Dear Mom & Dad,
I used to have a lot of sibling rivalry with my brother. You never understood why. Neither did I. Then I thought about it. I don't feel that way towards Bryan anymore. It never was his fault. Now I'm giving you 7 reasons why I resented him for so long. Maybe by the end you'll understand why I thought I was angry at him, and who I was really angry with deep down inside.
1. You never call to see how I am doing. You call to complain about my brother or to get me to do something for my brother. If I don't call you then you will go as long as 3 months without calling me. My son almost died a couple of weeks ago. As of today I have not had a call from you asking how he's doing.
2. When Bryan had kids you forgot my kids existed. Well, not really, but you did forget their birthdays and lost most interest in interacting with them. When Bessie was a baby and we went to Papaw's house, you (mom) only held her twice over the whole week. You kept running around taking picture after picture of my nephew and you're only real comment on Bessie was "she cries a lot".
3. During the ice storm we were without power and being self employed we were without a paycheck. I asked if you could loan me money to put the kids in a hotel until we go the money we were due in a week. You said no, you couldn't afford it. That same week you sent my brother money to pay his rent. He was living in Sunny Alabama with his girlfriend, having abandoned his wife and kids.
4. One Thanksgiving you canceled plans to visit us saying that you couldn't get enough time off of work. Instead you went to Bryan's house (still in Alabama). You didn't tell me. Matter of fact you didn't even call on Thanksgiving. When I tried to call you it just rang and rang. The thing is I knew where you were even before you told me. Knowing didn't ease the feelings of abandonment though. It hurt and it pissed me off.
5. Daddy, you have not seen my kids in nearly a decade. We've been too poor for a lot of that time to take off and visit you with all 4 kids in tow. We needed the paycheck. The last time you saw Bessie she was an infant and Susi was 10. Bessie is a 4th grader and Susi is a sophomore in college. Tommy was in Kindergarten and Teddy had short hair. Tommy is 6'2", Teddy's hair is nearly down to his waist and you could walk by them on the street and not know who they are. You're not a part of their lives and this makes me very sad. I loved my Papaw and he always took time for me. I wanted the same for my kids. Hell, I even named one of them after you. Don't say that the kids could call you and that it works two ways. They are (were) kids and it's the adult's responsibility to make them feel special.
6. Arkansas and Missouri are not that far apart. You always manage to visit AR and never make it here. When Susi and I planned to go to Georgia for Thanksgiving this year, you moved Thanksgiving to Arkansas. We're not going there. She wanted to see you without the drama that exists between you and Bryan. She wanted to see you without cousins in tow.
7. Whenever I tell you something about my brother you make excuses for him. He doesn't have custody of his kids, he lives alone....HE COULD GET A SECOND JOB. You don't have to send him $$. He can work. If he wants custody of his kids he CAN CALL THE LAWYER. He's a big boy and you can't fix all of his problems anymore.
There are 1000 more examples I could give you. 1000 more little pin pricks that are the symptom, but not the cause of the pain I feel about our relationship. If you haven't figured out how I feel from this post then you never will, no matter how many examples I give you. Basically I felt less important than my brother as a kid and that hasn't changed much. But still, I wouldn't change places with him for anything.
Bryan spent over 20 years as a drug addicted, occasionally incarcerated alcoholic. He made his own bad choices and fucked up his own life - but you made it so easy for him to do so. When he screwed up. When he stole from you. When he stole from the neighbors...you made excuses. He's bi-polar, he's got ADHD, alcoholism is a disease and runs in our genes. blah blah blah I have the same gene pool as he does and a bit of an addictive personality. I chose not to drink, I chose not to do drugs because I didn't want to fuck my life up. Bryan made different choices and he's paid the price. He's been clean and sober now for a couple of years and I'm proud of him.
I'm also worried about him. His addictions are pretty straight forward. He drinks and he likes drugs. He'll tell you he likes them, but knows enough now not to take them. Your addiction is a bit more difficult. He's your addiciton. You have to be in his life full force. Arguing, fixing...there all the time. He moved to Arkansas to start anew. Now you're moving there too. I worry that you are going to destroy his sobriety. I've said it but you just have reasons as to why that won't happen. Let me say it again. LEAVE HIM ALONE SO THAT HE CAN STAY SOBER. I know it's his choice not to drink and whatever else he does, but a lot of stress can make that choice much harder to make.
No, I wouldn't change places with Bryan for anything.
I wouldn't change places with you either. You don't know it, but you've lost a lot. My children are beautiful, interesting people. I'm pretty interesting myself. You've missed out on a lot of stuff.
to end this where it started.
I didn't cause this situation. I don't know why you chose to favor him so strongly. I used to think it was because I was less somehow. I wasn't.
I can't control this. You're going to be who you're going to be until you decide to change.
I can't cure this. I can only fix the way I choose to handle it. I've gone from hurt to angry and that's drifting into acceptance. It will never be an ok situation, but I have so many beautiful things in my life that I shouldn't waste energy on the things I can't change.
Why write it on my blog? Because you don't seem to hear me when I try to talk to you about it.