I knew you as a child - we grew up in the same house, sharing the same family dynamics - good and bad. Emerging into the individuals we each would end up becoming. Were you a sore loser way back then? Perhaps, but are you still that same sore loser now, some 30 years later in actuality or only in my memory of the child you used to be? Are you now gracious in defeat and humble in victory and am I so blinded by what I think I know about you that I cannot see who you are today?
I'm not writing to any one of my own siblings - I'm really just thinking through writing which is a part of who I am today. I've always journal-ed and now use this blog to reason my way through certain aspects of my life and not only to share our life in this old house. And this dynamic of families and how the adult children relate after leaving and finding careers and marriage and becoming parents themselves has always sort of fascinated me.
Its natural - each time my three siblings and I get together, we tell the old stories....in our childhood my brothers always won every game we played and I was that sore loser. But do they realize that now I laugh away defeat and accept the fact that I don't have a poker face, that I just can't seem to improve at darts no matter how hard I may try? Those never defeated brothers were part of my training ground for life......
Over the past five days, I've heard my husband say to his own siblings "you don't know me" several times. Living in separate states for more than 30 years, his statement couldn't be more true. The handful of times that these siblings have been together during those years could never reveal to any of them just exactly who their brothers or their sister have become as adults yet each still views the other through their memories of their shared childhood. These adult siblings have no idea of who the spouses of their brothers or sister really are either because they've too often viewed those spouses through the prism of their own memories of their siblings.
That child we used to be is still in there....our early experiences shaped us all into who we are today, but none of us have remained stagnant. We have continued to be shaped by the life we each have built that is separate from that childhood base we shared. Some of us have become better losers or more trustworthy or maybe more accepting of things and less judgemental while for some of us, unfortunately, the opposite may be true.
If I could have one wish today, it would be that we could have a do - over of this past Monday. I would wish that steps had been taken that would possibly have avoided a lot of what has gone down these past five days. I could wish that these particular siblings knew each other in adulthood the way they knew each other in childhood -that they had shared more fully the experiences that have brought them each to today.....a whole lot of pain could have been avoided if only they had not been blinded by their memories of childhood.
My hope for all of you today is that you take the time to look at who your siblings really are....those things that used to irritate you in childhood may be the very things that your sibling has used to become a better person. No, none of us has evolved into a perfect human being - we all still have traces of that temper or that judgmental attitude, or a tendency to exaggerate a story but we are all much more than who we were as children.
We need to know our siblings as who they are today and we need to warily tread our way through family dynamics because words hurt and can never be taken back; actions once taken cannot be undone; trust once broken may never be regained. Emotions out of control may take a long time to reign back in. And family can hurt each other more than friends and strangers ever could.