I am not my siblings’ keeper. It took me 29 years, but I finally feel free of that burden. They have jobs and partners and dependents and bills and obligations and stories of their own. I feel light and free and much more whole than I have in a long time. Feeling like, whatever I thought I had to work for before is fixed and complete and done. That ship has sailed. I can be here and I can be a support, but I am not a foundation brick. I can wiggle and shift and move without the whole structure falling through. I am a sideline, not a patch of grass on the main playing field. We will be okay. We are grown and will keep growing. Not all the stories you’re told about others and before others and in the midst of others are truly how those stories were lived. Not always how they were meant to be originally told. We each have a perception and I forget how easily that can be shaped and molded. The forest for the tree and all that shit.
This might not sound very revealing or freeing or deep. But I was raised to hold them on my back. I was raised to keep them in line, to keep them safe and smart and happy. I worked as much as I could as a full-time student and a part-time teenager to pay my bills so that they would have more. I limited my portions at dinner. I skipped second helpings. I came home after school or after my second job to help them with their homework or pick up their birthday cakes or drive them to wherever they needed to be. I wasn’t as pleasant or as open as I should have been, but I was reliable and strong and vocal about my love for them. I never wasted a second because I didn’t want them to doubt the lengths that I would go for them. I drive south and they defer to me. Suddenly, I am making decisions for the group and cooking a 3 course meal and feeling that mama bear big sister lion rage well up in my chest. This is what’s best for you and you will do it. So much of their burden has shaped my life and my personality and my perception of their/our experiences. To step beyond that burden and to turn and look at them as something separate from me, something powerful and capable and different…I am giddy and almost delirious in response. Just the realization of my particular conditioning and how deep that seeded in my blood. It’s all relative when you’re relatives. I am a learner and I soaked up my teachings. Now I have to unlearn them. Now I have to see us grow. Apart but on the same tree.