Friday, March 18, 2011

Time Marches On

I don't know about your family, but my family of "origin" is spread all across North America. My mother is dead and is buried in Alberta, my sister also lives in Alberta. I have a brother in Ontario, and a brother in Mississippi. I live in the nicest place of all, British Columbia. My siblings and father joke that "B.C." is short for "bring cash." It's kind of true. My dad's mailing address is in Ontario but he spends his life zigazagging from one of us kids to the other. We call him the Road Runner.

My sister lives only a mountain range away, and I am confident that going forward, I will see her and her family often. (Going backward, we lost a few years. Long story. Not important. Doesn't matter.) I saw her in October, and I expect to see her again at least twice this year. I haven't seen either of my brothers for a hell of a long time. It's feeling like it must be time for somebody to visit somebody, but nobody is making plans on the brother front. I am pretty sure that neither of them read my blog but if they did, here is what I would say to them.

Dear Brothers:

I hope you are both well. I miss you. I even cried yesterday while watching the video I posted of that Irish kid singing "Danny Boy" because, well, one of you is named Danny. I shed two tears because I missed you too, other brother whose name also begins with "D." Funny, I always thought we were unique because all four of our names began with "D" but actually, it's quite common for families to have the alphabet thing going on. Did you know that?

I look at this picture of you and of course I don't remember knowing you then. Maybe I wasn't even born. Woudn't I have been in the picture? I am sure I was around, as I think you would have been probably five and three respectively (left to right). That would have made me about a year old. Let's agree that I was about one. This would have been back in the day when you both thought having a baby sister was extremely interesting, especially one as cute as me. I remember Mom saying that when I was a baby the two of you would argue over who would get to push me in my baby carriage. I also remember that when she told that story so many years later one of you claimed you were actually fighting over who would push me down the stairs in my carriage. But I know you were kidding. (Right?)

I know that I was the worst pain in the ass of a sister as a sister could be when we were all in school and you were both just figuring out how to skip school. I don't know why I was such a little tattletale but I think it had something to do with getting attention. Remember that day you both played hooky and had some friends who also skipped school over, but you didn't know that I had faked being sick and that I was upstairs in my room? I'll never forget the look of shock on your faces when I wandered out of my bedroom and caught you both in the living room playing rock band with your friends. Not the computer "Rock Band" that kids play now of course. I am a bit fuzzy on the details but I think one of you was sitting on top of the dining room table drumming on an upside down laundry basket. Boy, did you both catch shit that night when I filled in the parents. Sorry about that. Maybe I was just jealous at the time, since Baby Sister had recently come along and stole any thunder I might have thought I had as the favourite. Maybe it was just the beginning of my turning into an asshole.

We needn't go into a whole lot of detail, but I have in the past apologized for the havoc I wreaked on our family when I reached my teenage years. Really, enough said on that front. It's not like I was the first person in our family to become an addict, just maybe the first of our generation. As you know, for the past 20 plus years, I have been making amends for that "crazy" time in my life. If either of you still feel I owe you anything, let me know. But I think we are good on that front?

It's hard to believe that all four of us kids finally grew up to be productive and happy members of society. All four of us happily married (actually, a total of eight marriages). Twelve kids. Six grandkids. Three university degrees. Three big houses and one little one. A boat. A Harley. Combined, we have 188 years of memories. Many of them good, and warm, and happy. We come from good people. We are good people. We've been fortunate, when it comes to death and illness. We lost Mom, and what a blow that was, but our kids have all been and continue to be healthy. If we were the type of people who count our blessings (I think we are) then we should be counting for a long time.

A lot of families have their members strewn across the country, the continent, the world. We're so lucky to have Dad to keep us all updated and in touch with what is going on in everybody else's lives. He flies or drives from one of us to the other on practically a monthly basis, bringing news, photos, steak spice and other foodie items that we like to share. Dad  is our golden thread, and I know that we each love him and savour our quick turnaround times with him. (And we don't mind sharing him with our cuzzins, either).

I suspect that more than anything, Our Father would love to have a visit with all four of us together at the same time. I would like that too. He's not getting any younger. Neither are we.

Well. What more can I say. I know you don't read my blog and that's okay. I haven't ever explicitly told you about it or asked you to read it. I don't even think it would be your thing, and that's perfectly okay. But I do know that maybe a wife here, or a daughter or cousin there, does read this blog. And maybe I can plant a seed here, for one of them to carry to each of you. There's a family wedding in Montreal in October. I am going to be there. I am going to do everything I can to convince Baby Sister to be there. Dad will be there, god willing.

Maybe. Just maybe...I'll see you there?


  1. This is beautiful. Families are so complicated, aren't they? And when you realize the time that's gone by, all you want is your family back. I think they would be very touched by your sentiments - even if they never read your blog. Hopefully, as you say, the message will reach them.

  2. Lovely step 9... my family is also far away so can relate. Be good to yourself!

  3. Love that Dawn; we're "D's" as well in my family; my two sisters and I! I'm in MN and my parents and two sisters are in CO (where I used to live but was talked into returning to MN - long story) When my fourth child graduates high school, my husband and I hope to move to CO. Like your Father, I am the glue that binds our family. My parent's 50th wedding anniversay was this past January and they had their three daughters and six out of seven grandchildren in attendance; it was a lovely party. A hired photographer came in to capture the memories!!

    Guys are generally different about "staying in touch" especially if they have wives - seems they migrate to that side of the family - of course there are exceptions! My husband chats with my side of the family far more than his own and they live right here...........

    Our journeys are all worthy of a story! And I loved reading a section of yours!

  4. Thanks, everybody. It feels so good to write and release some of the things I have been carrying around for a long time. I love my family. Dawn - your reunion sounds so nice, I really hope we can manage something similiar next fall for our family.

  5. Sadly, the wedding in Montreal was cancelled. No reunion with brothers yet. But I did get two great visits with Baby Sister this year!