My family. Most looking in from the outside would think of it as the “perfect nuclear family unit”.
My parents are still married – to each other, even. Yep, that home wasn’t broken.
At least not by divorce.
But there are other ways to break a family. Things that the members do to each other that turn the “perfect family” into something that resembles another family entirely:
There’s a reason for that.
I learned the other night that my brother, his wife, and daughters are going to be moving in a couple of months. They currently live in the same town as our parents, which is about an hour away from where I live. This is plenty close for me. My brother and I have issues.
My brother was offered a better job, in Florida, and so he is going to be leaving in just a couple of weeks to start the process down there. The girls, and my sister-in-law are all going to finish up the school year, then join him down south. This is where my sister-in-law is from, and I know that she’s been missing her family there, plus, the culture differences from the far north to the far south are very different – and I know she’s never really gotten used to it.
So, while I care about my brother, and my sister-in-law and “the short people” as I call my 3 nieces, I guess I’m not as bothered by them moving to the other end of the country, as my mom would like me to be.
When my brother and I had our big blow-up a couple of years ago, I think I decided that, since he was claiming that his “little sister had died years ago”… I’d let it be like that. I was pretty much forced into letting the incident go, to make my mom happy… but I’ve never forgiven him for the pain he caused me. He’s never apologized for it, either. He only said “I’m sorry if you were hurt”… not sorry for what he actually said and did.
Because he didn’t believe that he did anything wrong. He still doesn’t believe he was wrong.
And that, I won’t forgive. I can let it go, for the sake of the family – but I won’t forget it happened.
And things have never been the same since.
We are now “polite strangers” with a history of past damages.
And when a polite stranger moves away… just how bad are you supposed to feel?
I love my nieces, and my sister-in-law is a lovely, young woman and I like her a lot. But I don’t spend much time with any of them, because of the circumstances that surrounded the whole “Sibling Wars”. And it’s been hard, not being able to get close to the only nieces I have, and the only ones I’m likely to have. But, you can’t change someone else’s mind – only your own.
Honestly, I don’t see my brother and I ever being close again.
There are lines that you do not cross – but if you cross them anyway – you can’t ever go back.
There is no time machine to go to the past and take it all back.
There’s no words that can be said to make it “OK”.
I’m not still furious over it. That takes too much constant energy. But I am resigned to the fact that, while he and I may share genetic material, we’re not family anymore.
And that’s where it gets broken.