4/20/15

My Brother In The Mirror

How in the world did we know anything before Facebook? I had no idea there was a National Drink Wine Day. Or a National Bird Day. Did you know April is National Pecan Month? I have a severe tree-nut allergy so I won't be celebrating that one.

A few weeks ago, I noticed everyone posting pictures of their siblings. Apparently, April 10th is National Siblings Day.

Who knew?

So I started thinking about my one and only sibling. I don't write about him very often, but that night I hunted down one of the few pictures I have of him and posted it on Facebook. Yes, I'd had a martini...hey, it was Friday. But I posted it, and I wrote a little bit about my brother. Quite a few of my friends liked it. I liked it. And I hope you like it too. With a teeny bit of editing, here is what I wrote on National Siblings Day:


Sibling Day.

This is my brother Jon getting his first American haircut. The local newspaper did a story on this, because back in the 70's adoption wasn't as common, or as accepted, as it is now.

This picture breaks my heart. Jon's birth mother made the incredibly difficult decision to send him to the U.S. because she loved him. And she desperately wanted him, her youngest of three children, to have a better life than the one she could have provided for him.

Almost exactly a year after Jon joined our family, my parents divorced. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't fun. My new brother and I turned inward, towards each other, to try and deal and cope. You've heard of survival mode? We were in it.

Jon lives in Las Vegas now. We don't talk very often. He called me about a month ago, and we had the best conversation we've ever had.

We cried, because that's what happens when you talk to me for more than five minutes. But...we also laughed. It was one of the best things ever, laughing on the phone with my brother on a Saturday as I emptied the dishwasher with tears streaming down my cheeks.

We were little again. My new Korean brother and I, huddled under a haphazard blanket fort in our tiny bedroom in our tiny apartment, listening to our mom and her boyfriend scream at each other. I missed our house and my bedroom with the blue rose wallpaper. Jon must have missed so much more. What did it sound like to him, to this little boy still struggling to understand and speak our language? These foul words and hateful phrases being slung through the air. I bet he missed his mom. I bet he missed his brother and sister. I bet he missed his house.

We held hands, and even though this kid with the shiny black hair and the almond-shaped eyes had totally rocked my Only Child world, I loved him. And I wanted to protect him.

I wish more than anything that I could go back in time and give that little boy in the mirror the kind of life he deserved. I wish, for both of us, that things had been better. Easier. Less dark and less painful.

I wish we were the kind of siblings who talked more frequently. Who spent more time together. Who had good memories together.

We aren't those kind of siblings. But- we are siblings. When we do talk, it's good. It's "laugh and cry" good. That works for us.

Jon isn't on Facebook, so he probably won't see what I wrote. But I wanted to put it out into the universe...that I love my little brother. And I just might give him a call tomorrow, while I empty the dishwasher.


13 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. You can always make me smile (or LOL) and cry, often in the same post. You have a true gift for writing. Please never stop. I hope you and your little brother have more of those phone calls in the future. :)

    Jo

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    1. Oh, thank you, Jo! What a nice thing to hear. I need to call him again. Soon :)

      Thanks so much for reading.

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  2. This post is so great! Does John follow your blog? If I knew where he was I'd send it to him. I hope he's having a good Americanized life these days.

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    2. "Americanized" sounded a little racist, although I'm sure that wasn't your intent... especially to a fellow asian immigrant who moved here as a child in the seventies... It would be great to hear your perspective

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    3. Thank you Gail! You know, he probably doesn't even know I have a blog, ha! I will send this to him via email, though. Thank you so much for reading.

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    4. Cleveland, I understand why you'd take offense to the term Americanized. But...I've known grenee since junior high and I can assure you there was no intentional malice or ignorance in her comment. She's one of the kindest, most open-minded people I know, in fact. And such an interesting life she's had. I wish she'd write about it!

      I think the word "Americanized" is offensive to a lot of people, but...there are a lot of people who don't understand why it's offensive. It's a term I think we would be smart to do away with.

      That said, thank you for reading Cleveland! Your input is always so good to hear. I had no idea you were a 70's kid as well :) I'd love to hear more.

      Jenny

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  3. Your brother is so svery lucky to have you in his life!

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    1. Aww thanks Lisa! I don't know how lucky he is, but I feel fortunate to have him in mine :)

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  4. Even though you are living different lives and apart, you can still be close! The phone calls are great - what about a "meet-up" sometime? Do you ever share a holiday? Could you invite him to share one with you & the kids?

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    1. I'd love to have him over for Christmas! And now that my kids are older, a trip to Vegas doesn't sound so insane.

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