of the time he'd been gone) in the year 2000 he and I have exchanged 2 birthday cards, a couple of text messages, and three phone calls, for most recent, that Sunday.

Younger brother's release from prison earlier this year AND news of our father's illness PLUS our mother's constant urging for her children to become, if not friends, at least cordial has set this, "let's be a family" train in motion. I'm convinced that my older brother calling me that Sunday and younger brother dropping by (after calling to say he, two of his children, and his girlfriend were in the area) for a visit on the same Sunday was not a coincidence.

You see, I'm seen as the pariah. I'm the one who didn't do drugs, didn't rob, steal, run away, prostitute myself or others, do time in state prisons or local jails, disappear for over a decade driving our mother insane with worry, or treat her with disdain at best and something less than human, at worst.  

I'm the one with the issues. I am the one who must be convinced that WE ARE FAMILY and need to start acting like it.

I am the one.

Older brother's first conversation with me that Sunday ended with him yelling at me, "that's why I didn't want to talk to you, IT IS ALWAYS ABOUT YOU!!!!" This, after I agreed, we should be cordial, we should try to build some kind of relationship, we should do this, for our mom, who has wished to see us relate for it would, "make an old woman happy."  But I also added that I've been here with our mother the entire time he was gone. I've been here to hear her complaints, soothe her fears, carry her groceries, help with her meds. I've been here with her wishing our family was different, better.   

He screamed about it being about me and hung up. However, not before I was able to interject that I'm the last person IT has EVER been about.

Older brother called back apologizing while patting himself on the back ("years ago I wouldn't have") and revealing that he still has some anger issues to work through. I don't know what I ever did to make him angry and he admitted, that he didn't either.  The second call ended with us agreeing to let go of old resentments, hurts, and whatever else we might THINK of we know one another (info gleaned from our mother as she is the conduit between us or our collective imaginations) as we've been separated for most of our adult lives. He reminded me that I used to call him, "Day" unable to get my toddler mouth around his actual name, "Wayne" and that no matter what, I'm still his baby sister.

Younger brother, on that Sunday, called at 11 to say he'd be in the area visiting Mom and would it be okay if he, the kids (16 y.o. daughter and 14 y.o. son) dropped by around 3 sweetening the deal by tossing in, "the kids really want to see you."  It was well after 5 before they (with girlfriend I hadn't met before) arrived. Oh, his wife divorced him during his most recent incarceration, the second since they married 17 years ago. 

They arrived, we all sat and chit-chatted, all friendly family like. Note: my brother has been in my condo since shortly before his arrest nearly 6 years ago. My condo was broken into some years ago and my daughter remains convinced that he was the culprit. He's stolen from me before, so that thought isn't a huge stretch.

After about 30 minutes younger brother announced it was time to go. We were saying our farewells when he began taking pictures of the photos affixed to my wall, and on his way out the door said, "there is something I would like to talk with you about."

The something is either money, a visit to our father, or both. I have yet to discover as he has yet call.

Still, as I've mentioned to both brothers on at least two occasions, I'm willing (and able) to let go, I will release any old resentments, I'm willing for the sake of all our children and our mother to try to mend fences and become this family we each seem to have pictured in the back of our minds, perhaps even in the deep recesses of our hearts.

I am the one. I always have been. 

I just hope I'm not the only one. Still.



  1. Stopping by from SIX WORD SATURDAY!!

    Stop by my blog if you are hungry….I have a post about Saturday food today. :)


  2. families are so complex; so many dynamics that are hard to sometimes understand and live with. I think you are trying to do the best you can; families are so important to try to maintain good relationships with, especially as parents pass, but sometimes that is not possible. Best thing you can do is do what feels right for you and for your parents at this stage and then step back and know you did the best you can with what you had to work with.

    just visiting from 6WS


  3. Families are an interesting concept. On one hand they can drive us crazy and yet in some way we love them as well.

    I hope you are not the 'only' one as well

  4. Be strong, be kind, be patient and you'll feel the love only a family can give!

  5. Blood is not thicker than water. As someone with my own family
    "misfits" I would have to say that you are the one that is being asked to take the biggest step here...but if it's not working...step away. You are responsible for your own happiness, not your mother's or your brothers. Being a family means nothing if it is making you miserable...sometimes "blood family" is not the best for can surround yourself with non relatives that can be more like a real family than your biological one.

  6. Since you have been the "only" so far... I'm betting that won't change. Seriously, you've done the heavy lifting up to this point, why would your brothers step in and help now? I probably sound jaded but families are often just like that.

    And why are you the one with "issues"? The issue of being responsible? The issue of taking care of your mom all these years? ARgh!

    Do what feels right to you, D. That's the most important thing.


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