I have come to appreciate my relationships and friendships much more with age and maturity. There are reasons and seasons for all relationships and I’m working hard to maintain the ones that matter, and build bridges to get over the ones that don’t. I’m learning to be grateful for them ALL because each relationship helps me learn about myself and ultimately how to be a better person. For the most part, knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em has come naturally and easily as I get older. Except when it comes to my relationships with my siblings…
As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, I am the youngest (by many years) of 5 children and my parents only child together. Moms has one of my siblings from a previous marriage, and Pops has the other three from a previous marriage. But the only consistent relationship I’ve had has been with my mom’s son, my big bro L Boogie. We are extremely close, even though we’re almost two-decades apart in age. To many people’s amusement and wonder, my brother L and I have a tight friendship and uncanny sibling rivalry that even causes Moms to pause with confusion (after all, we didn’t grow up together). If Dre and Sid from Brown Sugar were strictly platonic best friends, they would represent me and my brother because we relate to each other through hip hop culture. He’s the Ren to my Ten. We got that whole unity thing going. U-n-i-t- why? Because. Exactly. Thank you. [Side note: we literally communicate through Brown Sugar–and even other black comedy–quotes. No other words are necessary, we have our own language]. Simply put, he’s my brother, my friend, my homie, my ace.
And because I’m so close with L Boogie it really bothers me that I’m not close with my other siblings. (L Boogie isn’t either). My siblings witnessed their respective parents’ divorces and the later marriage of my parents to each other. I’m sure there was residual resentment and uneasiness about transitions as a result. The effects just seem to have had a much longer lasting effect on my dad’s kids. They’ve been distant from my family (namely my parents) for as long as I can remember. They’re fairly close with each other, but still disconnected. And though I have fond memories of them showering me with their love and affection when I was young, they’ve become increasingly more distant with me, their baby sister, over the years.
I’m the one who tries to keep in touch, sometimes to the point of pestering. From them, calls, texts, cards, or emails are very rare. My big sister only lives about 4hrs away from where I live now, but I’ve seen her once in the 5yrs I’ve lived here. And I’m in her area at least 5 times a year. She’s on Facebook now, so maybe communication will improve. Recently, when I went to OKC to pick up my niece and nephew to go to Orlando, I was thrilled at the prospect of seeing my big brother M (who is closest to me in age), who I haven’t seen since I was in high school. He is the one sibling who was living at home when I was growing up, and he was my hero and I was never far from his side. But even though he knew I would be in town for a brief time, he was no where to be found. It broke my heart that he didn’t come to see me, his baby sister! But what can I expect from a man who is in and out of trouble and doesn’t even consistently see his own children? *smh* I still expected something. As for my big brother Junior? He’s a recluse and it’s only when I take the initiative to drive by his house unexpectedly (since he refuses to answer his phone) when I’m home in Cali that I ever have a chance of seeing him. But I gave up on the drive-bys a few years ago.
I’m tired of chasing my siblings down as if they’re being forced to interact with me. More than anything in this world I think I’ve prayed the most for my other siblings to build and cherish a relationship with me. But sadly, it seems this feeling is unrequited. This used to make me feel sad and lonely, but it’s grown to actually make me mad and slightly bitter. Admittedly, I resent them because I feel ignored and abandoned by them. Even if we aren’t all close, we could at least in communication. While I understand there are probably many issues and demons and unsettled feelings that keep them from reaching out to me, I feel like our blood relation and my sheer desire to want to be in relationship with them should trump it all. Maybe I’m just a big baby and wanting everything to go my way, as the baby of the family often does. *shrugs*
So today, I choose to openly forgive my siblings who I am out of relationship with. I forgive them for not being the siblings to me that I want(ed) them to be, and for not being more to me like L Boogie is to me. I forgive them for playing the longest game of perpetual hide-and-seek and choosing not to ever really be found. I forgive them for putting their hurts and sorrows about our family before the good and happy aspects of our family. And lastly, I forgive myself for having my own selfish expectations of them, holding them to a standard they never asked to be at, and for trying to change them, for that is out of my control. I sincerely pray that they too are able to forgive (whoever, for whatever) and learn to deal with the pain that keeps them at such a far distance. I have and always will love each of them, no matter what.
Wishing Nobody Put Me In A Corner,