The following is a post from my old blog which is now defunct . It is eons old, but I always liked it. So it will live here now.
The Rest is Up to Us . . .
As many of you know, I haven’t seen my brother in ages. Did I tell you that sweet boy is a man now? Amazing! I have been afraid of the “catching up” process and hoping we would still like each other after all these years. He used to think I hung the moon, but I never did hang the moon. I was worried about the real me competing with the old, faintly exaggerated memory of me.
He showed up this morning and suddenly I was hurled back to the 1970s. I could see his white blond hair and bright blue eyes, green striped shirt and all the love, hope and admiration he used to show me when he would follow me, running in the tall grass in the field behind our grandparents’ house. I was looking at a grown man and seeing the boy who had meant so much to me. He is my BROTHER. Mine. Mine. Mine.
For some of you that might not mean much – you might have had your brother around so much that he made you crazy, or maybe you just didn’t click. But this is MY BROTHER and that is a very big deal to me. We never got to grow up together. I was the product of a frantically passionate teenage marriage fraught with pain and infidelity. My mom was 14 when she got pregnant with me. The marriage ended when I was quite young. My brother was the product of our father’s second marriage, his mother and his upcoming birth the reason my dad left us. This dynamic did not lend itself to happy family gatherings and as a matter of fact effort was made to keep us apart.
But some things you just can’t stop. Like the sun setting. Good byes from hurting. And the pull between two kids given a bum rap from the start.
When I was a little older I moved away with my mom and my new dad to a whole new life far away. We drifted physical and emotional miles from each other and the hurt that comes with separation became like a neat little package you tie up with string and store some place private and dark. Secreted away in the deepest recesses of your heart. What starts as a sharp, mind obliterating pain ebbs into just a dull, hollow echo of a life that is long past.
This morning he walked in my front door with his beautiful family and hugged me.
He said “Hey ya, sis.” and looked at me like I hung the moon.
I teared up, but I held it together. I didn’t let myself cry. I wanted to be the picture of happy (and believe me I was happy) but I was also pretty pissed off too.
How dare all the powers that be – my parents, his parents, hurt egos, offended pride, the he said/she said garbage that comes with the destruction of a family keep us away from each other for so long.
He seemed to know what I was thinking. He said he had given it a lot of thought over the years and he was glad things worked out the way they did and that he has no regrets.
“It made us who we are, Leah, and we both survived. No, we both thrived.” He grinned. “And we’re not that damaged.”
I hugged him. We are strong and we can recognize BS before it gets on our shoes. We know what real love is. And we let love win.
As far as he was concerned we had simply hit “pause” and are now back, full-swing. All the love that was there from before is bubbling back like a dry river bed suddenly awash with new life.
Every night, as I come here to talk about my day I am happy, but tonight I am more than happy. It is a feeling I can’t even put into words. I feel like an old mama dog who won’t rest until all of her pups are accounted for. It is like I have been counting and coming up short for so much of my life but now the numbers are finally right. I just can’t explain it.
I sit here in peace. Content. Today was a big step in healing old wounds. It just goes to show our past isn’t the end all be all of our lives. We actually have a say in how things go from here on out. The rest really is up to us.