I experienced a true first yesterday. At least I think it was, nowhere in my memory do I recall it ever happening before.
On a whim, I decided to visit my extended family. Sunday morning I received a call from my 'baby' brother. Another family crises had cropped up that he wanted my input on.
I decided it was time to visit my parents, and whoever else might be around.
Upon arriving at the home of my parents, I found no one home except for my father, and my one year old great niece. We do not have a lot to talk about,my father and I, so Miss Daughter and I sat on the sofa, watching a movie with him, (the end of The Fantastic Four, I think).
Feeling rather antsy, I was unable to sit there for long, and my daughter and niece were happily getting reacquainted with a game of peek-a-boo. The three seemingly content, I decided to visit my sister at the small local tavern she spends her weekends at working as the bartender. (One cool thing, she introduced me to all of her friends, and they thought I was the younger sister!....Woo hoo...preening, a teeny tiny bit! She is three years younger than I.)
The tavern was quite busy for a Sunday afternoon, but she had a moments here and there in which we could talk. And, talk we did. We covered a lot of territory, in those small amounts of time. Her problems, and my most recent decision.
She surprised me, the last time I had spoken to her about my life, she had been very negative in regards to the decision I am facing. This day though, she was very positive, in fact, what advice she gave me was all in the nature of letting me know that she would be there for me, to help me get through it all. Her view, her hope, being that even though she knows it will be very difficult, and may take years, that someday, my husband and I may come out the other side amicably, or at least able to share in the lives of our children with a sense of friendship.
Of course, she being who she is, we did mostly discuss her problems, but that is OK, I am used to that, very aware that it will happen. I am their earth mother, I am the one who doesn't try to solve the problems, I listen, commiserate with them, and desperately try to point how the many emotions at play in the crises of the moment are skewing their reactions to the problem, (there always seems to be a crisis brewing), trying to get them to take a step back into rational thought. (how come I can't do that for myself?)
Encouraging them to see, there is always a solution, a solution that they will eventually find. But I was also very pleased to learn that she has decided her daughter is so important, that she has decided to stop drinking. In times past when I would make a brief stop there to see her, she always had a bottle of beer or a mixed drink set to the side for herself, this time, a bottle of water.
We had a nice time, I had the opportunity to observe her in her world, not the 'family' world. She was amazing, even in the midst of one of her woeful stories to me, she was still fully capable at keeping the 15 or so customers happy.
While there, my youngest brother called me. When he found I was at the tavern, instead of the home of my parents, he told me that he and my older brother were on their way. (I am beginning to believe there truly are serendipitous moments in our lives, moments that karma intervenes at just the right time, this was a time I needed them, yet they did not know that)
They walked in, we exchanged hugs of hello, and moved to a table, one in which my sister could join us, each time she had a few moments to spare.
My first. I realized while sitting there with my two brothers and the occasional visit of my sister, that we have never ever done that before. The four of us, sitting, talking, laughing, even sharing a few tears, normally, my parents or one or more of our children is usually with us, it has never been just the four of us with the privacy to just be us.
But this time it was just us, as adults. I enjoyed it very much, and I could tell they did too.
I am always the observer, so I did notice that we still 'played' our family defined roles to an extent, but that those roles also were not fully evidenced. It was an enlightening experience in many ways.
My oldest brother has always been the most materialistic of us all. When he was wealthy, all that money could buy, was purchased by him. In the hopes I suppose that he would feel happier.
Didn't work of course, but until tonight, I did not realize that he had learned that lesson.
At one point as were talking of then, now, tomorrow, he said, "With age, I have finally realized I have no wisdom."
My reply, "Ah, dear brother, that is your wisdom, knowing that what you once thought you knew, is what you do not know, you are wise in knowing that you do not know."
He looked at me, I could see the thought process flicker across his face, "Did she just something profound?", then he laughed.
For the first time, I was open to both of my brothers concerning the state of my marriage. They were accepting. I was amazed! Two years ago, I had discussed my thoughts of divorce with my oldest brother, and he tried to talk me out of it, counseling me about the length of time I have been married, asking me, how I could give that up.
Last night though, he said nothing of the sort, he offered his support. He offered advice on the vile ugliness of divorce. And, when I tried to explain I had no wish for that to happen, both brothers vehemently chimed in, telling me I would not have that choice, as in a marriage, divorce also takes two. They were trying to convince me to be tougher. Telling me that I will not be able to waver, when my nurturing side wants to take over, that I must stand tough. Telling me that I needed to realize that I deserved happiness.
My youngest brother then had his own moment of profundity, "All four of us somewhere along the line, have decided that we do not deserve happiness. But we do, we do deserve it. You deserve it, accept that."
The moments turned into several hours, we moved away from the problems of our lives, to just enjoying being there, four people with very strong ties, ties of blood, of shared pain, of shared memories, of shared joys, of shared laughter, of shared tears, of shared love.