On Friday, my husband and I spent the evening at my parents with my sister, brother, and future sister-in-law. The typical turkey dinner was prepared, and gifts were exchanged by the Christmas tree. It was rather enjoyable, and I hope we can keep it up year after year.
My immediate family does not typically have time to get together like that around the holidays. My brother has a job which can require him to work all seven days of the week, and varying hours. His fiancée helps manage a retail store, and her hours range as a result. My sister is in university, and works part time on the weekend. My mom is always off Sundays, but can work Saturdays. My dad and my husband are usually off on the weekends, provided there’s no overtime or last minute work to do. (I have a ton of ‘free’ time, so I am never the issue for scheduling.)
Add that in with the dislike siblings have for each other, and magic just seems to happen, doesn’t it?
I have an amazing relationship with my sister though. We have ups and downs, but in general we get one another and don’t mind hanging out just the two of us. In fact we often help each other out in rougher situations. It is nice we got over that rough patch all siblings seem to have.
However my brother and I don’t have a great relationship as of yet. When they moved, I helped out. I lent them our fake Christmas tree and some lights to have some holiday joy in their house. I try my damnedest not to annoy him or send him on a war path. I slip up every now and then, but I try. He just doesn’t get me quite yet or doesn’t care. Hard to say.
While I am 5-6 years apart in age from my sister, I am only 1 year and 10 months apart from my brother. I am also the older one, and ultimately we ended up a grade apart through school. I believe the closeness of our age is one of the biggest reasons we don’t get along. His friends are around our age, and don’t mind me at all, too. (Doesn’t help that I am on the weirder side of the scale.)
Anyways I went into our immediate family’s Christmas full of anxiety about messing it up, and starting a fight by accident. Thankfully it didn’t happen, but if I tried to tease my brother or offer help, he became defensive. It was hard to enjoy all of us being together when he seemed to go for blood with his verbal attacks.
He tends to insult what I am doing with my life, (no respect for the arts), or my house (which I maintain almost entirely by myself). These are obviously sore spots for me since (like every other writer, I’m sure), I doubt my life choice from time to time, and struggle with the burden it puts on my husband. Plus, I was raised to care about how others perceive me, and to keep a super clean/maintained house on all fronts.
Thus his barbed comments sting, and I try to brush them off, but… Deep down, it kills me that he refuses to see the truth of things, or ignores it. He also doesn’t seem to care how our ‘fights’ hurt our parents. I am told one day it will change, but it sure feels like it won’t right now.
Anyways, I know every family has their struggles, and not everyone will always get along within one. Just remember to pick your battles, and the time and place where they will be. It can be tough, but it typically works out for the better.
I gave my brother a Christmas card with a personally note from me. I’ll admit it was passive aggressive, but I hope it is whittling down whatever his issues are with me bit by bit.