Posts Tagged ‘forgive’

My Other Brother

April 11, 2010

I come from an extended family. With all the divorces, remarriages, and second—and third—families, who doesn’t? I have aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and even siblings that I have never met. I also have some I only wish I had never met.

I was thrilled to discover two of my long-lost siblings on a social networking site this year. They are brothers, but not to each other. I gained one when I was adopted, and the other I lost in the same transaction. The first I haven’t seen since 1980, the latter since 1974. I always wanted a brother, but I didn’t get to live with either of them. Maybe it’s because of my lack of brotherly torture—uh, I mean attention—that I can sometimes be overly sensitive.

I was raised up (that’s Southern,) in an all-female family. Look up “catfight” in the dictionary, and we will be there. All but one, due to either death or estrangement, has been absent from my life for decades. I know everyone is human, and we all make mistakes, and the best thing to do is forgive. But one of my sisters is unforgivable, and the other is Bat Shit Crazy. I don’t want to see them. I’m just colorful that way.

I swing back and forth between trying to be a loving, giving person, and a bitch who is tired of being everyone’s doormat. The one sister I am close to is teetering dangerously on the precipice of activating The Bitch In Me. She cannot seem to toe the line between “close family” and interfering in my marriage. She has never been married. I want to be able to confide in my only remaining sister, my only family, and have her understand what the brother-in-law she adores is putting me through. She believes my desire is the same as asking her to choose sides. She also thinks my need to talk to someone is an invitation to tell me what I should have done, and should do next. Then she calls my Insignificant Other and advises him on how best to thwart me unless I do what she wants.

My dear sister is not Snow White. She has taken a multitude of serious missteps in her life. I won’t humiliate her by enumerating them here, but I will say the list is quite lengthy, and she knows what’s on it, so she needs to climb off that ivory tower.  She can fool some people, but she is never going to fool me. She’s practically my own child. I changed her poopie diapers and wiped her little butt, gave her baths, and got up with her in the middle of the night when she cried, because she slept in my room. I provided many of the firsts in her life, from a bicycle to a bra she didn’t need until she was 30, and always kept a bedroom for her no matter where I lived, though I could scarcely afford to. She knew she always had a soft place to land if she fell, which she did often. But there are stretches of years when she does not speak to me. This is the closest to real affection that I have with anyone in my family.

So in case I didn’t express it as enthusiastically as I feel, I am over the moon with getting to know my brothers. It has been an eye opener with The One Left Behind. He writes stuff on our social site that sounds just like our father, as I remember him. And he is very much like me, except Yankee.

The other brother, The One Gained, is a professional with a very demanding job and tight schedule. Right after I discovered him on the social site, he deleted his account, but he does stay in touch with Not Snow White. He sent me one email. I wish so much to have a long, enlightening conversation with him and to be friends, so a week or so later, I replied. I guess he got busy after that.

Not Snow White has also been in one of her very busy, can’t talk now! moods for weeks, which coincidentally was the last time I failed to follow her marital and financial advice. Every once in a while she forwards some spam. Imagine my surprise when she sent me an email two days ago to tell me that The One Gained has cleared his busy schedule and is anxious to visit me. He just can’t wait.  He is so excited in fact, that the two of them really need to know right away if it is okay if they come the last weekend of the month, the weekend of the three-day music festival taking place in my city.

I said no. I’m colorful that way.