Crazy-ass family

You just can't make this stuff up

Friday, December 02, 2005

My Brother, The Author

I picked on Jeff a lot when we were kids. And when Jen was old enough, we ganged up on him and picked on him together. Mostly, we were mean. Sure, there were moments of solidarity, and there was never any physical abuse (unless you count some pretty intense tickle torture), but mostly Jeff was an outcast within the family.

It wasn't like that from the beginning. When Jeff was born, I remember looking at his fat little cheeks, and the way his thick eyelashes lay on those cheeks as he slept, and feeling my stomach flip and my heart skip a beat. Looking back, and with the experience I have now, I know it was a maternal love I found that day. At four, I wanted him to be my baby.

But he was Mom's. And, despite her denial, he was clearly the favourite from day one. It's ok; I'm not jealous anymore! Neither is Jen. But back then, I was in turmoil over the displacement of love. Jeff was cherished and doted on. He was an easy baby; quiet and sweet, and Jen and I were loud and opinionated, and WOW did we act out when we were feeling a little needy for some attention.

So, the favouritism is the root of why Jeff was picked on so much. The other reason is that he was such an easy target. Always docile, never confrontational, he was the perfect person to take out some emotional angst on. As the oldest, I was blamed for Jen and Jeff's misbehaviour, but Jeff felt my wrath later...and it was worse than Mom's any day.

I'm so sorry for that, Jeff.

But that maternal love for my brother has never been quelled, which may explain why he's lived with me for the majority of the time he's been away from home. He's been through a lot in this life, and the obstacles held to him may have seemed insurmountable to some...but he is beating them. He makes the decision every day to live his life instead of curl up and wait as it passes. And I am so proud!

Two nights ago, I ordered his first book. It's not a piece of fluff; it's about 600 pages long, and it's complex. But the boy can write, and I'm so excited to finally hold the finished work in my hands and read it in printed form. No, he hasn't been picked up by a publisher yet; he's got his book on Lulu, where it can be downloaded or printed by interested readers. But it will be picked up! I know it will. You know what the coolest part is? He's got two more finished. He's starting on the fourth and final book of the series now.

Somehow, when I was a little girl, I convinced myself that I was better than Jeff. Maybe it was because it felt like others thought he was better than me...a protection thing. Sadly, that sort of stuck with me. It was always natural to act as though I was superior to him. It lessened over the years, although the tendency toward competition between the two of us is still going strong.
Last year, Jeff went through a series of life-changing events, and I had an epiphany: Jeff is NOT just my baby brother. He is a separate person, and independant entity in this world. I could not hold on to him and protect him anymore. My superiority complex, or what was left of it, dissolved. I am an observer of his life now, and an admirer. Jeff isn't just my kid brother; he's my friend. And he's a damn fine human being all around.

Crap. I guess Mom was right.


At 3:26 PM, Anonymous TreeBob said...

I feel the warmth and intelligence when I look into those eyes Jeff. Can't wait to read your book!

At 5:13 PM, Blogger deepoet said...

Such a civilized, smart-looking young lad.


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