Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

August 03, 2006

Yeah! I Got an Open Line

Never thought my half brother would ever phone me again. We talk about, oh, twice a year on the phone. When he's not too busy with his family, restaurant, traveling, and whatnot. I had pretty much accepted the fact that like the other members of what's left of my natural family, he too had politely rejected me. So, when the phone rang a few nights ago and the caller identified himself to me as my brother, my gasp was involuntary. I felt both detached and reserved. Protected. My armor firmly in place.

The You-Can't-Get-To-Me-With-Any-More-Rejection defense.

It was unprecedented, that phone call. We talked for about forty five minutes. I suspect it's because he heard that I'm moving further away and there's less of a chance we'll see each other very often, or at all any more. He told me how lucky I was to be making a new start by moving out of state. He scolded me for being shy around him. I began to open up a little more, just taking a chance, that sort of thing when he reiterated about how tough it was being a kid while our mom raised him and my half sister. That our mom did the best she could with what she had. That she would visit people's homes around dinner time just so he and our sister could get a meal. That she was in an abusive relationship with their dad. But when our aunt adopted the two of them, their lives turned around and they grew up in a "normal" home, especially after our mom died of cancer in her early forties.

My response was, At least you got to see her, know her, touch her, hear her voice, no matter how tough it was to live in her life. He told me that when he first saw me he couldn't believe how closely I resembled her. Than none of the other three siblings looked as much like her. On the phone my other half sister, five years older than I, the one I've never seen in person because she lives too far away, told me that one of our mom's trademarks was a streak of grey hair just above her forehead that she had even when she was young. Now I know who my mom was. I have that same streak, but my siblings don't. Sometimes I feel close to her even though she gave me up. Sounds kind of out there, but it's true. At any rate, my sisters don't really show much interest in having a relationship with me...or with my brother, for that matter. But the fact that he wants me to keep in touch with him is the best news I've had from him since I first found him in 2004. How sad that while we lived only two hours away from each other we talked maybe twice a year by phone. And now that we'll be living nearly twenty hours away he says to email him regularly. It's true I never phoned him, though, because I thought he wasn't interested in us getting to know each other. Guess I was wrong. Sure, we don't share the same political or religious views, but we manage to talk around all of that, just knowing that we have each other is enough. And that's enough for me for now. I have a brother, even if he's over a thousand miles away.

In ten days we'll be on the road again. This time with what's left of our posessions packed in the back of an F-150 GMC and a six-by-twelve U-Haul trailer. I've been cleaning out cupboards, closets, drawers, and those spaces that I see so often that I don't see them any more in the house. It's so amazing what you manage to stockpile over the years and never even use. It all just sits there taking up space. Getting rid of things is the biggest challenge of selling your house. All the documents and signatures, all the formidable steps you must take with lenders pale in comparison. Even so, sellers and buyers eat it in the end. Comissions and fees and services and hidden costs that add up to eat away half of the profits of the sale. Yes, you read that right: half of the profits, so that tidy little chunk that's listed on the sale fliers that looks so great? It actually represents twice what they finally put into your bank after all is said and done...everyone involved outside the buyer and seller takes a huge chunk of the pie. Almost seems better to sell your house yourself except unless you're a real estate attorney or a Realtor, you don't know a damn thing about negociations, necessary paperwork and all the legal implications. It's one of those Gotcha! things.

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10 Comments:

Blogger elizabeth said...

Marie that it sounds like you had a wonderful conversation with your brother, I am happy for you!

I also have a brother, and we are very close even though we have almost nothing in common.

It wasn't always that way, however. I used to be bitter because he was the kept one. It took the better part of a decade for me to finally put the blame where it belonged. He wasn't responsible for my abandonment, of course, and almost overnight our relationship changed. He adores me now :)

That is a long-winded way of saying a close sibling relationship can take time. I really hope that happens for you.

3.8.06  
Blogger Kippa Herring said...

I'm glad you talked - and that he took the initiative to call you. Even though you're moving away, etc. He must have felt a sense of urgency.
And maybe the fact that you were leaving made it more possible for him to open up. Who knows?
At any rate, I'm really pleased for you (also sad - but mainly pleased)

3.8.06  
Blogger Joy said...

So cool Marie

3.8.06  
Blogger Umbilicly Challenged said...

I am so glad your brother called, Marie. Sometimes it takes something like a move to realise what you will lose....for the 2nd time.

6.8.06  
Blogger Mia said...

Yea, distance put my bfamily at ease too. I think my bmom did a happy dance when I moved away. Still though the conversation with your brother sounded positive. I am very happy for you!

Moving sucks but the end result is a fresh start and that is usually a very good thing. I wish you well on your move!!!

Oh, and I make soap too! Do you sell yours?

8.8.06  
Blogger Mia said...

PS When we moved my husband was SOOOOO pissed that he had to move so many boxes of books. Especially because I packed them all up in several LARGE boxes so they weighed a TON! lol Gotta love it. I had more boxes of books than I did anything else.

8.8.06  
Blogger kim.kim said...

Glad your brother called. I hope you will continue to connect. I want to see photos when you are all moved in to your new house.

8.8.06  
Blogger Marie Jarrell said...

Elizabeth-I'm glad you and your brother are close now. I think you're right that a sibling relationship can take time. Especially when so many miles separate the siblings live so far apart and so many years of not knowing each other existed...it will take time, patience, and determination.

Kippa-Yes, better late than never as they say. The fact that he wants to keep in touch means everything to me.

Joy-Thanks!

Umbilicly Challenged-You know, I think you're right. In a way it's good, in a way it's sad.

mia-I'm so sorry your natural family is so unaccepting. That must be the most painful experience yet for you to grapple with. I send a hug. I make soap, but it's not nice enough to sell. I just use it myself and give it to friends and family. Do you sell yours? Yessssssss! Me too. But space limitations in the trailer has forced me to hone down my book collection (part of my life) from twelve boxes to seven boxes! lol.

kim Kim-I'm so glad you visited me again! Thanks for the good wishes. Yes of course I'll upload pix of our new digs.

10.8.06  
Blogger Mia said...

Yes I do sell my soaps. I am completely out though and really need to make some as I promised to send some to Kim. Plus my relatives are screaming for it. Hmmmm maybe I should make some soap today.

You should email me and tell me what kinds you make. I love to try new types. If I ever get down to making some we should trade!

15.8.06  
Blogger Marie Jarrell said...

mia-awesome! i'd love to trade soaps. i'm currently homeless after the move, but as soon as i get back to making soap, i'll post it on my site and then you'll know and we can make arrangements. my problem is a lack of confidence in my product--probably the adoption thing coming through?

16.8.06  

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