This blog is a journal, a reflection of my moods, my woes, my joys, my recollections, life in Australia and random blitherings. It's honest and it's personal. I received some sage advice from a friend not to write about family or things personal and whilst I understand where he's coming from, that defeats the purpose of maintaining this record. However, I need to be mindful of the effect such writing might have on others.
This blog is not intended to amuse/entertain others although if this is a side product of it's existence, I am delighted. I want something for posterity no matter how humble. I don't structure it's contents or rewrite. I rarely edit anything other than spelling errors and it's written in the moment, from the heart and sometimes before my brain is in gear. Stream of consciousness without the pretention so sometimes, just sometimes, I am over critical and hurt someone's feelings. For this I'm sorry. I have had contretemps with BabySis, a misunderstanding combined with a black mood. Fortunately, because we are close, we have been able to sort it out and remain close. It struck me that I can be vitriolic about my siblings and despite being a positive and optimistic person for the most part, I am also a cynic and can and do articulate the worst in people. It's so easy to be critical, especially if I'm succumbing to other pressures. "You always take it out on the ones you love" and what might remain pillow talk if I had more than a labrador to talk to in bed, is sometimes expressed here. However, this weekend I have enjoyed the best of my family. So this is a tribute to some of them because without them I am nothing and completely alone.
BabyBro is a wonderful neighbour. He respects my privacy. Sure we borrow milk and coffee and tomato paste and soya sauce occasionaly and sometimes forget to put the garbage out or face off after a few to many but we don't interfere with each other's lives. We trust each other, we share our emotions, our opinions, no matter how different. Our children have grown up together, attended the same schools. We share financial issues, personal issues. He is strong willed, in control, often funny. He rarely sits still. He has rewired our outdoor area, refurbished our pool room. We use his Barbecue, tables and chairs, we shade under his massive pool umbrella he shares expenses without the blink of an eye. We delight in twighlight drinks in the summer whilst dipping our feet in the pool. We enjoy spontaneous lunches and dinners together, we've holidayed together, celebrated and mourned together and by and large, we get on extremely well. He is a good husband, a great provider and a loving father. He respects my children and their achievements and is a noble and moral person. These are his strengths and I applaud them in him.
BabySis is possibly the most cheerful person I have ever met. She's bubbly, chatty, funny, irreverent. She has impeccable taste and is the life of the party. She is intelligent although often self deprecating. She is well read and more openly emotional than me. She is a loving mother and a supportive wife. She doesn't let the anal get her down. Where I scream like a banshee and can't relax until the house is clean and the washing done and benches free of clutter . . . she spends time fund raising for the school, reading to and playing with her kids, working on her friendships, because the other stuff isn't as important. She feeds and waters my horses, she makes me coffee every Saturday morning and takes the time to chat about children, life and the things that matter. She loves my kids. She loves her family. She is married to ThePlummer who also values the principal of family and all it entails. Both appreciate the importance of siblings and the notion of family in spite of our failings. She is forgiving, very forgiving. Especially when I'm bossy or controlling and believe me, I can be. She is my confidant, my rock and my shoulder to cry on as I am hers and the nine year gap between us is nothing now that we have reached maturity.
HippyBro is a difficult one. I love him but I rarely see him. He's entrenched in an alternative lifestyle and has no need for the closeness of family. He's always been the one running ahead, the one squirming out of an embrace but that's just him. And though we have grown apart, he was wonderful when my boy was a child. He took every neice and nephew to the snow each year when their turn arose. He spent hours doused in mud from mountain bike riding with DrummerBoy. He bought thoughtful gifts for birthdays and Christmas. He babysat along with Grandpa whilst I went to Europe with ClareBear for six weeks spending hours playing cards and monopoly. And despite the distance between us now, the importance of that involvement during DrummerBoy's formative years was invaluable.
So in a nutshell these are just some of the strengths of my siblings. They are not perfect, neither am I but without them, I am not complete. I guess it's true, families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts. Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often taking our family for granted, complaining about their failings rather than focussing on their strengths.
Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible -- the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.
-- Virginia Satir