I started writing the below post 33 days ago, but couldn’t finish it because I wasn’t happy with it. Now, I’m pushing it out anyway. Between the “~” is the original post. Below that’s my commentary since the birthday has come and went and I’ve asked the opinion of my sister and my Father.
With a 15 year age difference, living apart for most of our lives, and different mothers*, my brother and I have quite a bit of a gap between us, without accounting for any ability to get along or not. And the last four years, I’ve not gotten along the best with my brother.
My opinion of him has oscillated between outright hating his guts (briefly) and being glad I have an older brother, even if just one. At this point though, I feel that my sister’s (then fiancee and now) husband’s been more of a brother to me than my own brother has.
The long story short, is that most of the time, my brother and I just don’t get along well. It’s been hard to bridge the gap. For the last four years, I’ve been focused on his side of the story. He did this. He did that. He married this women, of whom I’m no fan. At moments when I was angry, I was ready to cut him out of my life.
But I still call him every now and then. To keep in touch. I called him today and when he asked if I could make his birthday, I told him I couldn’t because of work. Then he told me that no one was showing up for it. Not his best friend, not my sister, not her husband, not me. His 40th birthday. I’m not even sure if his wife will make it ( they don’t live together yet, because of work circumstances).
The 40th birthday is a big deal.
I was talking to my sister about it, who is about to be in the same situation with her 30th birthday. I made an (in hindsight) insensitive remark about how no one was there for my 24th birthday, but she patiently pointed I was missing the point and explained that while my brother has been difficult, he has shown up. Whereas not many family members have shown up for his events. She asked me if I was going to show up to his graduation (he’s about to get his masters) and I had no idea when it was; never gave
Now I’m wondering if I’ve been the bad brother all along.
My father’s been trying to impress upon for me for the past couple of years, in between listening to me complain about my brother, that family is forever. Family will show up, when it’s important, even if they’re mad at you from last Saturday. Family will still pick up the phone when you call, even after it’s been months, if not years, since you last spoke. Family, generally will have your best interests at heart, if at least, make sure they don’t step on your toes. Family is the original safe space™. It’s why my Father still keeps in touch with his sister, despite her giving him plenty of reasons not to.
After talking to my sister and my Father, I’ve decided that I haven’t really been a good brother myself. I’ve been so caught up in how my own brother’s been wronging me, that I’ve not been receptive when he’s done me right. I’ve not made any real effort to build any inroads myself. I’ve made to no real effort to bridge the large gape that exists between us.
Neither of us has been a terrible brother.
I still call him about once a month, and I’m happy with that for now.
But once he gets his housing in order, I plan to visit him once a year. Perhaps in Spring.
I wish him and his all the best.