I was at one lecture or another years ago, when the lecturer talked about our siblings being the people with whom we can have the longest relationships. They are the ones closest to our age, the ones we come into close contact with due to family this and that for the rest of our days.
At the time, I felt sad to hear this news, as my sister and I were definitely on the outs. The family situation had brought us together and pulled us apart, and we weren't really even in a relationship any more. Years passed, and somehow, things managed to right themselves. With hope, I will know her for the rest of my life, though geography will make it likely hers and mine will not be the closest of relationships. But at least there is one.
I have a photo on my desk of my two sons, taken by my ex sister-in-law. I would say the year was 1991, my youngest about four, my oldest six. They are smiling into the camera, hugging each other, two curly headed brothers playing outside and stopping for a moment for the camera. There, forever or until the photo goes the way of all paper, their images will be. I look at it and remember a time that was hard and good and difficult, and I think of the bond my boys had, something strong and tight and true.
And yet, what was that built on? Did my youngest resent my oldest? I always felt my sister resented me. There I was, in the lead, doing the oldest child things (and truly, paying the oldest child price--going first into anything can hurt). She was taught and told to move along behind me, and I'm sure at some point that got very, very old and stale and tiresome. As a parent, I assumed that there would be fighting and scuffles and issues, but they were brothers. they were supposed to be get along in a certain fashion, and I assumed that just as the lecturer said, theirs would be the longest relationship of their lives.
But we have to bust out of a family of origin at times. It doesn't always suit or fill or hold enough for us. We have to break away and sail forth, knowing that probably, if we aren't too horrid, we can come back into port, lash the boat to the dock and have a good meal. But the leaving isn't always easy because no one tells us to go--to move into the unknown and figure out the hard stuff on our own. Our families usually want to protect us from the evil nonsense of the world, and yet, it's that evil nonsense that often makes us who we are.
So I watch my sons now, both holding onto the nonsense of the world, a finger or two or three holding onto what the family gave them. I know that soon if not before, one of them will let go, unlash the boat, and move into the darker waters. I can only wait for them to come back.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org