Tuesday, July 13, 2010


My children and I are visiting my parents this week and my brother is also visiting.  (My husband stayed home to recover from three solid weeks of camp and an out of state field trip.)  I encouraged each of them to read my blogs.  I'm not sure if that was a good idea, but it felt right so I went with it.  That's been more my custom these days...if it feels right, do it.  Notice I did NOT say "if it feels GOOD, do it" because that's a whole other matter that can lead to all kinds of trouble.  But following what feels right is usually a good way to live and has opened me up to a much happier life.

I'm not sure if they would want to be included in my blog and I don't want to write about specific people outside of the ones who live in my house...at least not on a regular basis as characters in the sitcom of our life...but tonight I'll make an exception because I am here.

My parents are my friends.  They weren't always my friends and they engaged in traditional parenting including public school for my brother and I.  We had chores (some of which still don't make sense to me) and rules and limitations and expectations.  We had something in our home that a lot of my friends didn't have, though.  ((I'm changing from "we" to "me" now because I think it's presumptuous to speak on my brother's behalf.))  My parents listened.  They asked questions and gave answers to my questions. They provided lots of opportunities.  They encouraged and supported my dreams.  Even as an adult, they are interested in what is interesting to me.  I spent years being frustrated by what I viewed as a lack of involvement in my children's lives, but I've come to realize it's because they are more "conversational".  Now that the kids are old enough to engage in conversation and express their interests and thoughts, my parents are more than happy to engage in their lives.  The "quiet observer" role which often accompanies those first 5 years just weren't their strong suit.  I still share my life with my parents and I think that speaks highly of who they were to me in my formative years.  I know plenty of people who see their relatives a couple or handful of times each year and it's an obligation they endure.  I am happy that our visits have increased and we all look forward to them.  I am not the same kind of mother that my mother was.  I am not the same kind of parent that my father was.  In some ways I'm not as good and in some ways I'm better.  I can't be the same kind of parent because my children are not the same as I was.  My parenting, hopefully, is right for my children.

My brother, too, is visiting and I could write for days about him.  We were great friends at one time in our lives.  We were tolerant at another.  We were estranged at another.  We've been through all the phases, I suppose.  I like where we are now.  My brother is a big kid and loves to play with my children. Actually, as he gets older it seems harder for him, but he tries not to let that show to them.  He is one person in their life who is probably the absolute most genuine, accepting, non-judgemental, and completely loving with them.  I don't know if I have EVER heard him say NO to any of them.  My brother has no children of his own, yet I model my unschooling parent paradigm after him.  The way he completely embraces the needs of my children and stops whatever he is doing and pushes through (and tries to hide) his frustrations to be completely present for them is something of a marvel.  It's not just for the children though.  A sibling is unlike anyone else in your life.  We can recall things about each other that no one else can because no one else REALLY knew us when we were growing up.  I am glad, not just for the memories we share, but for the closeness that we chose to develop.  During our estrangement we saw each other for those obligatory family gatherings once or twice a year.  At one of those gatherings, I blew up in full mama lion fashion.  It was our tipping point....fish or cut bait....BE siblings and communicate and love and support each other or stop pretending out of some traditional sense of obligatory loyalty.  I am glad to say that my brother chose the first option and opened a dialogue that took years we are still working through.  It is worth it.  He is worth it.  Our relationship is worth it.  I believe we have all benefitted from it.  That first step was a doozy, but I sure am glad he took it!

These visits to see my parents and my brother are precious to me and I know they mean more than words can say to my children.  Maybe it would be different if they lived closer.  Maybe it would be different if they lived further away and we only visited yearly (or less).  But what we have right here, right now is just what I need and just what the kids need.

Be True To Yourself,

1 comment:

Annette said...

I often wish I had a sibling...