“Mom, Deanâ€™s picking on me!â€ While most mothers have heard the whiney plea of a child demanding retribution for sins of a brother, this claim was being made by a fifty-something year old.
â€œDean!â€ said the mom (now in her 80â€™s). Dean, age 63, briefly protests his innocence, but then one stink-eye from Mom means quietness ensues.
The amusing part of this story is the realization that the childhood glee of picking on a sibling continues far into the second half of life. The mother smiles because she is still needed as referee, judge, and affection-giver.
I love taking shots at my brothers and sister. While a sharp tongue can leave wounds, my words are meant as harmless banter. A verbal punch in the arm. A â€œkick meâ€ sign placed on the back with a well-placed memory instead of paper, ink, and tape. The tricky part comes when you still view your siblings as they were, and not as they are.
Because of my dadâ€™s recent passing my family has been communicating closely. We have the heavy task-driven job of settling Dadâ€™s estate and seeking equity among four diverse personalities. This was Dadâ€™s wish, and at first it seemed simple.
Neither of my parentâ€™s had ever known wealth in the common sense. They were rich in personalities, humor, and rock solid work ethics. Money? No, not that.
Now that that we four are sorting and sifting items of value, the adult personalities of my siblings are coming to light.
Glimpses of regret, paucity, and jealousy appear. What seems equal on all other venues, isnâ€™t equal in the eyes of one. Three scramble to â€œfixâ€ the situation, but in doing so create more hurt, more distrust. Why is this so freakâ€™n hard?
Maybe Iâ€™m wishing one of our parents would step in and say, â€œEnough.â€ The void of their deaths loom large. Now it is on us to be the adults, even when childhood is only a thought away. I sigh, I cry, I resolve to be kind and strong. But what is there to do when adults refuse to grow up and play fair?
Have any of you been in this situation? How did it end? Did it end? What would you do differently?
You know my sibling story far too well, so I won’t repeat it here. However, I do ‘get’ the waiting for parents to straighten it out. After my parents had died, there was a great deal of effort on the part of one sister to ‘prove’ to the rest of us that she was indeed the favorite child. The saddest part is that no one cared. Our parents had made each of us feel we were their favorite and nothing could be sadder than trying to prove you weren’t as loved as someone else. My parents would have been so sad. It wasn’t the way we were raised.
Thanks, as always Claudia. I know that you continue the dance in the sibling mosh pit. Somehow, at least on the surface, you appear at peace with how things are playing out. And yet, and yet, the ripples of contention are erosion makers. I applaud your strength and borrow from it freely.