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My kid brother

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My "baby" brother is turning 50 soon. When we were young, I was very protective and would hover over him. I'd pick up after his messes; once I threatened a school bully who was teasing him. Me, who'd never so much as scratched another person on purpose. And in return, my brother was very competitive. If his toy broke, he had to take mine. He would hit me on the head with his toys - I think to break my head, not to break his toys! He made it a mission to match my marks in school. And then, in our late teens, he finally outgrew me and became physically dominating, and we settled into an unspoken detente.

So now we live thousands of miles apart. I see him and his kids when we visit every December for the holidays. Our different natures as children have evolved into different values as adults. We've learned not to comment on each other's lives in order to avoid unpleasantness. This detente thing seems to be holding.

But turning 50 is going to be tough for my brother. He seems to have been in a classic mid-life crisis for a decade. He has a demanding career, but manages to work out a *lot*. Mostly upper body weight training, and lots of protein supplements to help with building the guns. He wears clothes that someone 30 years younger than he would wear ... but 20 years ago. He drives a "cool" car ... that he bought used, and was cool 20 years ago. He's divorced and dating women literally half his age who he calls "plastic". I am alternately amused by his stories and worried about his happiness.

There were a brief few years in our 20s when we were very close - we were both living on our own in cities two hours apart, and across the country from our parents. I was car-less, and would take the train to see him once a month. I'd clean his kitchen, fill up his fridge; we spent long days at the beach or park and voiced our worries and ambitions aloud. I had a hope then that we would stay close as we grew older - but that hasn't happened. Yet. We're both getting older, but I guess still not too old for birthday wishes.
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    Remembering your other blogs that mentioned your brother, it does sound as if you've had a complicated relationship and that he can be rather difficult. (His party menu last year, for example, that seemed to disrespect your dietary restrictions, and then wasn't there something about the volume of the TV at hour mother's house?) Anyway, it is indeed sad that you've been unable to maintain warm relations with him, but I think I can say this with confidence: it ain't your fault, my dear Bemused. I'm sorry that he couldn't be grateful for your good intentions and apparently decided to focus instead on competing with you. I shouldn't do this armchair psychoanalysis, but judging from sibling relationships in my childhood and watching my own children, I see how complex all this is, and I'm guessing that he feels you found more success and happiness than he did, and seeing or hearing from you reminds him of this. Which really is sad, because you are so willing to love him!

    You are a very kind, forgiving sister for wishing him happiness after being bonked on the head with his toys as a child!
    1794 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15145828

    Your brother has SUCH a cool sister.
    Happy birthday to him!
    1794 days ago
    Sending birthday wishes your brother's way. Hope he has a good day. emoticon
    1795 days ago
    Perhaps you will get closer. There's still time; maybe reach out if it feels right? Happy birthday to your "baby" brother! :)
    1795 days ago
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