The Bottom Falls Out

The bottom fell out from beneath my siblings and I, during our second stay at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, when I was in high school.  My Mom and Dad separated and Mom moved out of the house that we lived in on the Air Force Academy a couple of years after moving back.  It truly was a very difficult time for all of us.  But I do know that when a parent moves out of the house things are NOT the same for anybody in that family ever again.  We were no exception.  Talk about an adjustment.  It was not a good time.  But to tell you the truth, I knew it was coming and I think it had to happen.  I was at that age where I understood my parent’s relationship was not that great anymore and I knew for a while it was coming to an end.  The separation and ultimate divorce was tough.  Our life as a family was gone and none of us were the same.   It was heartbreaking at the time.

When my mother left, my twin sister Cathy decided to live with her, in downtown Colorado Springs.  Me, my older sister Bonnie and my younger brother Matthew stayed at the house with my Dad.  Bonnie had just graduated from High School and was going to soon move to go to college so it was just me, Matthew and my Dad living in the big white house near the south entrance of the Air Force Academy.

Matthew and I became very close and we pretty much became the cooks of the house, the cleaners of the house and did just about anything my Dad needed us to do.  He was always so busy working that Matthew and I also did what we wanted to do and cooked what we wanted to and watched the shows on TV that we wanted to.  (I remember that the Walton’s TV show was one of our favorites)!

FAST FORWARD about 11 or 12 years to the year 1985.  This was a MAJOR year in mine and Matthews’ life.  Matthew gets married early in the year and he becomes a father later in that year.  I become a mother at the end of the year.  Of course a lot had happened between 1975  and 1985.  I went to college in West Texas, moved to Austin after graduating and met my future husband and married a few years later.  Matthew obviously finished high school, went to college and met his future wife and married.

When I was a young mother my children and my husband at the time, made it up to Colorado about once a year, from our home base of Austin, Texas.  It helped that my husband’s family lived in Colorado too.  As a result, when my children were young and Matthews children were young (he had two girls), our families remained close.  My twin sister had 2 sons by then, so there were 6 cousins that had a blast with each other and they all got along pretty well too.

Yet, it was during this time and shortly after that it was becoming a bit obvious that Matthew and his families’ connection to us, his birth family, was slowly deteriorating.  I do think Matthew stayed pretty close with Dad though.  But the relationship with the women in the family was cracking.  Matthew was obviously not only a Dad now, but also a husband.  It was important to him that his family takes a firsthand seat.  And that was fine and totally understandable.

I can have my guesses as to why the relationship with my brother deteriorated.  I do not want to speculate on any other relationship Matthew has with others in our family.  I can only write what I know in this case and I can only write what I perceive and believe of our relationship.  It may be right, it may be wrong but it is what I perceive and know.

Bottom line, this day and many years now…my relationship with my brother is on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being great and 0 being horrible….I would say it is at a 1.  I mean, I don’t even know Matthew any more.  He doesn’t know me anymore.  We both have not put any effort into making our relationship better or good for that matter.  Call it “life”.  Call it “lazy”.  Call it “I’ll do it later”.  Call it “why”.  I know my next door neighbor better than I do my brother.  It’s shameful.

I used to listen to a great radio show in Austin for close to 18 years.  It was called the JB & Sandy Morning Show.  I became an avid listener to the point where I pretty much became friends with JB & Sandy even though I had only met them once at some fund-raiser.  It is really interesting listening to a radio show for that long because you get to know these guys like they are your best friend…or even your brother.  I mean I know so much about those guys JB & Sandy, that if you gave me a test about them and a test about my brother I would pass the test about JB & Sandy with flying colors.  The test about Matthew I would fail miserably.  And he would fail a test about me too.

It is such a great regret of mine.  The older I get the more regret I have.  From what I understand, Matthew is a great father.  But how would I really know for sure?  From what I understand, Matthew is great at his sales job.  But how would I really know for sure?  From what I understand, Matthew is a great soccer coach.  But how would I really know for sure?  From what I understand, Matthew is a very Christian man.  But how would I really know for sure?

I don’t know Matthews favorite TV show.  I don’t know Matthews favorite things to eat.  I don’t know the company that Matthew works at.  I don’t know if Matthew likes sports but if he does, what are his favorite teams?  Would he enjoy watching football with me?  I don’t know if Matthew is a good husband – I mean I’m sure he is – but how would I really know? I don’t know if Matthew enjoys life.  I don’t know if Matthew is a happy person.  I don’t know if Matthew has any health problems.  I just don’t know a thing about him.  And you know what, it’s my own damn fault that I don’t know these things.  Now, it’s been so long that it would seem like an almost strange thing to try to reboot the relationship.

Some would say “This happens all the time in families!”  Well yeah, so.  Is that supposed to make me feel better?  And truthfully I don’t know why I’m even writing this right now, as I don’t know where it is going.  I just know that if I have to write this – and if no one reads this blog, that’s fine.  I know my Mom and sisters read my blog and will read this, but Matthew probably won’t read it because I don’t think he knows I even like and enjoy writing, let alone have a blog.  Shall I go ahead?

If Matthew and I valued our relationship … we’d have a better relationship and even know what was going on in each other’s life.  I mean, the last time I saw Matthew was at his youngest daughter’s wedding in 2011.  And that had been the first time I had seen him in YEARS.  It was obvious that Matthew would do anything for his children.  And that was a great thing to see.  It was SO good to see Matthew.  I LOVE him so.

The last time Matthew contacted me was about a year 1/2 ago when he was very upset with me about me butting my nose into something I should not have butt my nose into, regarding his family.  I thought I was being thoughtful, but I was not, as Matthew let me know in an email.  At first I was shocked to get an email from him!  But, it was quickly obvious it was not to say hi.  It was to say: stay out of things.  He was protecting his family, I understand that.  I blew it.  If there was any chance of reconnecting with Matthew, I lost it that day that.

This writing isn’t coming together.  But then again, why should it?  My relationship with Matthew isn’t together and hasn’t been together for a long time.

 

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About Caroline

Daughter, Sister, Mom... I think the best thing I've done is to be a mom, to give my kids my love but not my thoughts and to listen, observe, offer advice when needed.
This entry was posted in Family Memories, Just Because and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Bottom Falls Out

  1. Nathan says:

    Interesting insight but then as you said…..much worse has happened in family relationships. there could be a total turnaround as a result of your being so open with your feelings…..if not…nothing lost…..would love to see you re connect……

    Like

  2. Becky Rogers says:

    I enjoyed your blog. It is sad about family sometimes that become so dysfunctional it just makes it easier to ignore the situation. You put a lot of the blame on yourself. I hope for your sake and your brother’s sake maybe this is a first step in finding out what went wrong and fix it. Or just simply put the past in the past and move forward one step at a time and maybe you and your brother can become closer. I hope and pray for you and your family this can be a fresh start. Family is everything. You are a wonderful blogger Caroline. You know if absolutely nothing happens you tried, You made the first step which most of the time is the hardest to make. I love you Caroline.

    Like

  3. Betty Powers says:

    Family dynamics are strange, Caroline. Hopefully this was a cathartic exercise for you and just might be a wake up call for Matthew … Perhaps this will encourage him to send that “Hi,” email to reconnect. Love you, betty

    Like

  4. Mike Powers says:

    After being away from much of my birth family for many years, I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with many of them, so can confirm that it can be done and can be rewarding. It takes effort and understanding on both sides.

    Like

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