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Friday, November 29, 2013

Because It's The Holidays...

Dear Brother In Law,

I saw on Facebook tonight that you had dinner with your stepsister, so I guess that means you're in town. I'll be honest, when I saw her tag you I had two concurrent sensations -- my stomach clenched because that means you've unblocked me and my heart skipped a beat in sorrow because soon, your brother will see that and he will hurt.

I hate when he hurts.

He misses you. More than you realize, I'm sure. And to be honest, I really thought maybe you'd talk to him by now, be curious about his side of the story instead of just blindly following your mother's lead and believing everything she says to be the ultimate truth. I had hoped that with time and maturity that perhaps you'd want to ask him about what happened, why he made the choices he did, and talk about the rift in your family that all of this caused, about how that affected you and even, if nothing else, just get that off your chest so you could walk through this world a little lighter.

But I'd really hoped that by now, you'd realize that there was so much more that happened that you don't know about, and that would give you a better perspective on the man your brother has become.

Maybe you're pulling a familiar pattern from your family -- the retaliatory passive-aggressiveness of not talking to someone until they do as you think they should. While I suppose that could be seen as admirable as it comes to family -- sort of a bonding together thing -- it's not particularly fair to the only other person in the world that shares the same genetic make up as you. And yeah, I know, the world's not fair.

That doesn't mean you have cave to the pettiness.

I'm also aware that this probably has to do with me, and who you think I am based not really on actually knowing me, but on what other people have told you I am. That's fine. I liked you and was happy to gain another little brother when I married into your family but we never knew each other well and I can see how you might just believe everything you hear instead of trying to get to know me.

I don't hold you to be obliged to get to know me. I can live with that.

But I am upset that you're missing out on your brother's life. I'm upset that I have these two children who love their father ferociously and that while I am the definite black sheep in my own family, they are able to put whatever they think or feel about me aside to be a family to my children. I watch my kids with my own brother -- who is just as gone as you, who disagrees with me more than anyone else aside from maybe my own father -- and how they bond with him, love him, and how he glows when he sees them and that, that is what family is supposed to be about.

My heart aches for my children, that you are missing this with them.

I remember, you were the first person to come see Kiedis in the NICU, skipping a class at your Big 10 school 90 minutes away to come see him. How you talked about that you couldn't wait for him to want to play ball and to teach him golf and how to torment me, his mother, like you used to do to yours.

Well, almost five years later, he loves playing all kinds of ball related sports, and this summer he shocked us by making up his own game of golf without either of us ever showing him the sport. He even knew what to call it. Aside from that, he loves playing and being up super high and make-pretending scenes from his favorite movies. And my daughter, whom you've never met, whom holds the most resemblance to your side of the genetic code, she is giggly and smart and loves rough-housing and cuddles in equal measure. She also loves ball sports and drawing and puzzles and booping people on the nose. She is a delight, a charmer, and she steals the hearts of everyone she meets.

I think she'd steal yours, if you'd let her.

I'm sure by the time you read this you'll be back to wherever it is you're staying these days and you'll probably blow this off and have unsavory things to say about me, and that's fine. Again, I don't need you to like me, nor do I expect you to. My own family doesn't so I'm completely used to it.

But the difference is, they still love me, and the branch of both of our families that I, along with your brother, have created. They accept your brother as their own because despite mistakes -- and there were mistakes made on all sides, by all parties -- they took the time to make up their own minds about him and us and the situation that catapulted us into such tumultuous territory.

Also, it was enough that I still chose him and he chose me, for lack of a better phrase, haters be damned. We worked on our stuff like grown-ups and did what we needed to do to protect this thing that had become so incredibly damaged, because we wanted to fix it. We wanted to make it work. It's still a struggle some days and, like everything worth it, is hard work and we're not perfect people.

But I'm sure Kyle would tell you more about it, if you'd let him.

That said, please don't read this as angry or bitter or attacking -- it's not meant that way. It's very soft and matter-of-fact, minus some of the usual flowery-ness that I try to convey compassion and empathy with in words because me and the kids all have low grade fevers and I'm fighting the good fight against whatever this version of ick is we three have, so my energy to write my best is trumped by my energy to stay upright long enough to type this.

So, all of this to say, if you get to this before you leave town and feel your immune system is up to the challenge of preschool blech, you're always welcome here. I don't even have to be here, if that'd make it easier -- but you know, I'd hope that maybe I could just keep busy in the kitchen or something.

Because to be honest, if you were to show up at my front door in ten minutes, I would be happy. I would smile and give you a big hug and apologize for looking a mess and I'd offer you something to eat or drink. I'd tell you to make yourself at home and I'd get Kyle, and I'd watch his face as he saw yours and I would search both of you for the signs of happiness of being in each other's presences for the first time in so long. I would even get my kids out of bed to see you, because I would hope you'd want to see them.

And I would let you and your brother have some time to talk while I probably cried from relief in the bathroom, because finally, finally, he might get just a little bit of closure and acceptance he so desperately craves from you.

And I would be proud of you, of the man you've become.

And you would be welcome always.

Safe travels, and I sincerely wish you the best of holidays.

Your Sister-In-Law.

nablopomo 2013 via

nablopomo 2013 via