Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Betty's Big Brother

Yesterday I was presented with an unusual opportunity which I wasn't sure I wanted to accept. My BB (Big Brother) called to say he was in a nearby city, visiting from the west coast.

Mind you, I come from an odd family, a truly dysfunctional one which unraveled completely upon the death of my mother many years ago. My brother and sister were teens while I was a toddler, and they both moved out before I was 7. I hardly knew them, since, even before they left home, they were always "out galavanting" as my parents would say.

To this day, I hardly know my brother and sister. I hadn't seen either of them in years, until last night, that is. After The Child finished school we hit the road to meet up with BB. It was dusk by the time we arrived, and observing the dark silouette of BB, I recalled the time when, at around age 3, I fell backwards down the wooden stairs in my parents' house for fear that BB, who was 6'3" even when I was 3, would chase me down the stairs. I still have the scar on my head.

BB had never met The Child, so the focus was mercifully off of me. The mysterious BB is still scary and unknown. I remembered my mother saying he could never hurt a fly. He does seem almost shy, afraid of offending, yet people have always liked him. Opposite of whirlingbetty, he has always been popular. I had told The Child in the car that he'd probably like his newfound uncle, because everyone else did.

BB seemed oddly youthful. He's very good-looking, and seriously, he appears younger than when I saw him last. His yoga instructor girlfriend could have something to do with that, or it could be because of the pact he made with my sister: when she was diagnosed with tongue cancer, he said he'd swear off drinking alcohol until she recovered and he could share a drink with her. This was probably the first time I've ever seen him sober.

The visit was necessarily short: The Child had school the next morning, and I'm going back to work this week. BB doesn't talk much when he's sober, but in the restaurant he did express concern that the corn chowder I ordered wasn't enough to sustain me. (I wonder how he thinks I get by when he's not around.)

I observed BB whenever I could steal a furtive glance. His big blue eyes and wavy hair look much like The Child's. He looks peaceful, content and settled. His latest girlfriend suits him well. He looked as if he had his act together for the first time ever. I wish my mother and grandmother who had so adored him could have seen him last night.

When we first arrived to meet BB I had been nervously babbling about needing a flashlight in my car. I was just trying to create distraction, and I quickly forgot all about it. But after we left the restaurant, BB walked into the nextdoor Rite Aid and bought me 4 flashlights and a package of batteries.

With tears clouding my eyes on the long drive home, The Child asleep in the back seat, I wondered what BB had thought of me.

24 comments:

Loving Annie said...

I hope BB saw and observed and intuited all the kind and good things in you that I have 'seen' via your blog and comments over the last 2 years.

And you are sweet to have asked about the fire - they are some 80 miles north - and 25 miles south - of me, so I'm okay - so far...

No comment on the job interview ??? What happenned - or should I assume it wasn't what you might have hoped ?

Hope Child is doing well in school, and still have my fingers crossed for you :)

((HUGS))

Laurie said...

I'm sure just like us your big
brother sees a woman who is a
wonderful person...and an even
more wonderful mom...

It's so sweet of him to buy you the
flashlights...Shows he cares...I
wish that my big brother and I were
close like we used to be....He used
to always be there for me....Now...
I don't think he cares if I dropped
off the face of the earth....

Just glad that you're alright and
the child is doing good....
Here's wishing you a new found and
loving relationship with your
big brother....

HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monogram Queen said...

That is so sweet, he was obviously looking out for his little sister.
I fear my husband's family will fall apart when something happens to his Mother. They are already fractured :(

Priyamvada_K said...

Dear Betty,
I am happy that your BB found you, and has found peace in his life. Good that he reached out to you, and you took him up on the offer.

Maybe you'll get to know each other as adults, and establish a relationship. Don't be shy to call and wish him once in a while - with the comment about the corn chowder and the flash lights, it seems like he genuinely cares about you.

He maybe a benevolent male presence in your son's life. It always helps children to know they have other people/family who care about them.

Priya.

Betty said...

Dear Annie,

I'm so glad you're safe! I can't imagine what it's like being in the vicinity of such devastation.

The job here came back- the organization is being revived. Hopefully this is good news- it won't be quite the same.

I'm looking forward to your next post- I missed them!

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Laurie,

I too wish for a healing of your relationship with your brother. My relationship will be limited by distance for sure but at least progress has been made!

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Patti,

It does seem that in some families, there is one individual, usually a matriarch, who is the one thread holding them together. I hope it doesn't happen to your husband's family, though....life is too short.

Hugs,
Betty

Mary Ann said...

Glad to hear about your job. As one who has a dysfunctional relationship w/ siblings, I feel your pain and pleasure over the surprising visit with your brother. I hope you are feeling ok today.

Betty said...

You're right, Priya, about the benefit of his presence in The Child's life. It has always bothered me that so few people know The Child, while at school he is always hearing about other kids' grandparents and extended family.

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Mary Ann,

It sounds as if you have a pretty accurate idea of what I'm going through. It's confusing, tantalizing, and probably fleeting. I certainly understand why he unwittingly "divorced" the family so long ago, and we can never pretend to be close just because of biology. It'll be interesting to see what unfolds, if anything.

Hugs,
Betty

Kacey said...

It sounds like your BB is just as shy as you are about family relationships. He reached out to you and I hope you do wind up with a good relationship. We need family...in the end, they are still in our blood and hopefully in our hearts. I am one of five kids and there are only two of us left..... it gives me such a funny feeling. (I feel like an orphan.)

Lynilu said...

Betty, I know it is hard for you to see yourself as others do, but I'm putting my money on the fact that your brother saw what we see in you, all those things everyone said above. You're obviously a loving person with a kind heart, a caring mother, and I'll also bet he was very pleased to see you and meet The Child.

BTW, we all have dysfunction in our families. It is what it is!

Betty said...

Dear Kacey,

Yes, I can imagine that it would be awfully strange to be without 3 of your siblings. It makes me think I may as well appreciate mine while they are still here...

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Lynilu,

I suppose it's true that all families are dysfunctional in some ways. We just have to deal with it in the best way possible.

I'll never know what he thought so I may as well assume the best.

Hugs,
Betty

Swishy said...

I have no doubt that he loved you. You don't go to Rite-Aid to buy a flashlight for just anyone :)

Betty said...

Dear Swishy,

You're right about Rite-Aid! And thanks for stopping by....

Hugs,
Betty

shankari said...

The amazing thing about reading your blog is that it makes me reflect so much on my own thoughts and feelings.

I have had such a relationship with my BB - he passed out of school the year I joined - so now I can understand his feelings as a 17 year old having a baby sis, but then the distance can never be wished away. Just occ. bridges across the distance may be possible though - and I say this to myself as much as to you!

Glad to hear of the job being revived.

Loving Annie said...

Good Saturday evening to you, Betty ! Glad that the job situation is safe :)
How is your weekend going ?

(M)ary said...

wow. i would say he is trying to make up for not being there for you. not that flashlights and batteries will fix the past, but in his small way it seems like he is trying.

Loving Annie said...

Good Tuesday morning Betty ! How are you doing ? How is The Child ? Is school going okay for him ?

Thank you for visiting and commenting on my new cooking/restaurant/recipe blog - you are a sweetheart !

Betty said...

Dear Shankari,

I like what you say about the distance having a bridge that maybe can be crossed once in a while. That's a good way to look at it!

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Annie,

Yes, things are better now that the job situation is in good shape. I think I was lucky.

Your new blog is fun, and I imagine it will catch on like wildfire!

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Mary,

I agree with you. The flashlights were highly symbollic, or at least I choose to make them that way......

Hugs,
Betty

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