Growing up can be tough.
Imagine every Tuesday and every Thursday driving to an agreed location to pick up two of your sons, take them home for dinner and then drive them back that night around 9pm. We also had them on the weekends as well.
My father did this for many years. If he could, I think he would still do it with all of us now. This story isn’t just about brothers, but about a father. Having brothers of his own, he knew the importance of keeping us in constant contact. For our sake and his.
When my parents divorced, myself and my brother number 2 decided to live at Dads. The other 2 were not old enough to decide for themselves. I mean I didn’t even want to have to decide, but things turned out that way. I remember being an asshole kid to my mum. I remember not liking her. Imagine not liking your own mum. Imaging not liking your own family. I was young and uninitiated in the world. What makes it a little worse was that I was the oldest of 4 boys. I am supposed to be some sort of leader in a sense, or maybe a practice run for the others that follow me.
I am sure we were a handful before and after the divorce. I am sure we are a handful now.
I could go into the constant memories that I vaguely have of those years, but I won’t. I went and saw a counsellor about my anxiety and see asked me about my childhood. what was it like she asked?
I simply don’t remember.
Was this because of the scarring on my brain from this tragedy, or an etching of green matter from my late high school days. I don’t know. But, I take relief in remembering some very important parts of my life. Such as my father doing everything thing he possibly could to provide for us, sacrificing himself, his essence, his mind for us to have a life. The moment I finally understood my mother was a human being, a women that had dreams of her own, ideas and plans that started to surface later in life. The moment I realised I was more like my mother later in life I was to learn more about myself than at any other time. These are the memories that I cherish.
These moments helped me understand. They helped me live on. They helped me understand where I myself have come from.
So,the situation is a little different, the current state of play was two of my brothers with mum and me and my other brother at Dad’s. I used to ask myself what I would have turned out like if we all lived together? I dismissed this as nonsense. I am who I am.
I will never forget the hardest but most rewarding moment I ever had with my brothers. It was a moment of pure sadness and pure joy.
We had been living apart, two of us at one high school, two at another. I wasn’t there to protect my two youngest brothers but to be honest my second oldest used to protect me. We lived across the road from my high school. I can’t even remember what age this happened, but I do remember the feelings.
See, while we were all going for a walk, we started to talk about more deep and meaningful things. Like that first time you get stoned and start thinking too deep about trees and how they grow and what the number 9 really is. The number 9? Wow..9.
We discovered that were all brothers but we didn’t actually know each other. We didn’t even know each others birthdays. That moment was when I felt like I only had one brother, and then after many years I discovered I had 2 secret brothers. I think for me, this was a moment of clarity. I had matured in this very walk and in my thought processes. I am sure this was truly a new discovery, a new connection to these siblings.
From that moment on I believe we had become the brothers we are today. Before that moment, we picked up my brothers on a Tuesday and Thursday evening for dinner then dropped them home. I went to my mums once a month to hang out with them as well, but after this walk and this realization that we all had that we knew absolutely nothing about each other….we finally became aware of each other as human beings, as people, as a person lost in this world like everyone else.
My two brothers continued to live at my mothers and my other brother and me stayed with Dad, but it felt different from this day onwards. The constant urge for my father to keep his family as strong and as connected as they can be had worked. Only now as I write this sentence do I understand the sacrifices he made and the passion he had to keep his family together. To make sure that we didn’t become strangers, that we would support and learn from each other as brothers do.
My father, had done the impossible. Taken four boys that although separated by high school, by home and by age and time itself…had eventually formed the very bond they would have if they all lived together.
This bond, exists in all families and although we may not have reached it the ordinary way, we did indeed reach it.
I constantly sit here and wonder, what am I doing with my life? Who do I want to be? But imagine if I had a child myself. Imagine if I had to sacrifice?
Where would I be?