Archive

Posts Tagged ‘siblings’

Uncle Instructor

“What’s politics?” my eight-year-old asked me. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot the last week.”

Noooooo, I thought. How can I possibly explain this in a sentence or two that makes sense to him? Do not have the brain power now!

“Politics is …” I paused, searching. “… arguments over how to apportion resources.”

I waited for his inevitable follow-up questions. Instead, my brother, visiting from Oregon, called on his Social Studies education background and continued explaining. “For every dollar you spend, the government takes twenty or forty cents. You get to decide what gets done with those cents.”

Whoa, I thought. That’s a great way of explaining it to an eight-year-old.

“That’s the idea, anyway,” I said. “In reality, the government spends even more than it takes in maintaining a vast military presence in more than a hundred countries, and then its representatives say we don’t have enough money for things like school, health, or food.” I paused, waiting to see if Li’l D would have any more questions.

Nope. Satisfied (enough), he resumed reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid

And I wished, a little, my little brother could be here for more such conversations. So. Much. Easier.

Advertisements
Categories: Family, politics Tags: , ,

two for two

Decades ago,
my siblings and I
did what we called
“two for two”

In theory,
we would exchange
two minutes of backrub given
for two received

I didn’t understand it then,
but this positive physical contact
may well have saved
our lives

(Loving touch
Is THAT important)

As the eldest,
I would typically exchange
two minutes given
for ten seconds
returned

So, now,
as my “little” brother
plays checkers with my
older son, who inherited his name
from my brother,
I trace my fingers
over my brother’s back
and think:

Years later,
I would wager
I still owe him
thousands of minutes

… and I am happy to,
for the moment, have the chance
to bridge the deficit

Categories: Family, Health Tags: , , , ,

the j-blockade

This morning, my three-year-old son awakened mere minutes before I left for work. I heard Littler J whining the moment I stepped out of the shower.

“What’s up with the little guy?” I called to my husband.

“He doesn’t want you to go to work.”

A few minutes later, I put on my shoes and headed toward the front door. There, blockading the exit, was Littler J.

“Don’t go!” he howled. “I don’t want you to go!”

Leaving against his wishes made me more than a little sad. Still, I’ve grinned every time I remember that image: one little boy trying to block his mama from leaving through one big door.

His body may still be small; his will is anything but. I hope he keeps that … and also that his older brother will never be too far away to end any J-blockade with a well-timed question or two:

“Wanna play trains? They’re in the bedroom!”

Categories: Family, Parenting Tags: , ,

family medicine

Three years ago,
I watched my brother
(-in-law, so long a part
of my life and family, those
hyphens seem silly) receive
his short coat as he
prepared to begin
medical school

He visited
last weekend,
and my boys and
dog were SO happy to
see him, but …
not nearly as
happy as
was I

We spoke of
many things, but
what I remember most
was telling him
how proud
I am of
him

I didn’t mean
to say as much here,
but he just sent an essay
for critique, and its contents
were the kind I’ll need time
to digest before critiquing
because, honestly,
I just have to sit a while
with all the memories and feelings
first

My world would
have been a much
sadder world without him,
and I know that the world will be
a little less sad
to have him
as a doctor

Categories: Family, Love Tags: , ,

no. matter. what.

I have three full-blood siblings. Each of those three siblings are soulful, compassionate people; together, they have been my lifeline for most of four decades.

My siblings all had one elementary school teacher who never taught me in a classroom. Far from condemning my single mother, as most adults around my siblings and I did, this teacher praised her: “Any one of your children is kinder and more compassionate than any other student I’ve ever had. That all three of them are like that tells me it’s not an accident, but a reflection of you.”

I was never his student, but he and I became friendly in the years after my siblings left his classroom. He went on to teach teachers. He told me he used me and my siblings as shining examples of what you can become when you care for other people.

(When I had a chance to help one of his people a few years ago, I leaped! How seldom do any of us have a chance to explicitly show kindness to the people who have saved us?!)

Sometimes, I talk to people and wonder how they have so little faith in the folks around them. “How do you believe people are innately assholes, and only ever pretend to be otherwise?” I ask myself, puzzling over this until something or another reminds me: They did not have my siblings!

As my mom lost herself to untreated mental illness, I had my siblings. As our mom died of cancer, I had my siblings. After she died and I argued heatedly about how we should dispose of her house, I had my siblings.

(I was so angry about how we disposed of Mom’s house, I signed the papers upside-down to reflect my protest. Still, I signed because I understood my siblings were more important than a house, and I apologized later when I really understood it.)

And so, I have walked through every day of my life knowing I have three people who will support me even when they want to whack me upside the head (which is probably often). I have three people who know, absolutely, that my heart is full of love, even when the things I do or say don’t necessarily reveal that.

Most people don’t have that.

That is a sadness I can’t even fathom.

‘Cause, see, I have always had these three people–Rachael, David, and Madeline–who have had my back, so I can’t imagine life without them.

2013 siblings small

then and now

Most people have never even had one-third of that. Read more…

for the better

fifty years ago,
a young man
and woman
got married

forty-ish years ago,
they had a daughter

a decade and a half ago,
i met that daughter;
she loved me, and
i loved her

then, i met her parents.

no other parents
(not my mom,
or my godparents)
had ever loved me
unequivocally,
but they said,
“she loves you,
and so do we”

and then
these parents
met my younger sister
and said, “we also love you”

and then
they met my brother
and said, “we love you, too”

so tonight
i smiled at the thought
of Fifty Years,
and hoped
someday
some young woman
or man might
someday write
about me and my husband:

“Fifty years ago,
I met these parents,
and their love–
though peripheral–
changed everything
for me …
for the better”

Categories: Family, Friends, Love, Parenting Tags: , ,

I am

%d bloggers like this: