Jealousy

July 12, 2002

I must admit that I haven't posted this sooner because I am slightly embarrassed. Previously I stated here that I wasn't sure my brother would bother to call us when his second daughter was born. In fact he did. The phone call was brief and naturally centered on talk about the birth and everyone's health. (I later learned that my brother didn't have our phone number with him at the hospital. He had to ask my mother for it.)

Alyx Lee was born on June 23rd. She was just over 7 pounds and 21 inches long. She and her mother are fine.

He remarked that he understood my wife and I were recovering from a nasty cold and therefore he could understand our not coming to the hospital to see the newborn. In the next breath he speculated that we could come see them on Saturday. I thought not. There is still a gulf between us. My brother has no idea who I am or what I am, just as I struggle to understand who he is, and why he acts the way he does.

Obviously this situation isn't going away. As much as I'd like to shove it aside and ignore it, I know better. My wife and I talked at length about going to see the new addition to the clan and came to the understanding that it was something we needed to do for our own sense of integrity. However, we need to approach this visit in a way that takes care of us. Going at his beck and call won't make us feel comfortable at all. We need to plan a trip to his city and while there call and drop by for a short, spur of the moment visit. Yes, this is somewhat passive-aggressive, but trying to plan anything around their chaotic schedule is next to impossible and only leaves us feeling sullen and angry.

I understand the my own complex emotions about children is tied up in this issue with my brother as well. My wife and I decided before we married that we weren't going to have children. This was not an easy decision to reach, and it has required some revisiting. The birth of my brother's first daughter, and my parent's first grandchild, was much harder emotionally that I expected. It is one thing to say you don't want children and another altogether when family members start going nuts over a new child. I am human, and I have some very human feelings of jealousy about my brother's new position in the family as a result of producing a grandchild. Because he and I don't have any lines of communication we are unable to discuss this between us. I work on my emotions with myself and my wife. I am unable to work on them with my brother. This will continue to add friction to our situation.

I love my brother, his wife, and their family. He has taken on responsibilities I haven't. I cannot know what burdens and joys his chosen lifestyle brings him. Equally, he cannot understand the joys and sorrows my chosen lifestyle brings me.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.