[If you are new to this series, I am posting a series of blogs on significant events in my life called My Story. This is Part 3.]
My life was generally normal for the first 6-years. I came from a single parent family, and unlike many kids with divorced parents, I rarely saw my Father. I remember small moments where I felt ripped-off, or didn't understand why my family looked so different, but generally I barely noticed the absence of my father. It had always been just my Mom and I, and anything different would feel abnormal to me.
Still, I did long for a "regular" family at times. I was always fascinated by people with siblings and thought that brothers and sisters seemed really fun.
When I was almost 7-years-old, my life, and my family completely changed. This part of my story was a life-changer. It's also something that I rarely talk about, and many friends don't even really know this about my life.
When I was almost 7 my mother met a nice widowed man with 2 children. There was a boy who was 7-months older than me, and a girl who was 4-years older than me. For a few months we would spend time together, going to movies, or to dinner. I really liked spending time with my new friends, especially the 7-year-old boy. My mom's friend was very kind to her, and from what I remember, maybe even a little romantic. My mom deserved some romance, she deserved a nice man that loved her and cherished her.
I'm not sure how much time went by, but eventually my mom and her friend were engaged. The man and his two children moved to our city and bought a big house that we could all live in. My mom and I left our townhouse and joined the family in their big house. We were now a family of 5. I loved my new house. It felt like a mansion to me with 4 big bedrooms, a big yard, and lots of extra rooms. I spent a lot of time exploring with my new brother and sister. The 3 of us enjoyed spending time together, and although transitioning our family wasn't perfectly smooth, I truly loved my brother and sister.
I had an especially close bond with my brother. I have never experienced a love like this, between a brother and sister who are both so close in age. We related to each other in so many ways. We attended the same school. We were in the same grade. We even enjoyed similar things. I remember spending long days reading books to my brother while he played video games. We just had a great friendship and comradeship.
My timeline regarding these events is a little mixed up, so I'm not sure how much time passed, but soon I noticed that something wasn't right. I loved my brother and sister, but I didn't have those feelings towards my step-dad. I loved my mother, and I knew she wasn't being treated the way that she deserved. She wasn't happy, and really, neither was I. It was such a long time ago, and I'm still confused about how I really felt during this time. I think I was confused about how I really felt even during that time. There is no denying that I finally had a family, which is something I had longed for. But, I think I also learned that having a family of 5 is a lot more complex than having a family of 2. Especially when you're blending two pre-existing families.
When I was 8-years-old my mother and I moved out of the big house. All I remember about that day is hugging my brother, and tears. I felt relieved as we pulled out of the driveway. I remember feeling confused over the next few months. This was the first time that I experienced a broken heart.
We lived with my Grandparents again for a few months. There is something about my Grandparents house that heals a broken heart. I can only speak for myself, but I know it healed mine. My mom and I shared a bedroom, and slept in the same bed together for many months. There was something about sleeping next to my mom and not having to share her with anyone that helped ease the pain too.
Life at home was much more relaxed and I know that in my heart I was happier away from the big house than I was living in it. Life at school was a different story. I'd like to think that my brother loved me as much as I loved him. I'd like to think that he even thought of me as his sister, at some point. I'd like to think that his heart hurt just as much as mine. But, he was a boy, and he had his own life story that wasn't so simple. At school, we didn't speak. When I told people that he was my brother (because I still thought of him that way), he denied that we had ever lived together. He was trying to erase the relationship that we shared, and in a lot of ways, I guess we both did.
Seeing him every day for the next 5-years was difficult and painful. I wanted us to still be family. I wanted us to still play together and laugh together. Instead, we barely spoke to one another. When I graduated from Elementary School and started High School we parted ways. It was hard not seeing him every day. I missed just seeing him. I haven't seen my brother in 8-years. And yes, I still call him my brother.
I wasn't sure if I should share this part of my story. Really, it was only about 2-years of my life. But, those two years were profoundly influential. I think about the family of 5 that I once belonged to quite often. It was a broken, imperfect family. But, there were two young children that turned the imperfections into something beautiful. For a short while, these two children existed together, almost as one. We confided in each other. We laughed together. We shared an unspoken alliance. I'm sad that I lost my brother. I'm sad that I don't know him, and that he doesn't know me. But, I will always remember him and in my heart he will always be my brother and childhood best friend.
TO BE CONTINUED...