It’s sad when family relationships – even the rockiest – are stunted, cut short. My own life is much happier for having kept doors open, even when a better something seemed an impossible hope.
Been thinking about brothers a lot over the past 24 hours, about mine & how different our relationships have turned out than I would have guessed just a shade over ten years ago.
In 2007, I didn’t feel like I had any deep connection to any of my three brothers.
That changed first with the most improbable of the trio – with Ian, who died almost 60 years ago, when he was eleven & I was seven. Ten years ago this past spring. – when I was 55 – we bonded. Seriously! I’d always assumed that Ian was as different from me as the rest of my sibs, but thanks to a combination of discoveries & fresh aha moments I made that spring, for the first time it clicked that “B-Boy” & I had similar natures & mutual interests.
For years, a family joke has been that I married my brother, because my John seemed so much like Ian, but it took stumbling across those report cards & befriending a litter of feral kittens for the light to dawn that Ian & I were more alike than I’d ever imagined.
Ian was just four years older, while brother Mike (#2 🔆) was a long-stretch ten. Mike joined the Navy straight out of high school, a couple years after Ian’s death, then bopped off on world travels between stints working for our father at Lockhart Lumber & Millwork. I never really connected with my brother in his footloose & fancy-free days.
Alas, he married someone who – unbeknownst to me – experienced her younger s-i-l as beyond irksome. Took me 27 years to discover (the hard way) what Mom knew since the early ’70s – that I stirred such deep dislike, as soon as I entered the same room, Kerry wanted to walk out. OUCH!
When Kerry is not in the picture – when she returned home to Australia a week before Mike after an early ’90s Christmas visit & when he visited solo several years ago for his 50th high school reunion – we connect. Who knows where we will be ten years down the road? Like MOTEL 6 , John & I will leave the light on.
Which leads to Peter. Fourteen years older, it would be easy to assume we had the least contact over the years. If only! Peter has been a more or less constant presence throughout my life, weaving in & out of stays as his life circumstances ebbed & flowed, but always letting it be known innate superiority put him on a different plain from us lesser lights Peter talked big, but his life – to his baby sis – seemed… meager. We had our share of dust ups – he expected to treated like a guest instead of a member of the family & I expected him to pull a fair share – but they’re back in the past. Too little time left to waste any acting mingy.
While my relationship with Ian has improbably strengthened & deepened, am resigned to the possibility Mike & I might never connect as bro & sis. As for Peter… It doesn’t matter to me that he still strikes his “kiss the ring” attitudes – if he wants or even just needs my support, it will be my sisterly pleasure to do what I can.
At 65, having lost more immediate family than remain, I’ve come to a place where just being a sisterly presence is enough- in fact, it is way more than I’ve expected over the years. This mellower me is content with ALL that is, holding a sister’s love for near, far & in lofty realms beloved brothers.