Oh, brother?

So I have had intermittent issues with my brother for some time. Growing up, we were very close but for some reason, one I’m unaware of, things took a bad turn. I live four hours away but my sister-in-law’s family lives in the same city as I do. Besides that, I have been friends with her brother long before I’d had even met her. So it would seem that getting together would be easy. But of course, nothing is easy.

For some reason, my brother has a huge chip on his shoulder when it comes to my family. And I get that. Like many families, we have our shit and we’re far from functional.

Every time they come down to visit, there is a struggle to get more than two hours or so of time with them. Other than those two hours, the rest of the time is spent with her family. We are never invited. Sometimes they come and don’t even tell us. And then I will run into my friend and he’ll tell about some adventure he had with my niece and nephew.

I thought that when my brother has his first child, things would be better. It would give him some perspective. Not the case. I wrote him a letter about how I found it hurtful and wanted to spend time with him and his family. No response. Then again when his son was born, I hoped things would change again. When my son was born, I thought for sure, he would finally get it. That didn’t change anything. Really it only made it worse.

It made it worse because for a brief time, my brother was more responsive and inclusive. He would call me out of the blue to check in and they made time to see us. My brother never calls me. Ever. For example, if I call or text him, his wife responds. So a phone call was a big deal. Now things seem to be back to normal. I never hear from my brother, they never make time to come see us and his wife is the only one who will respond to me. It is all very depressing. I just don’t understand why they do it.

Every once in awhile, I will push the matter and try and get more time to see them. I think it’s very important for our children to interact and also for them to interact with their nephew. When I do push, I am met with sudden changes of plans or something has come up and I am given either less time or cut out completely. That is what has currently happened with their planned trip this weekend. I pushed back because the time allotted, on Sunday morning before they leave, we were busy. No plans the rest of the weekend, just Sunday morning. This has thrown the whole trip into chaos and now they’re not sure if they’re even coming or if they’ll have any time at all to see my family or my sister. Talk about depressing.

I really don’t know how I can make them understand how hurtful this all is, especially when it’s something that I’ve already explained to them. Obviously they did not understand the first time. It would be very easy for me to just cut them out completely and deal with the small amount of time that I get here or there but that’s not the kind of life I want to lead and it’s not the kind of relationship I want to have with them or the kind of relationship I want my son to have with his cousins and aunt and uncle. Whatever has happened is in the past, my brother is now an adult setting examples for his children on how to behave and interact with others. I find it very distressing that this is the path that he has chosen. In my opinion, grudges are a waste of time. They take so much time and energy just to remember what someone did to you a long time ago or some imagined wrong. Who wants to carry around that kind of baggage. God knows infertility is enough baggage for me to carry around for the rest of my life. I certainly won’t be adding any more if I can help it. That’s why I continue to struggle and reach out to them to try and form some sort of relationship. I want my son to know them. It would be much easier for me just to abandon them completely because they don’t live here and they make it so difficult. My in-laws are very responsive and very eager to be a part of our lives. Even my brother-in-law’s family, who is only related by marriage, are eager to be a part of our lives. They all live locally and we see them holidays and birthdays. My son will know them better and will always consider them family. That makes me sad because my own brother doesn’t seem interested.

Sorry for such a depressing post but this is been weighing on my mind  a lot lately. It is a problem that I cannot figure out a solution to. Something that just keeps coming back and I’m not really sure how to deal with it.  When we go to visit them where they live, our only purpose is to see them. I do not reach out to other friends from high school when I’m in town because I have come to see my family and that’s all I’m interested in. Even then, we are still excluded and many times have had to find something to do on a Saturday night because they have plans that they won’t change. Needless to say, this has made us visit them less often because it is very frustrating to drive four hours see someone who is in too busy to spend time with you. It is very frustrating because I’m sure that this only compounds the problem. I’m sure that they see the relationship as very one-sided because they come down here so often, even though they spend a very small fraction of their time with us. 

So here I sit, knowing that are coming down sometime this weekend but they won’t make any time to see us. I just don’t know what to do with that.

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