09 February 2006

Family: Oy

I have two brothers, both married, which means, in the retro way my family works, I rarely see them without my parents, and almost never without their wives. That's okay; I like their wives. But it's not the same thing as just hanging out with your brothers, you know?

My older brother (OB) lives in Boston and travels a fair amount. He comes to NYC maybe once every 2-3 months, and on those occasions, usually sends me email suggesting we have dinner. This is always the sequence (EW is for Excellent Walker, gettit?):

OB: Coming to town on the 10th, are you around for dinner?
EW: Sure, that'd be great.
OB: We may have to invite Mom and Dad. Last time they got pissed we didn't include them up front.
EW: Then don't tell them.
OB: Maybe. But they'll find out.
EW: Not if you don't tell them. Or tell them at the last minute and they won't be able to come.

A day later, I get a call from my mother.

"Your brother is coming into town on the 10th. Are you free for dinner?"

He always caves and tells them, always.

But then, I'm not so bright, either, because I usually admit that I knew OB was coming into town, and my mother wonders why I didn't tell her. I lie and say I forgot, which she knows is a lie because I never forget anything.

And no, saying "OB and I would like to have dinner alone" or anything to that effect, doesn't feel like an option.

Maybe it's wrong that I have so little problem lying by omission to my parents. Maybe it's wrong that their feelings would truly be hurt if my brother and I went out to dinner without them. But the OB and I don't have much of a relationship anymore, since we never see each other outside of family events. A one-on-one dinner every now and again would go a long way towards fixing that. My mother often says she wants her children to have real relationships with each other.

I love my family, really, I do.


Blogger tammara said...

You said that telling Mom you want OB to yourself for an evening is not an option, but you know it would be great for your relationship w/ him. Maybe she would react better to this than you're expecting? Moms are funny that way... He would need to arrange to see them separately if he's in town, of course, to placate their feelings.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Stuntmother said...

Oy. I hear your pain. I too have no problem lying by omission, and I think the habit grew up early as a way of protecting pieces of myself from parents who were somewhat -- I don't know, intrusive? Judgemental? Maybe both. I was thinking about what Abby wrote in comment on my blog about having to keep her blog PG and I think this is part of it. How we hide ourselves from our parents and I wonder why this is - and how some people escape this trap. I would like not to force my own into having to hide and yet I will try and respect that they might need to.

I would love you to be able to see OB without the APs. Drinks beforehand? Late drinks after (not so good when bed beckons)?

I also wonder what would happen if you asked your parents if you could have OB all to yourself. I know you don't feel that's an option, which I respect. Or what if OB knew how important it was to you? Arrgh. Argh. It's tough.

Oh and that glazed look thing? Exactly! You have it exactly right? We change how we talk to people by watching their faces, by reading their unspoken responses which is a good thing! And I think that writing on despite not knowing how bored, annoyed or angry a listener/reader is, is a challenge for me, who wants approval, who wants to be loved, stroked and made to feel okay. Because there's often not enough okay flowing from inside.

9:45 AM  

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