Recently, a thought popped into my head that had never visited me before:

It would have been really, really cool to grow up with a big brother.

I’ll just say it, even though it’s harsh: My mom took that opportunity away from me. Not because she never had a son, although she didn’t. No, I’m speaking of how she literally stole me not only from my father, but also from my big brother. I didn’t meet him until I was 12. By then, as it was with my father and my grandparents and everyone else “on that side,” it was simply too late*. Too much damage had been done and too much of my life had been built on lies. A sad by-product of the entire ordeal was that I lost a big brother.

I found out after I met him that my big brother is really, really cool. We’ll call him Blake, because that’s what I’ve named him.

When the police found me and sent me off with my biological father on a crisp, December evening, I was terrified. Believing that the man driving me hours away to I really didn’t know where just might pull over at any moment and rape me, I fully realized for the first time that I didn’t have a friend in the world. No one really knew me, and no one could help me. (I went to bed unmolested — as I did every night thenceforth, since my fears had been planted and nurtured by my mother — but I was still friendless nonetheless.)

I woke up the next morning knowing that I couldn’t really just stay locked in what they were calling my room. I don’t remember anything about those first conversations, because I was pretty much shut down, but I do remember bonding with their dogs. I also remember Blake. The first meeting escapes my memory, but I do have two very cool early memories of him.

  1. He took me to see Lion King. He was 19 years old, and he took his scared, sudden little sister to a kid movie. I have no idea if anyone asked him to do it, but I doubt it. He’s not the sort to really do things other people tell him to. More likely, he saw a kid as screwed up by her parents as he was, and he was giving me a couple of hours away from them. I love that.
  2. We made a song. I still have it on tape somewhere; if I found it, I wouldn’t even be able to listen to it! Bummer. He had all kinds of recording gizmos because he’s a musician, so he got a few funky tracks going, strummed his bass here and there, and we laughed, talked, and made funny noises into the microphone. All of this went down in the wee hours of the morning — again, away from the parents. I love that.

I didn’t really let him in, but I can see now that he understood me more than anyone else in the world, and I have really cherished these and other memories that followed. Man, if we’d gotten to grow up together, we would be really, really close. I miss what could have been.




*As a side-note, sometimes it is too late. Well-meaning people sometimes like to say it’s never too late about things they don’t understand. It is. I like my brother more than any other blood relative, hands-down.  He is my very favorite.  However, I love my mother so much more, even though I can barely stand to be in her presence. It’s complex, but it’s done. I can move forward, but I cannot undo.

  1. macayla says:

    You’re absolutely right that you can’t make up a childhood with your brother that was stolen from you. It amazes me what people will say in an effort to fix others. What a load of crap.
    And I’m very sorry that you and your brother did not get to have what y’all should have had. Imagining having my big brother stolen from me breaks my heart. Not having those memories? Jesus, I can think of few things that would be more painful.

    You are going to be one awesome mom, friend, when that God-appointed day comes. You have so much wisdom.

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