I have a brother. This is a fact that is quite easily forgotten by many and will more than likely be news to others. In fact, I was telling a workmate today about this drafted post and she was rather intrigued about this brother she had not heard of – we have been working together for years. He is my younger brother by three years. So a little brother to two big sisters. When those who know I have a brother, ask me about him, the general reply is “I have no idea where he is at the moment, or what he is doing”. And that’s the truth.
He called me the other day. I don’t think I had heard from him in about a year, so it was a pleasant surprise. I never know when it is him calling, because I don’t have a saved phone number for him in my phone. Every time I save his number, it is superseded by a new number – so what’s the point? Anyway, I digress. My Mum had told me he’d found a place to live, which is great. I told her to tell him that we had a garage full of stuff we didn’t want, including a fridge, that he was welcome to – hence the phone call.
Yesterday morning rolled around, and my “little” brother arrived in a white van, ready to fill it. We got to work and within five minutes, he had a fridge, coffee table and two book shelves. I threw in an oil heater for free! Oh hang on, it was all free! He was stoked. As we stood in the drizzling rain, chatting, I couldn’t help but stare at this man, and wonder who he really was? How did it happen that in 34 years of knowing this guy, I really didn’t know him? I stared at his features, and recognised the freckles and the shape of his face. But what I missed was the sparkle in his eyes. He used to have the most beautiful blue/grey eyes, and now they are dull. It makes me sad.
I have two siblings – I am the middle child – and both of them could not be any more chalk to my cheese. We have all lived extremely different lives, the result of many circumstances, however mostly of choice. I describe myself as “the white sheep” of the family. For I, in many ways, am the odd one out.
Growing up, I never would have dreamt the three of us would lead the different and varied lives we have. But it is my normal. I have an older sister whom I have only become close to in the past five to ten years. By close I mean we live in neighbouring suburbs, and when we do chat on the odd occasion, it’s usually quite lengthy and deep. I am fiercely protective of her. And I have a younger brother I share nothing in common with, except that we come from the same DNA, and that despite everything, we still say “Love you” at the end of each out of blue phone call.
Families are very funny things. We are only three siblings, and all are so completely different. I know this is not a rare occurrence. I know each and every family has its differences, it’s strange dynamics. But I also know that I have learnt not to dwell on them. It is what it is. And it’s probably not as strange as I used to think it was!
So for now, I’ll be happy for a half emptied garage, a quick chat and the knowledge that he has a roof over his head and a fridge to keep his milk cold. No expectations means no disappointment yes?
Do you have siblings? And what is your Normal?