My brother called last night to tell me he's moving into a new house about a mile away from my aunt and uncle. I am so excited for him, I almost cried. This particular brother makes a lot of my family pull their hair out because he can be so difficult, but I've always had a soft spot for him and could cry right now just thinking about his struggles.
I think I've always felt bad for his position in our family. He's the middle child-- not that every middle child gets jipped, but I think in his case he kind of did. Our oldest brother was a firecracker of emotions and downright mean for a good part of our childhood. They both played competitive sports and even though Mike has/had a laid-back, carefree personality about just about everything in life, Andy is/was quite the opposite. He really taunted Mike and wanted him to be competive with him. This often led to bloody noses, black eyes, and over-turned living room furniture (which is funny NOW). But he forced Mike out of who he was as a child-- an easy going, peace maker.
I was the youngest, and the only girl. I was probably a brat and whined a lot. But I was taken care of when my parents split up. Yes, it stunk that I had to move to a new school for the last 2 years of high school, but I was with my mother and she made me feel safe.
Mike graduated from high school that year and went off to college in Ohio. Andy was already in college (where my dad now taught) and living in Florida.
I've just always felt like Mike got left behind. From that point on, he's had no "home". He doesn't know where to go to feel safe, so he fills his days and nights with work. Occasionally he visits Mom on a weekend and they always have a really nice time together and he makes an effort to open up to her. But then the weekend ends and he goes back to his single, work-filled life.
I was thrilled to hear the excitement in his voice last night when he called to say he would be living so close to family. He really needs this. It just so happens that we are headed up for the night, so he's coming over for dinner, which makes me feel really good. I want Mike to feel loved and safe. I want him to feel like he is part of our family-- everyone deserves that!
I'm sick and tired of the rest of our family talking badly about him and not taking the time to really think about where he's been that has led him to be so distant. (There is MUCH more to this story than you guys care to read, I am sure!) We have a small family and there is no reason why we can't give everyone the special attention that they need to thrive and feel surrounded by unconditional love. Mike is a good guy with an awesome heart. But my family needs to take the time to understand him and think like him.
Hearing him talk about his future neiece or nephew proves to me, without a doubt, that he is starving for a family to love and be loved by. I really hope this move can help us all be a little closer.