Not a day goes by that I don’t think of the kids (my siblings). In my mind I usually refer to them as the ‘boys and Janna’ or just “My Brothers” now Janna is included in this statement of ‘My Brothers’ since it’s in my mind. But when speaking aloud I always try to make sure I refer to her as my ‘sister’ since I know how hard it can be surrounded by too many boys and just being overlooked. I love each kid (young and grown) blood or not and would happily set anyone who thinks there is a difference due to biology between us straight (and none to nice either). In this post I’m talking about my ‘brothers’ and not the ‘kids’ because I’m mostly referring to Jackie, Jeremy and a bit of Jesse.
With the younger children I have a more mentor/caregiver relationship than a traditional big sister. I suspect this will change as they continue to grow and find themselves. Hopefully both sides can ease into this new way of being gracefully… With Jackie and Jeremy and more in the middle with Jesse, I have a much more “older” sister relationship than feeling like I need to take care of them. And for the most part I can rein in my – oldest child – must protect the kids – feelings and just treat them more as equals (or as much as the oldest sister can..) when we spend time together. I still find the need to delegate since I usually know what they should be doing or not doing…but even that I have tried to give them a chance first. And since they still speak to me and send me Birthday cards I guess I haven’t completely failed *smile*.
I miss my Brothers (Jackie, Jeremy & Jesse(littles too just in a different way)) quite often. We always were very close knit group. But right after Mom was killed; which usually brings people closer or drives them apart, we no longer had the usual ‘sibling rivalry’ that most large families have. I don’t know how it was when I wasn’t around, but for me no one talked bad about my Brothers (littles too) even if they were right in what they were saying. Because I knew deep down, my wonderful Brothers were trying their damnedest to do what was right. But how can one not screw up in such a time? Sometimes Jeremy would leaves the house for days leaving me with a bunch of kids I couldn’t help, a Father who couldn’t help himself, a cousin who shouldn’t have been there and Jackie who couldn’t control his emotions let lone help. As much as their lashes at me hurt, I never once blamed them. I couldn’t. They were my Brothers. And until the day our world ended they were still little boys, coming into being young men. Neither had more than a summer job, both were still in high school (poor Jackie graduated shortly after she was killed) their lives of teenage boys was in full swing and nowhere near to dealing with the younger kids or the farm. So even with their hurtful words and actions, once the kids were in bed and I’d cleaned (probably alone) for the day. I put all the hurts and unfairness away and sat by the fire they had made out front under the big tree listening to whomever’s car was parked nearby playing music and just be with them. Often little was said. Sometimes a lot was said in a few words. Under the grief of what had happened, there was a more real fear of loosing another one of us. Somebody overcome by it all and forgetting that we still needed him/her (god knows we all faced that demon once or twice that summer). So while the words were short and to the point, the was an awareness of the group of us as a whole. When someone was particularly having a bad spell (not that it was easy to tell sometimes, were all pretty strong and don’t let our pain burden the others) without words we knew and in each his own way made sure that the one feeling dark knew that we knew and were there to do what we could. Everybody watched everyone’s backs. Very rarely did anyone go anywhere alone, and if someone was in distress most the time everyone came with.
Later after summer we all very busy, making choices, trying to figure out where to go and what to do. But every time I got to hang out with My brothers, I felt the closeness of our love for each other and that regardless of what was going on, we always made sure the other ones were okay. And all this time we hardly talked about the day when the world ended. Because even though we wanted to help one another, we didn’t know how to in the face of our own pain. And even knowing that, we still had each other to make sure everyone was okay. All of us helpless to what our world had cruelly done to us, loved each other enough that even when everything was unknown and the world crumbling we still had each other.
When I first moved away from the Farm I was very worried that the older kids would hate me for walking out on them, and that the younger kids would feel like their only caregiver was leaving them. I felt so selfish for making my decisions to move. I had tried and tried to help the kids, help with the farm and house. But in family politics I was voted as unworthy to raise the kids and run the house and help overseeing the farm. So other than being there, as part of the problem, I left. The Little kids hated me for a while. Some may still. Jackie and Jeremy seem to understand and didn’t harbor ill feelings (none that they showed me anyway). But even after that whole mess, my Brothers they were. Worried, but still they loved me and came to visit and made a point to see me.
This year for my Birthday Jackie sent me the most amazing card. And Jeremy (with his wonderful girlfriend’s “El” help) sent me a few small gifts that only people who know me would understand. The kids in their own ways sent me hand written (and come crafted) cards with the important things they wanted to tell me (Birthdays have always been a big family thing in the past). I cried when I opened my box of 12 letters. (I really don’t cry much)
I miss them more than I can find words to express. And I hate, HATE that life is as such that with wanting to see them with all my heart, I can’t go back to the farm. It kills me inside just to write that sentence. And before I get outraged questions of why I can’t go back, let me explain that I am the reason I can’t go back yet. I don’t think I could handle it and still be the person they deserve to see. My guilt for not being able to see them because of me shreds my heart. I hate myself for not being strong enough to deal with the memories so I can see my family. I can only hope that one day soon I will be able to. Because my Brothers are the best, they mean the world to me (littles too), I’d do anything I could possibly make myself do for them. Hence why I feel just fucking awful for not being strong enough to make myself go back for a visit. I’m the one failing them here.
I hope they can forgive me in time, I don’t know that I can forgive myself so I would understand. Because they are my world. They are all I have left that won’t just drift away as times change. And I love them. They’re my Brothers.
I am now an emotion mess after trying to get this bit of writing to make sense from my distraught mind…