Today is my brother’s birthday. I haven’t seen him in 17 years so we probably won’t be sharing cake and ice cream.
There are brothers and sisters who lovingly support each other and celebrate special occasions together. I’m not in that category. I’m not proud of that fact, but it’s too late to change anything. Sometimes it’s best to dump the painful past into the dark lagoon of sad memories and start over with eager optimism for the present and future.
My brother, a lawyer, sued me several years ago but I fought back. He didn’t show up in court for the trial but his attorney did, and I testified with spirit and conviction. I won the lawsuit and lost a brother.
Well-intentioned people say to forgive, reach out, and make amends, and occasionally I feel the pressure to make peace. Without going into the pathetic details, I’ll just say that I can’t do that. It’s easier – and a lot more fun – to write books, give speeches, play with my grandkids, and live an abundant life with my husband. I did send my brother a Christmas card last month, so I’ve done my part for the year.
The irony of the situation is that if he could see my family now, he would realize the example of how our dysfunctional childhood should have been. I wish he could see how my children have grown into splendid young adults, but he chose to miss their high school graduations, their weddings, and the arrivals of their delightful children. I also wish he would meet my husband and be interested in what I’ve done and experienced since 1997. I think I would make a good sister.
But, I would be okay with never seeing him again if he would visit our elderly mother and assist with her care. He has seen her only twice for a few minutes in the past 15 years. She now suffers from dementia and probably wouldn’t recognize him. Maybe he’ll think about that today, on his birthday.
This week our family will celebrate the 4th birthday of my precious granddaughter. There will be presents, cake, and laughter. And I’ll watch with gratitude as my grown son and daughter prove that a brother and sister can love each other. I also know if one threatened to sue the other, there would be an immediate meeting that included beer, hugs, and laughter.