My brother is here. We decided to surprise our mom. He told me about a month ago that he was coming out here to see his friend G who lives 2 hours from me, and they were going to a motorcycle show about 40 minutes from me. So — he wasn’t really coming to see US, he was coming to see G and motorcycles and making a side trip to see us. He NEVER comes to see us. The last time he came, was before my doggie Cleo died of cancer — she had been through radiation and chemo to no avail…I had just gone through two failed IUIs and I was having a really rough time. Cleo was given a clean bill of health and 5 days after her last treatment, I checked her throat (she had oral melanoma) and I could see that the tumors were growing back with a vengeance.  There was nothing more we could do. My brother’s ‘wife’ sent him to see me. I am certain it wasn’t his idea — he would NEVER think of it. But I talked to my SIL and then two days later my brother called to say he was coming to visit…then it was the SIL that bought the plane tix, etc.

Anyway, that was about a year and a half ago. My brother lives in NYC with his evil “wife” (I put it in quotes because they never got married but had a huge “commitment ceremony” that looked so much like a wedding, I am sure half of the guests were fooled). He claims he doesn’t have enough vacation time to come out here, but (for example) they were just in New Orleans for Jazz Fest and later this month they are going to the Galapagos islands for 9 days (SO JEALOUS!). They were in Costa Rica for New Years and France last Thanksgiving. SO….anyway…

My brother isn’t into family. He is childless by choice (his wife — not so much). He told his wife when they were first dating that he NEVER wanted kids. She thought he would change his mind. She is now 43 and I think has finally come to terms that kids are not in her future. But she stayed with him knowingly — she KNEW that he didn’t want kids. There were a handful of years where I was waiting for a big announcement that she was pregnant…I really thought she was have an “ooops” on purpose. But it hasn’t happened and now that she is turning 44 pretty soon, I seriously doubt it will happen (well, with my luck it may still happen). I don’t know how she got past it. For the first 3 or 4 years she talked about kids constantly — she would say she dreamt she was pregnant, and at one point she was researching adoption until my brother said, ‘DUH…I don’t want kids!’ I don’t think I would have married TW if he told me straight up that he didn’t want kids. It would have been a deal breaker. That is all moot now, of course…but anyway.

I invited my parents over for dinner a month ago. They are here from France until mid-June and they are such social butterflies it is almost impossible to get an “appointment” with them. After my brother called to say he would be in town, I called my dad and we conived about surprising my mom. So my dad was in on it. Yesterday was the big day. My brother’s friend G drove him down from the motorcycle show, and he arrived at about 4pm. I made a big dinner – turkey and 3-bean chili, cornbread, home made caesar salad, home-made guac and salsa, and we had all the fixin’s like sour cream, cheese, chopped onion, cilantro. And for dessert I made this chocolate truffle cake, but I drizzled it with raspberry jam and sprinkled tons of slivered almonds and fresh raspberries on top. Ugh, if you look at the recipe…it is no wonder I have gained 5 pounds in the last few months!!!

So my brother arrived and we drank some beers and hung out, finishing dinner. Then my mom and dad arrived at around 7pm. I hid my brother in the back room and sat my parents down with a drink. Then I said, “Oh! Mom — I have an early mother’s day present for you! Wait one sec” and I went to get my brother. I pushed him into the room and BOY was my mom surprised.  But then it just got annoying. My mom has nothing nice to say about my brother. Just that he causes her so much heart ache. Because he never visits and he rarely calls and he claims he has no vacation time but travels all over the world. That his priorities are fucked up. But the minute she is in the same room as him, she WORSHIPS him. And I disappear. I am the one that stayed in our home-town. But when my parents realized that my brother wasn’t coming back, they decided that there was nothing keeping them here (ummm…hello?) so they moved to France. I am the one they turn to anytime they need help. I am the one that talks to them at least once a week when they are in France and e-mails almost every day. My brother? He does shit. All he does is complain about them, and he sees them maybe once every two years. So watching my parents fawn all over him is so hard. I feel really jealous. He is their golden boy, no matter what he does. And somehow, my parents’ behavior always suprises me. And then so does my reaction.



6 Responses to “Surprise!”

  1. Heather Says:

    Yes, my sister is the favorite child also. I’m always surprised by how upset I get even though I have known this for years.

    I’m sorry. Family sucks sometimes.

  2. Kenna Says:

    I think in situations like that we will always react in a way that will surprise us. I have the same situations with my family and my lil sister. (I’m oldest, she’s next.)

    I’m sorry, Heather is right, family really does suck sometimes.

  3. Joonie Says:

    Family dynamics can be strange and unfair at times. There always seems to be that favorite child that does little, but gets all the attention. Not having children myself, I’m not sure why it’s that way. I don’t think that it’s because because the parents necessary love him/her more. Just that they probably miss him more.

  4. bluehairedwoman Says:

    ok well my comments are still not appearing… if you have to approve them first, just publish one of them, lol!

  5. Kirsten Eide Says:

    Hey, hope you’re feeling okay after your visit from the “golden child”! I’ve tagged you over at my blog if you have the time.

  6. Suzanna Catherine Says:

    Ah, yes, family! I identify with the the Golden Boy syndrome. When I read about your brother it brought to mind a poem I read years ago.

    This is called THE GOOD DAUGHTER and it was written by Judith Viorst, taken from her book HOW DID I GET TO BE 40 & OTHER ATROCITIES, published by Simon and Schuster, 1976.

    She’s been a good daughter, my cousin Elaine
    (In contrast to Walter her brother,
    Who showed no respect), And she kept her room clean,
    And she never talked fresh to her mother.
    In college she tried, while maintaining straight A’s,
    To write twice a week or more often
    (Unlike that bum Walter, who just called collect
    And with news that drove nails in their coffin).

    The boys Elaine went with were all that her folks
    And their gin club and swim club expected.
    (The girls Walter went with her folks only prayed
    That he wouldn’t come home from infected.)
    Above-the-waist petting was all she allowed
    Till the day she was led to the altar.
    Yes, good is the word for my cousin Elaine.
    (God knows what the word is for Walter.)

    She’s been a good daughter, my cousin Elaine,
    As well as a good wife and mother.
    She promised her folks that she’s taking them in
    When they’re old. (Could they go with her brother?)
    On how to raise children and which car to buy
    She accepts their suggestions, and gladly.
    (That Walter, believe me, you can’t tell a thing.
    He responds to advice very badly.)

    Elaine, when a card should be sent, sends a card,
    And a birthday is never forgotten.
    (That Walter can’t even remember the day
    That his mother was born. Is that rotten?)
    At forty Elaine can look back on a life
    Where she followed the rules to the letter
    And won the esteem of her mother and dad,
    Except — they like Walter much better.

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