Oh the thoughts that enter my head when the house is finally quiet and I can actually think. What...your kids allow you to have deep reflective thoughts? Ha! Don't judge the Mommy on autopilot.
Tonight's personal moment of reflection involves my little brother. We didn't exactly have the Brady Bunch family experience growing up. Point of fact, there were moments where we actively hated each other. Passionately. But underneath all the urges to maim and/or kill were genuine moments of affection and caring. Being 5 years apart in age and of different sexes left us little in common. We had one year of shared school bus time (I moved on to Junior High and he eventually moved to a private school.) But I do remember defending him against the various and sundry "dicks on the bus" who got their kicks harassing little kids. If anyone was going to pick on my baby brother, it was gonna be ME. Heck, we didn't even attend the same high schools and I was away at college by the time he got there anyway.
So, distant. You get the picture. We'd find ourselves fighting over really stupid things, but uniting in solidarity when our parents got a little over-zealous with the discipline.
Fast forward a bit. I moved out of state, moved even further, got married, and pretty much lost immediate touch with my brother. I had no idea what was going on in his life except generalities and gossip shared by our Mother. We just didn't talk. Not close, see.
Then my brother got married. Oh the stories my mother would tell about his girlfriend/wife. Yes, I was worried in the abstract but then soon to be SIL asked me to be a bride's maid (matron?) and I thought "Sweet! I can get to know her better and maybe become friends." Wouldn't it be nice if the kids we were trying so hard to conceive had a cool uncle and aunt to visit. Yeah. That all went to hell. New sis-in-law was a little unhinged. That is being kind.
Fast forward again. I find out little bro is getting a divorce. Sweet! *ahem* I was not fond of his wife in the slightest by that point. The feeling was mutual. We barely saw them but once or twice a year at forced family dis-functions and holidays. It wasn't pretty.
So all was hunky dory in my world. M was getting rid of baggage-full-o-crazy and moving on with his life. Good for him! Moving on to the next drama in my world...
Now we get to tonight's bit of quiet reflection. My mother mentions in passing "well, you know, the divorce hit him really hard..." What ever she was rambling on about at the time didn't really sink into my deep recesses, but that statement has been floating in my subconscious for quite some time. Did it?! Here I was, dusting my hands together and thinking "goodbye to soul-sucking..." uh. You know, like you do, and being all relieved and happy for my brother. But I never really spent time thinking about how he was really feeling about his marriage ending. Remember. We don't talk much.
I'm not a great sister, I've come to realize. I do care! I really do. But I tend to get wrapped up in my little daily drama and don't spend a lot of brain processing time thinking about things that might be intuitive for others who may have a closer family relationship with their siblings. I just assume he is ok, doesn't care, or is strong enough to deal. He usually is! I think. I don't really know.
And now it bothers me. I wasn't all that supportive while he was married and I certainly haven't been there for him during his separation and divorce. (Granted he kept the separation part very quiet...but...) *sigh* So I have decided to try and be a better sister. I decided that last bit months ago during another moment of quiet reflection, but this just continues the theme. I have embraced the new girlfriend with joyful warmth and open sincerity. (Honestly, that part is easy because she is a total peach.) I have paid more attention to my mother's gossip and tried to read between the "it's all about her" lines and be thoughtful and responsive. You know, as much as I think he'd feel comfortable with.
Maybe, given a whole lot of time and effort, I can win back his confidence in me as a sister and someone he can count on. He can, you know. Count on me. I've always been here for him. He has just never (ever) reached out to me for any kind of help or advice. I can respect that. I come off as kind-of-a flake at times. I really am very thoughtful, caring and empathetic. I just don't always register those moments when I should actively SHOW those traits and DO something sisterly or be a good friend. Flake. Remember? Give me a break, I've been through a lot in my life and I'm doing my best. If I miss out on another opportunity to be a good sister or friend, someone give me a poke, ok? Thanks!