Wednesday, August 08, 2007

good-bye kitty

so my brother is visiting from Asia.
It's been six years since I last saw him.
Much has changed, but sadly I'm not sure if he has.

Let me back up a bit.
It's just the two of us- me being three years older than him.
We were always pretty close for the most part growing up.
I think it had to do with the fact that we moved every couple of years and only had each other most of the time.
As dysfunctional as things were when we were teenagers (my parents were the age I am now...hard to imagine having two teenagers at the moment) we had each other's back.
sure we used to chase each-other around with the broom, wooden spoons or any other threatening object within arms reach, but when push came to shove, we never actually got physical.
There was lots of "I'm tellllling moooom!!!!" and I remember many times my dad threatening to "pull over if you kids don't knock it off!!!!" while verbally duke-ing it out in the burgundy & faux wood olsmobile family station wagon.
But generally we got along.
When I moved out at age 18, he was on his own for a few years with my then feuding parents and we sort of drifted apart after that.
I still feel a bit guilty for leaving him during the height of my parents marital woes...but now that I'm married myself- everything seems to take on a whole different picture.
Fortunately I have learned from the mistakes of others..or at least I'd like to think so.
Anyhow, eventually he moved out, went to college and became a frat boy.
That's really when I no longer felt like I knew him.
For many years his "brothers" were all that seemed to matter to him.
still to this day...but I'm getting ahead of myself....
I could never relate to the fraternity life style, but still tried to make an effort by visiting him on occasion.
I guess he needed some sense of belonging.
It was never pretty- major booze fests always in motion and not exactly my scene.
not that I have anything against the odd cocktail but being covered in peanut butter, having your eyebrows shaved off and not being able to walk or speak is a bit much.
It was even more painful watching my brother make an ass out of himself.
very sad.
he eventually moved to Asia to teach English.
Which at first I was really proud of.
But the reality is he barely emails and if he does, it's to me and 100 other or his closest friends (re. mass emails) and has maybe called once- when lulu was born.
He got married a year or so ago and no one in the family has ever met this girl.
nor did he bother to tell anyone about it.
As much as it bothers me that I don't really have a close relationship with my brother, I mostly feel bad for my mother.
It has to sting.
I can't imagine how hurt I would be if lulu shut me out of her life one day.
Anyhow, my parents finally convinced him to come "home" for a visit so they could meet this girl and to see him.
They bought the plane tickets.
They were so excited to pick him up from the airport.
Instead he decided to go to London to hook up with some of his old Frat buddies for a few days.
34 going on 16.
anyhow he's been here for 6 days already and has yet to meet his only niece.
I must say I'm a bit put off by this- though not overly surprised.
he is in town tonight but to see the Jays vs. Yankees game, and asked if I was getting a sitter to watch "the kid"
We are all headed out East for a family reunion of sorts for the weekend, and I can't exactly say that I'm over-the-top thrilled.
Part of me wants to be optimistic, but if this week is any indication of his priorities, how can I expect much?
It's so crazy to me that two people that came from the same parents, had the same upbringing can be so so different.
It's sad that in many ways I feel so much more connected and closer to big daddy's brothers than my own.
but hopefully I'm wrong and he has changed for the better.
I really hope so.

That being said-he's not a complete boob- as he has sent a couple of packages for lulu on her birthday and Christmas.
It's always something with hello kitty plastered all over it.
It is very appreciated, by me and especially by lulu.
so maybe..just day he will decide to grow up.


amanda said...

It sounds like your brother is quite a bit like my younger brother. I sometimes wonder many of the same things and hope that one day he'll grow up too.

I'm glad you got the chance to see each other. You probably mean more to him than you realize. Sometimes their immaturity can make them a bit oblivious to how their actions can affect those most important to them. Whether they mean it or not. At least that's what I've noticed with my brother.

crazymumma said...


he sounds self indulgent yet hurt.

I hold out hope that if you embrace him with true warmth he may respond in kind

i hate frat mentatlity.

whatever. he'll grow up.

metro mama said...

Oh, I'm sorry.

He sounds a little like my brother (six years younger than me). Interestingly, he became a father last year and have changed 100%. So, there is hope for your brother (maybe he's just a late bloomer).

kittenpie said...

It's amazing how many smart, together women I know who have younger brothers who are seriously suffering from arrested development. It's like the classic first-child/second-child thing is magnified by the gender gap.

Heather Bea said...

Is he friends with my brother? My brother went through a phase in junior high that never went away. It wasn't until about two years ago that he finally started working on a full time basis. He is 32 now and he just recently moved out of my parents house. He has had problems with alcohol and drugs and still dresses like he is a frat boy. I love him because he is my brother but we are so different, especially when it comes to compassion for others, that it hurts to be around him. He does love my kids and they love him so I am really happy about that, but the way he treats my parents is tragic. I keep waiting for my little brother to grow up but not sure if it is going to happen anytime soon.