Family dynamics can often be so tricky. Each of us has our own interpretation of what is what and sadly our versions can be so vastly different leaving little room to find common ground. It’s hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and even harder to walk around in them.

My family has always been sort of disjointed. My brother and I have played very different roles since childhood. He was the sports hero and dutiful son, and I was, perhaps still am, the kind blunderer. As is common he was highly favored by our maternal grandfather, for whom my brother was the son he never had, and by my mother. My father and I had more of a kinship in that we both sort of floundered. Despite having many talents, neither of us ever really found our niche.

My brother and I have always had a strained relationship. On many levels we’re close, yet there’s been a long standing of contention and misunderstanding. We’re so different in our approach to life, to people, and to each other. I’ve disappointed him since we were kids. I embarrassed him in high school when I got into punk rock and changed my style to reflect the scene. I’ve never quite measured up to his successes, and have had a great many financial missteps that he sees as failings. While I eventually settled into a fairly successful career before my son was born, seeming to finally get my feet on the ground, I had to give it up to care for Cole in the early years and the absence left me with a decent job but not the dynamic career I once had.   He’s been successful in the financial community, realizing early on that this was where his talents would make him soar. I’m proud of his achievements.

Me & My LIttle Bro (1968)

We do share a strong devotion to our families and both have what can be considered successful marriages. Life and marriage goes in waves but we’ve both managed to ride them out and both have raised what I consider to be pretty fabulous children. My two nieces are two of the greatest joys in my life, and definitely the sunshine in his.

Sadly, he and I still seem unable to communicate well or provide each other with the support that we both deserve. The clash in our approach to life and to each other still gets in our way and we end up reverting to anger and button pushing. It’s a cycle that’s gone on since we were kids that even at 49 (him) and 50 (me) we can’t manage to break. I wish we could learn to talk to and listen to one another in a more positive manner, and to find a way to accept and understand each other. For better or worse, we’re family and we’re stuck with each other. I just wish it could be be better…

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