Monday, March 21, 2011

What went wrong?

Yesterday, as I sat with Lane Michael and Ethan eating lunch, I watched them interact, watched Lane Michael walk "like an old man" and Ethan "shaken his booty" as they giggled together the way brothers do and I just couldn't help but wonder where my relationship with my brother went wrong? Today is our birthday, and as I sat at my computer reading all the "happy birthday" wishes on Facebook, I deliberately didn't send a message to Lou, I wanted to give him the chance to be the hero and was shocked when he did message me a wonderful message wishing me a happy birthday, he told me he loves me. This isn't our usual relationship. We don't normally speak and I have a lot of hard feelings regarding him. I've been burned a lot over the last couple of years started long before then. I don't know exactly when it started. I see pictures of us as kids and I know we were happy. I know I enjoyed hanging out with him. But somewhere along the lines I developed one hard feeling after another. I remember being jealous when my parents would feed him a constant stream of praise (see it even comes out in my writing this many years later), I think that's where it all stemmed from. Jealousy. And maybe my jealous feelings bled over into my actions or my words. But I feel as though he has chosen the relationship that we don't have. I'll be honest, I never put a lot of effort into a relationship with him. I invited him to my wedding, he didn't come...he says he didn't get the invitation. I sent him and Andrea cards, again they were "lost in the mail". They didn't attend Braden's funeral. None of these missed events is a big deal in and of itself. Add them altogether though, topped with my feelings of jealousy and inadequacy and you have a strained relationship. The point of my post, my ramblings, how do I avoid history repeating itself? How do I avoid treating them different while equal.
Ethan is a lot like me, while Lane Michael is very similar to Lou. They have different needs at different times. Each have their own talents and skills. Their own personalities, strengths and weaknesses. I can see now, Lou required very little parenting...Lane Michael needs very little from me...very little guidance, instruction, discipline. While Ethan does require guidance, instruction and discipline. I want to give Ethan the opportunity to be independent and not require all those things, I want him to know that I'm as proud of him as I am of Lane Michael. I don't want to treat them the same but without allowing either child to ever feel "less than". I want to have boys who want to spend weekends away together, I want them to still be best friends as adults, lean on each other, camp together, raise kids together. I want them to see in each other the wonderful person each of them are. I want Ethan to see Lane Michael for his strengths, for his wisdom, his goofy, playful self, and I want Lane Michael to see Ethan for all he has to offer, his willing heart, his compassion, his disorganized, funny, snarky personality. I don't mention Ryan in this because he's so young, I don't know yet where he fits in. I love them and want them to love each other, which I see is what breaks my Mom's heart! I see that we are breaking her heart every day, I just can't be the one to fix this. There have to be major changes before we can have any real relationship. My cousin would tell me to worry less, pray more. This is great advice.


Tammy said...

I don't really have any advice @ your brother. I have 4 siblings, and they all annoy me in one way or another in varying degrees; I keep in touch through FB. I'm the only one who communicates with all of them. Along the way, there have been conflicts among them and they've chosen to not have a relationship with the others. This is pretty common with our extended family, too.

It has taken me years, and some therapy, to decide that I will not follow their example. I'll have a relationship w/whomever in my family I want, and I'll be happy with whatever level of closeness I am comfortable.

I can't change them, and I won't let them change me.

Lyn said...

"I can't change them, and I won't let them change me"
Thank you! I love that! Now I just have to find the strength to stand strong!

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